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Document a Day: A Repentant Prosecutor

Larry Siems,
The Torture Report
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June 16, 2010

Another ringing denunciation from the inside — this one a declaration by a Guantánamo military prosecutor recounting his dawning awareness of the physical and due process abuses those he was assigned to prosecute had endured.

Learning that one of those whose cases he was to try, an Afghan youth named Mohammad Jawad, had attempted to kill himself “by banging his head repeatedly against one of his cell walls,” Lt. Col. Darrel Vandeveld discovered records that showed Jawad had been moved from cell to cell 112 times in two weeks as part of a “sleep deprivation program popularly referred to as the ‘frequent flyer’ program.” “I lack the words to express the heartsickness I experienced when I came to understand the pointless, purely gratuitous mistreatment of Mr. Jawad by my fellow soldiers,” Vandeveld states.

Deciding that he “could no longer ethically prosecute Mr. Jawad, or, in good conscience, serve as a prosecutor” for the Office of Military Commissions, Vandeveld — referring to himself as Jawad’s “former prosecutor and now-repentant persecutor”— resigned and submitted this devastating affidavit in support of Jawad’s habeas corpus petition.


To read more about and see documentary evidence of the Bush administration’s torture program, go to