A terror war prisoner, once considered of such high value by the Bush administration that former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld ordered he be tortured, has taken his first step toward freedom thanks to a federal district court judge, who ordered the government to free him after nearly 10 years of imprisonment at Guantanamo Bay.
Though 39-year-old Mohamedou Slahi, an alleged 9/11 conspirator, won his habeas corpus appeal before U.S. District Judge James Robertson on Monday, he likely does not know it yet. That's because the judge's decision was classified, according to published reports.
After being captured and imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay, he was repeatedly subjected to torture by his American captors, with Rumsfeld himself ordering "special" interrogation tactics be set aside for Slahi.
The memoranda indicate that, on several occasions from July 8 through July 17, Slahi was interrogated by a masked interrogator called “Mr. X.” On July 8, 2003 Slahi was interrogated by Mr. X and was “exposed to various lighting patterns and rock music, to the tune of Drowning Pool’s ‘Let The Bodies Hit [the] Floor.’” On July 10, 2003 Slahi was placed in an interrogation room handcuffed and standing while the air conditioning was turned off until the room became “quite warm.” The next day, Slahi was brought into the interrogation booth and again remained standing and handcuffed while the air conditioning was again turned off. After allowing Slahi to sit, the interrogator later “took [Slahi's] chair and left him standing for several hours.” According to the memo, Slahi was “visibly uncomfortable and showed signs of fatigue. This was 4th day of long duration interrogations.”
On August 2, 2003 an interrogator told Slahi
On July 17, 2003, the masked interrogator told Slahi about a dream he had where he saw
However, the government will not be freeing Slahi any time soon. First, government attorneys must decide whether they will appeal Judge Robertson's secret decision.
Slahi's case is made more notable by the involvement of a key Bush administration whistleblower, Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Couch, a government prosecutor who refused to bring charges against Slahi after learning of his torture.
"I felt like what had been done to Slahi just reprehensible," Couch said during a Sept. 2009 interview with PBS. " For that reason alone, I refused to have any further participation in this case."
"Slahi faces no criminal charges," McClatchy Newspapers reported. "He arrived at Guantanamo in August 2002, nearly a year after he turned himself in for questioning in his native Mauritania in late September 2001 and found himself handed over first to Jordan for interrogation and then to U.S. forces in Afghanistan.