The UN group condemns the torture of Guantánamo prisoner Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri

The UN group condemns the torture of Guantanamo prisoner Abd | ltc-a

A UN human rights panel has released a damning report blaming the United States and seven other nations for the « torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment » of a Saudi prisoner who now awaits a death penalty trial in Guantanamo Bay.

THE United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention also held responsible were the United Arab Emirates, where prisoner Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri was captured in 2002, and Afghanistan, Lithuania, Morocco, Poland, Romania and Thailand, where he was held in part of a surrender and interrogation program run by the George W. Bush administration.

The working group, which has no executive authority, adopted the 18 page report on November 15th but didn’t release it until this weekend.

The group has demanded the immediate release and compensation of Mr Nashiri, accused of orchestrating the shelling of the US Navy destroyer Cole off Yemen nearly 23 years ago. He said the Guantánamo War Crimes Tribunal, which was designed to prosecute only non-US citizens, deprives Mr. Nashiri of « fair trial guarantees that would normally apply within the United States judicial system. »

The finding is the latest in a series of United Nations investigations condemning the previous and current treatment of detainees held at Guantánamo Bay at a time when lawyers and the International Committee of the Red Cross have protested inadequate healthcare for the last inmates there.

United Nations bodies are also returning attention to the Pentagon prison, which holds 30 prisoners in the war on terrorism, including 17 men for whom the Biden administration is seeking countries to offer them resettlement.

The report could be presented to a sentencing jury of US military officers in the case of Mr. Nashiri. In October 2021, a military jury in the case of another Guantánamo prisoner tortured by the CIA requested leniency and called that prisoner’s abuse « a stain on America’s moral fiber. »

US investigations and testimony in Mr. Nashiri’s case show that he was waterboarded by psychologists working as contractors for the CIA, confined naked in a claustrophobic wooden box, and subjected to threats and violence, including rectal abuse, by part of agency staff members.

Her military commissions case has been in pretrial proceedings since 2011. Seventeen U.S. sailors were killed in Cole’s Aden Harbor suicide bombing, and prosecutors say the case may go to trial in the court that was created in response to the ‘September 11, 2001, attacks.

Mr. Nashiri’s lawyers describe him as a torture survivor suffering from PTSD, depression and other conditions attributed to untreated physical, psychological and sexual abuse.

A courtroom representation of Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri during his trial against military commissions at Guantánamo Bay in 2011.Credit…Janet Hamlin via Associated Press

Mr. Nashiri has more hearings this month focusing on what evidence can be used in his eventual capital trial. The judge in the case is retiring and a new one is expected to take over this summer.

One of the lawyers of Mr. Nashiri, Katie Carmon, said on Sunday that if Mr. Nashiri were convicted, the latest UN report could be a basis for a legal filing seeking conviction credit because he was subjected to « preventive punishment » as a prisoner of the United States.

The UN panel asked countries to report on any human rights reforms they had enacted and whether they had followed any of its recommendations.