BHRC issues Amicus to the Guantanamo Bay Military Tribunal on torture derived evidence

BHRC published its amicus brief to the Guantanamo Bay Military Tribunal in the case of Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, also known as Ammar al Baluchi.

Kirsty Brimelow QC, former Chair of BHRC (2012-2018) and co-writer of the amicus said:

Guantanamo Bay remains a stain in legal history. Currently prosecutions are attempting to secure a footing in evidence obtained through brutal torture by the CIA. If there is due process in the hearings, compliance is required with international law and evidence obtained through or tainted by torture must be excluded”

Ammar al Baluchi

Mr al Baluchi was arrested in April 2003 in Pakistan and held under the rendition program of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in secret prisons and “black sites”. He was then sent to Guantanamo Bay in September 2006, where he is being held indefinitely by the United States Department of Defence as an “alien unlawful enemy combatant.”  Mr al Baluchi and his counsel assert that he was brutally tortured by the CIA during the period between his arrest in 2003 and his transportation to Guantanamo Bay in 2006, and he continues to be subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by the United States Government while in pre-trial detention at the Guantanamo Bay facility. Since being transferred to Guantanamo Bay, Mr al Baluchi has been further interrogated by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) by so called “clean teams.”

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found that credible evidence has been presented that Mr al Baluchi was subject to torture while detained by the CIA and that the punitive conditions in which he is currently being held, in light of his previous torture, continue to impact upon the fairness of the proceedings against him. The Working Group concluded “Given the serious and ongoing violations of Mr. al Baluchi’s right to be presumed innocent, as well as the psychological and physical trauma that he continues to suffer as a result of torture under the CIA program, the Working Group considers that it is no longer possible for Mr al Baluchi to receive a fair trial.”

In its amicus, first submitted to the Military Commission in October 2018, BHRC outlined the absolute and non-derogable prohibition against torture under international law and the obligation to exclude from evidence in a court of law statements extracted directly through the use of torture, as well as subsequent statements given in lawful interrogation that confirm or replicate the statements made during torture.

The report was written by former BHRC former Chair Kirsty Brimelow QC and BHRC member Nathan Rasiah.

You can read the full amicus here.