Defense

Military jury condemns US treatment of terrorist, urges clemency

Associated Press - Alex Brandon

Seven members of a military jury condemned the United States’s treatment of a terrorist and urged that he be granted clemency in a letter addressed to the officer who will review the case, The New York Times reported.

Seven of the military jury’s eight members, who signed with their juror numbers, called the treatment of 41-year-old Majid Khan “a stain on the moral fiber of America” and a “shame for the U.S. government,” reported the Times, which obtained a copy of the letter.

“Mr. Khan was subjected to physical and psychological abuse well beyond approved enhanced interrogation techniques, instead being closer to torture performed by the most abusive regimes in modern history,” the jury members wrote in a letter addressed to the Arkansas National Guard’s Col. Jeffrey D. Wood, the convening authority of the military commission.

“This abuse was of no practical value in terms of intelligence, or any other tangible benefit to U.S. interests. Instead, it is a stain on the moral fiber of America; the treatment of Mr. Khan in the hands of U.S. personnel should be a source of shame for the U.S. government,” they added, according to the Times.

Lt. Col. Ken Hoffman, a spokesperson for the Department of Defense, confirmed to The Hill that the jury members had submitted a clemency letter to the military commission last Friday. Hoffman said that officials could not publicly comment on the letter or its contents because the case was in litigation.

“The Department’s primary focus is always on the safe, humane and legal detention of detainees and prisoners,” Hoffman said in a statement.

The harsh rebuke comes after the Guantánamo Bay detainee testified last Thursday on abuse he suffered while in the CIA’s overseas prison network between 2003 and 2006. He said he had been subjected to waterboarding, forced enemas and feedings, as well as other forms of sexual and physical abuse.

Khan said that even while he cooperated with officials, he continued to endure more abuse. “Instead, the more I cooperated, the more I was tortured,” he said.

The seven jury members wrote that Khan, a Baltimore high school graduate who became an al Qaeda courier, had been a “vulnerable target for extremist recruiting” because he had been reeling from the death of his mother at the time. They argued that he was no longer an extremism threat and was remorseful of his past actions.

The jury sentenced Khan to 26 years, the lowest allowed under the court’s instructions. 

“It is the view of the panel members below that clemency be granted based on the points above, as well as Mr. Khan’s continued cooperation with U.S. efforts in other, more critical prosecutions,” the jury members wrote, according to the newspaper. 

–Updated on Nov. 1 at 2:57 p.m.

Tags Guantánamo Bay Majid Khan

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