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article imageOp-Ed: Evidence that could exonerate Guantanamo terror suspect blocked

By Ken Hanly     Jan 10, 2013 in World
Wali Mohammed, after a long stay in Guantanamo Bay, will have his day in "court", or at least before a military tribunal. However, evidence that might exonerate him from the allegations that he was a financier for Al Qaeda will not be allowed.
Haji Wali Mohammed is a 46-year-old citizen of Afghanistan. As of Jan. 6, 2013, he has been held at Guantánamo for 10 years eight months. Now that Mohammed finally faces a judge the situation is still stacked against him as evidence that could prove his innocence will not be released to the lawyers defending him.
The lawyers believe that the evidence would show that he was an innocent businessman and that he was sold to the US for refusing to pay a bribe. Judge Rosemary Collyer did concede that the evidence would be "extremely helpful" to Mohammed's lawyers and could even secure his outright release. However, the standard move that often prevents terror subjects from proving that their captors are wrong was invoked. The evidence was "too secret" to allow lawyers to have access to it. The evidence may very well show that the agents who arrested Mohammed were duped and that the people who turned him in, alleged to be Pakistani intelligence agents, were receiving a cash benefit and revenge for Mohammed refusing to pay a bribe.
In other cases, the US offered redacted versions of this type of document to lawyers but Collyer insisted that in this case they could not be sufficiently redacted to release. She said that she had seen the evidence however and that this might carry some weight in the case. Of course the defence can not see or assess the evidence or ask questions based on it, because they do not have it.
Collyer is a federal judge and a George W. Bush appointee. She claims her ruling is a minor detriment to Mohammed's case since she has seen the evidence. Interesting that a judge should think that it is a minor matter that an accused is not able to see the evidence against him and have his lawyers respond on seeing the evidence. Mohammed says that it was Pakistani intelligence agents that handed him over to the US because he would not pay them a bribe.
While suspected terrorists have a right to contest their detention under a Supreme Court ruling in 2008, the decision allowed lower court judges considerable discretion, including how sensitive information should be handled. Collyer said that the most important part of the decision is that a judge is provided sufficient information to make a decision whether a person is properly held. Of course the information that is provided to the judge will be presented in a way that favors the arresting authorities no doubt. The lawyers fpor Mohammed will never be able to probe its validity. The process is a kangaroo court with rhetorical flourishes extolling the neutrality of judges.
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This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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