Appeals Court Blocks Release of Guantanamo Detainee Who Claimed Torture

A federal appeals court has blocked the release of a Guantanamo detainee whose lawyers claim he was tortured by interrogators.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said the lower court should reconsider its decision to free Mohamedou Ould Salahi, the Associated Press reports.

The lower court had found that Salahi was an al-Qaida sympathizer, but the government had failed to show he was “part of” al-Qaida at the time of his capture. Three more recent D.C. Circuit opinions have cast doubt on the district court’s approach, requiring a reassessment, the appeals court said in its opinion (PDF).

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, Salahi was held in a freezing cold cell, forced to drink salt water, subjected to strobe lights and heavy metal music, and moved from cell to cell every few hours as part of a “frequent flyer” program that deprived detainees of sleep. A Senate report confirmed Salahi was abused.

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