When the United States appeared before the U.N. to defend its human rights record, State Department legal advisor Harold Koh assured the world that the U.S. had “thoroughly investigated” alleged abuses of detainees in U.S. custody, and that “appropriate corrective action has been taken.” Koh also asserted that the Justice Department’s initial investigation into torture was actively looking into allegations of abuse by the CIA and other civilian agencies.
Drawing largely from material that has been covered in thetorturereport.com, we have come up with 10 follow-up questions for the U.S. about its compliance with domestic and international prohibitions against torture.
As we will see in the next installment of Chapter 5—which we'll post next week— military interrogators in Guantánamo followed the brutal interrogation of Mohammed Al Qahtani with a similar “special interrogation” of another detainee, Mohamedou Ould Slahi, this one involving threats of torture against his family, a mock rendition, and threatened execution.
In Slahi's case, Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Couch, the navy prosecutor assigned to prepare his case for the military commissions, discovered that Slahi had been tortured and refused to prosecute his case. Earlier this year, a federal judge hearing Slahi's habeas corpus petition similarly concluded that many of his statements were extracted through torture, and ultimately found that the government had failed to prove its case against Slahi, ordering him released. The government attempted to reverse that decision on appeal, but the appellate court agreed only to send the case back to the trial court for additional proceedings.
As with Qahtani, can you list the names and ranks of all military personnel who have been investigated for ordering and carrying out Mohamedou Ould Slahi's interrogation, and the status and results of any court-martial or other disciplinary proceedings that resulted from those investigations?