BBC, January 14, 2009
US agents at Guantanamo Bay tortured a Saudi man suspected of involvement in the 11 September attacks, the official overseeing trials at the camp has said.
Susan Crawford told the Washington Post newspaper that Mohammad al-Qahtani had been left in a "life-threatening condition" after being interrogated.
The Pentagon said their methods were legal in 2002, when the interviews took place - though some were now banned.
Mr Qahtani remains at Guantanamo, but all charges against him were dropped...
"His treatment met the legal definition of torture. And that's why I did not refer the case," she said.
Ms Crawford, who was appointed convening authority for military commissions in February 2007, said Mr Qahtani had been interrogated for 18 to 20 hours a day almost continuously for eight weeks...
In her newspaper interview, Ms Crawford said she was shocked, upset and embarrassed by the treatment of the detainee.
She said: "If we tolerate this and allow it, then how can we object when our servicemen and women, or others in foreign service, are captured and subjected to the same techniques?
"How can we complain? Where is our moral authority to complain? Well, we may have lost it."
According to a report by Amnesty International, Mr Qahtani was at various times forced to wear women's clothes and was tied by a lead and forced to perform animal tricks.
And the document, published last May, also contained allegations that dogs had been used on two occasions to "terrorise" the detainee...
Despite her decision to drop the prosecution, Ms Crawford said Mr Qahtani remained a "very dangerous man".
"There's no doubt in my mind he would have been on one of those planes had he gained access to the country in August 2001," she said.
Earlier this week, advisers to president-elect Barack Obama confirmed he would issue an order for the closure of Guantanamo Bay within days of taking office.
But no decision has yet been announced on the future of Mr Qahtani and other inmates who are deemed too dangerous to release, but may be impossible to prosecute.
- Hussam Ayloush
- Hussam has been a lifelong human rights activist who is passionate about promoting democratic societies, in the US and worldwide, in which all people, including immigrants, workers, minorities, and the poor enjoy freedom, justice, economic justice, respect, and equality. Mr. Ayloush frequently lectures on Islam, media relations, civil rights, hate crimes and international affairs. He has consistently appeared in local, national, and international media. Full biography at: http://hussamayloush.blogspot.com/2006/08/biography-of-hussam-ayloush.html