NEW YORK (WPIX)—For years there have been claims that detainees at Guantanamo Bay have been tortured by their interrogators, something that has repeatedly been denied by Washington.
Now, the Center for Constitutional Rights claims to have evidence of mistreatment of at least one detainee, Mohammed Al-Qahtani. He was believed to have been recruited by Al Qaeda to be one of the enforcers aboard the four hijacked planes on 9/11. He failed to join the 19 other terrorists because he was refused entry into the U.S. days earlier. He was subsequently hunted down, arrested in Afghanistan, and detained at the Guantanamo Bay compound. He has never gone to trial.
The human rights group claims Qahtani was tortured and subjected to "cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment" and that the Center's lawyers have seen videotape that proves it. The group has filed suit in federal court, demanding that the government release the tape for the public to see.
Congressman Peter King, who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, told PIX 11 News, "There is no evidence of torture. This is strictly a left-wing attempt to intimidate the military and I hope the legal suit is thrown out as quickly as possible."
Al-Qahtani revealed Al Qaeda secrets shortly after his arrest and ratted out a number of his cohorts. Years later he recanted. The Center for Constitutional Rights insists the law suit is necessary because some of the interrogation techniques used on their client may still be used. The group claims the government permitted their lawyers to view the videotape with the pledge that they would not divulge details of the contents, which they describe as "disturbing and sickening."
Congressman King responds, "I'm more sickened that these lawyers are defending this man. I wish they were more concerned for the Americans murdered." While the lawsuit suggests release of the tapes would "serve the public interest," King fears that "national security could be endangered."
Without any official explanation, the government dropped war crimes and murder charges against Al-Qahtani four years ago. At the time, a Pentagon official was quoted as saying the trial could not go forward because it was believed he was tortured. As for the government, it has had no comment about the current lawsuit that lists the Defense and Justice Departments, the FBI and CIA as defendants.