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Entries in Detainees (5)

Thursday
Aug302012

DOJ: No Charges in CIA Detainee Death Investigations

Wathiq Khuzaie/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. government said Thursday that it had closed its investigation into the alleged torture of more than 100 detainees held by the CIA in overseas prisons, and the deaths of two men who died while in CIA custody, without prosecuting anyone.

The Justice Department's announcement Thursday that it would not bring charges in the deaths of terror suspects Gul Rahman and Manadel al-Jamadi formally ended a multi-year probe by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Durham into the CIA's controversial "enhanced interrogation" program.

"Based on the fully developed factual record concerning the two deaths, the Department has declined prosecution because the admissible evidence would not be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement released Thursday afternoon.

Rahman, a suspected Afghan militant, died in 2002 in a CIA prison known as the Salt Pit when he was left shackled to a cement floor in a near-freezing room. Iraqi prisoner Manadel al-Jamadi died in the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq in 2003 only hours after he was captured by the military.

In a statement, ACLU deputy legal director Jameel Jaffer called the Justice Department's decision "nothing short of a scandal."

"The Justice Department has declined to bring charges against the officials who authorized torture, the lawyers who sought to legitimate it, and the interrogators who used it," said Jaffer. "It has successfully shut down every legal suit meant to hold officials civilly liable....Today's decision not to file charges against individuals who tortured prisoners to death is yet another entry in what is already a shameful record."

Former CIA director Michael Hayden applauded the decision to close the inquiry. "I am heartened that this is closed," said Hayden. "I am heartened by the outcome. I had confidence in Mr. Durham's fairness. I am sorry that CIA officers had to go through yet another review of their activities."

In the wake of the 9/11 attacks Justice Department lawyers John Yoo and Jay Bybee authorized harsh tactics to interrogate captured al Qaeda members in a 2002 legal memo. A December 2004 memo rescinded that guidance.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Durham was initially appointed by Attorney General Michael Mukasey in January 2008 to investigate the destruction of waterboarding videotapes by CIA official Jose Rodriguez. The tapes purportedly showed CIA agents using harsh interrogation techniques on terror suspects. No charges were filed at the conclusion of that investigation.

Attorney General Eric Holder expanded Durham's investigation in August 2009 to review harsh interrogation tactics and potential cases where CIA interrogators used tactics that had not been approved by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel. Former CIA directors and former Vice President Dick Cheney criticized Holder for expanding the inquiry.

Last year Durham informed Holder he was closing many aspects of the investigation but recommended convening a federal grand jury to investigate the deaths of Rahman and Al-Jamadi.

Jose Rodriguez said Thursday that he was "gratified to learn of today's turn of events."

"The decision announced today is consistent with similar decisions made during the previous administration," said Rodriguez. "The deaths of these two individuals many years ago were indeed unfortunate. It should be noted, however, that neither individual was involved in the controversial -- but in my view necessary and productive -- enhanced interrogation program."

In a message to CIA employees, current CIA director David Petraeus thanked them for their cooperation with the investigation.

Attorney General Holder said that he had asked Durham to undertake the expanded investigation because of the need for a "thorough examination of the detainee treatment issue," and that Durham had "satisfied that need." However, he also said that inquiry was limited to "whether prosecutable offenses were committed and was not intended to, and does not resolve, broader questions regarding the propriety of the examined conduct."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
May092011

Over a Dozen Killed After Iraqi Prisoners Attempt Jailbreak

Darrin Klimek/Thinkstock(BAGHDAD) -- Inmates at an Iraqi jail in Baghdad who tried testing the security system in a daring bid to escape the facility Sunday were ultimately no match for guards who foiled their efforts.

However, the bold impromptu plan left at least 17 people dead, including both detainees and police.

According to police sources, a prisoner in the process of being transferred was able to grab one of the guards' revolvers and began firing wildly, killing several police officers as other inmates joined in the scheme to bolt from the Interior Ministry compound.

The escape plan ended violently as the inmates in the group, including the detainee who started it, were slain when security reinforcements arrived at the scene to quell the uprising.

Later, Iraqi officials said that some of the dead prisoners were part of a terrorist plot that resulted in the deaths of 68 people at a Christian church in Baghdad last October.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Mar072011

POTUS Announces New Actions for Guantanamo Detainees

John Moore/ Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama remains committed, his advisors say, to closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay, just as he pledged as a candidate and found impossible to accomplish in his first two years in office. In the earliest weeks of his presidency, Mr. Obama made his case.

"Rather than keeping us safer, the prison at Guantanamo has weakened American national security.  It is a rallying cry for our enemies," the president once said.

The President announced Monday that new steps would be taken to "broaden our ability to bring terrorists to justice, provide oversight for our actions, and ensure the humane treatment of detainees."

Some at Guantanamo were headed for military tribunals but President Obama suspended those and he has now put out new rules for military trials. That includes no evidence obtained during torture.

President Obama has said the most difficult cases are detainees impossible to put on trial but too dangerous to release. Now there will be mandatory, periodic reviews allowing each suspect full legal representation before a legal panel every three years.

The president said that he will not authorize the release of "individuals who endanger the American people."

President Obama says the U.S. is still at war with al Qaeda and its affiliates. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan212011

White House Set to Resume Trials at Guantanamo Bay

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba) -- President Obama is set to allow trials at the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to resume, according to administration officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

The move would be a tacit acknowledgment that any further attempts to try suspects in U.S. civilian courts are futile, given the amount of opposition that still exists to the idea.

In one of his first acts after taking office in 2009, Obama announced he was ordering the closure of the detention center at, which holds terrorist suspects arrested overseas.  The president argued that it had become a lightning rod for criticism from foreign governments and human rights groups.  His goal was to have the facility shut down by January 2010.  The president also suspended any military tribunals from taking place there.

Two years later, the prison still holds 173 detainees, while the White House has been frustrated by a lack of cooperation from Capitol Hill lawmakers who don't want trials held in the U.S. or to have any of the suspects moved to American jails.

It's estimated that more than 30 detainees will go up before the military commissions while the White House considers what should be done with the rest of the detainees at the Gitmo facility.  One of the ideas being considered is a parole-type system.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Dec212010

Executive Order Being Drafted for Indefinite Detention

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A White House official confirms that officials are writing a draft executive order dealing with those Guantanamo detainees to be held in indefinite detention, setting up a periodic review of the detention status "of those detainees who cannot be tried in Article III or military commissions" and are too dangerous, in the government's judgment, to release.

In a speech at the National Archives in May 2009, President Obama acknowledged that his way forward in dealing with the terrorist threat would include indefinite detention.

"There remains the question of detainees at Guantanamo who cannot be prosecuted yet who pose a clear danger to the American people," he said in that speech. "And I have to be honest here -- this is the toughest single issue that we will face.  We're going to exhaust every avenue that we have to prosecute those at Guantanamo who pose a danger to our country. But even when this process is complete, there may be a number of people who cannot be prosecuted for past crimes, in some cases because evidence may be tainted, but who nonetheless pose a threat to the security of the United States. Examples of that threat include people who've received extensive explosives training at al Qaeda training camps, or commanded Taliban troops in battle, or expressed their allegiance to Osama bin Laden, or otherwise made it clear that they want to kill Americans.  These are people who, in effect, remain at war with the United States."

The official noted that the draft order has not yet reached President Obama's desk.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







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