FORT MEADE, Md. — A military judge ordered prosecutors on Tuesday to turn over never-revealed details about the time a Guantánamo Bay detainee spent in secret C.I.A. prisons after his arrest in connection with the deadly attack on the destroyer Cole in Yemen.
The order was a victory for defense lawyers representing the detainee, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who is accused of orchestrating the Oct. 12, 2000, bombing of the Cole in Aden, Yemen. The attack killed 17 American sailors, wounded 42 others and tore a huge hole into the side of the ship.
Mr. Nashiri, who was born in Saudi Arabia, has been held at the United States military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, since 2006, after spending time at a series of secret C.I.A. prisons.
A C.I.A. inspector general’s report said Mr. Nashiri, considered to have once been one of the most senior leaders in Al Qaeda, was waterboarded and threatened with a gun and a power drill because interrogators believed he was withholding information about possible attacks against the United States. Such practices were allowed under rules approved by the George W. Bush administration, but many have since been repudiated.
Prosecutors, who can appeal Tuesday’s ruling, had argued that information about Mr. Nashiri’s time spent in C.I.A. custody was irrelevant. The defense says the case was tainted by C.I.A. actions in the secret prisons and could be used to spare him from the death penalty.
The government has confirmed little about what happened in the C.I.A. prisons. Tuesday’s order, by Col. James L. Pohl, a judge with the United States Army, did not make any details available to the public. His order explicitly noted that all parties in the case are required to follow a protective order barring release of classified information.
The judge said the government must provide details about Mr. Nashiri’s capture, detention, rendition and interrogation. The information the judge ordered the government to reveal included a chronology of how Mr. Nashiri was shuttled among the secret prisons, and how he was transported, clothed and restrained. The government must also provide reports, summaries of interrogations and any photos or videos documenting his confinement conditions.
Under the rules for military commissions, prosecutors are barred from using any evidence or testimony obtained by coercion, and the defense has argued that all information from Mr. Nashiri is tainted by the harsh treatment he endured.
The hearing was held Tuesday at Guantánamo Bay, but reporters were able to watch it here.
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESSAPRIL 22, 2014
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