Monday, October 31, 2011

Department of Justice Balks at Turning Over Guantanamo Detainee's "Power-of-Attorney" Document to His Lawyers | Truthout

Department of Justice Balks at Turning Over Guantanamo Detainee's "Power-of-Attorney" Document to His Lawyers | Truthout:

Zubaydah's legal team filed a lawsuit against Lithuania with the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), the leading human rights tribunal in the world, over the country's failure to reopen an investigation into its role in Zubaydah's rendition to a CIA black site prison in Lithuania and the torture he was subjected to there in 2005.

But the DOJ on Wednesday told Zubaydah's lawyers they would not declassify and turn over to them a power-of-attorney form Zubaydah signed earlier this year authorizing his legal team to file the lawsuit against Lithuania on his behalf.

Interights said, "due to a communication ban imposed by the CIA, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of Defense that prevents him from publicizing the facts in his case," Zubaydah cannot "defend himself publicly."

Zubaydah was captured, along with 51 other alleged terrorists, during an early morning raid of a safehouse in Pakistan on March 28, 2002, in an operation conducted jointly by the CIA, FBI and Pakistani intelligence. The Bush administration said publicly after Zubaydah was apprehended that he was the No. 2 person in al-Qaeda, was involved in every major terrorist operation planned by al-Qaeda and was one of the planners of the 9/11 attacks.

A legal memo prepared by Justice Department attorneys Jay Bybee and John Yoo in August 2002, which authorized the CIA to use brutal torture techniques on Zubaydah, said because the Palestinian was "one of the highest ranking members of the al-Qaeda terrorist organization," torturing him was necessary to thwart pending attacks against US interests, which the CIA claimed Zubaydah knew about.

But in a stunning admission last year first reported by Truthout, the DOJ backed away from nearly every major claim the Bush administration made about Zubaydah, including his membership in al-Qaeda and his role in 9/11 and other terrorist attacks, stating in a court filing in response to a discovery motion filed by Zubaydah's attorneys in his habeas case that their "understanding of [Zubaydah's] role in terrorist activities has ... evolved with further investigation."

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