Constitutional Law

Lawyer: CIA Has Photos of Outsourced Torture of Gitmo Suspect

A lawyer for a Guantanamo Bay terrorism suspect allegedly tortured in Morocco when his interrogation was outsourced by the U.S. says the CIA was present and has photographs of the physical abuse of his client.

Binyam Mohamed, a 27-year-old Ethiopian was sliced in the chest and penis by interrogators during the 18 months he was held in Morocco in 2002 and 2003, according to his lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith of Reprieve, a British human rights group. He says U.S. forces handed him over to Morocco before he was taken to the Guantanamo Bay military prison in 2004, reports the Miami Herald.

“‘We can prove that a photographic record was made of this by the CIA,” says Smith, in a letter to British Foreign Secretary David Milliband seeking his intervention to help persuade the U.S. to preserve this claimed evidence. “Through diligent investigation we know when the CIA took pictures of Mr. Mohamed’s brutalized genitalia, we know the identity of the CIA agents who were present, including the person who took the pictures (we know both their false identities and their true names), and we know what those pictures show.”

Smith’s letter seeking help from Milliband is also copied to U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

“The CIA did not directly address whether the photos do or do not exist,” and said the agency neither tortures prisoners nor transports them elsewhere to be tortured, the Herald reports. “But it defended the practice of outsourcing interrogations to third countries—known as rendition—as ‘a key, lawful tool in the fight against terror.’ ”

As discussed in earlier posts, the CIA is currently under fire for having destroyed at least two videotapes of harsh interrogations of al-Qaida terrorism suspects, and lawyers for 11 detainees from Yemen have asked a federal judge to determine whether the destruction of the tapes violated an evidence preservation order in their cases.

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