Lawyer: Guantanamo case should be put on hold at high court

Oct 26, 2021, 11:00 AM | Updated: 11:07 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — A lawyer for a Guantanamo Bay detainee says the Supreme Court should wait to decide a case involving his client until it’s clear what the Biden administration will let the man say about his torture abroad by the CIA.

The lawyer for Abu Zubaydah told the Supreme Court in a letter Monday that a case involving his client argued at the high court earlier this month should be put on hold for the time being. An agreement by the government to let Zubaydah provide information could mean the Supreme Court doesn’t need to issue a ruling on when the government can shield information by saying it’s a state secret.

Zubaydah was captured in Pakistan in 2002 and thought to be a high-ranking member of al-Qaida, the terrorist group that carried out the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington. He was tortured while being held at so-called CIA black sites abroad before being transferred to Guantanamo Bay in 2006.

According to a Senate report, among other things Zubaydah was waterboarded more than 80 times and spent over 11 days in a coffin-size confinement box.

It’s been widely reported that Zubaydah was held at black sites in Thailand and Poland, but the U.S. government has not confirmed that. Polish officials, meanwhile, are investigating his treatment there. As part of that investigation, Zubaydah wants the testimony of two former CIA contractors who developed the CIA’s interrogation program.

The Biden administration, like the Trump administration before it, has opposed the questioning, arguing that confirming where Zubaydah was held could damage national security. That’s even as the two former contractors have testified publicly on other occasions.

At arguments in the case earlier this month, Justice Neil Gorsuch asked if the government would allow Zubaydah, rather than the contractors, to provide the information to Polish officials about his treatment. Zubaydah’s lawyers had said the government was preventing him from doing so.

The Biden administration’s top Supreme Court lawyer, acting Solicitor General Brian H. Fletcher, said he’d get back to the justices. In a letter filed a little over a week ago the administration said it would let Zubaydah provide information to Polish officials.

Any declaration written for Polish officials would still be subject to a “security review,” the government said, meaning it could be redacted. The government noted that a court case in the United States involving Zubaydah already includes a public declaration from him with redactions describing his treatment in CIA custody.

Zubaydah’s lawyer David F. Klein, for his part, sounded a skeptical note in his own letter to the court Monday. He wrote it’s “theoretically possible the Government’s new position will lead to a declaration” that can help Polish officials. But he said that when Guantanamo prisoners “have attempted in the past to describe their torture to the outside world … the Government has sometimes redacted virtually every word.”

Klein said it will take “some time” to learn whether a statement from Zubaydah would be treated similarly. He said lawyers would need to meet with Zubaydah, prepare a declaration and have it go through the redaction process. He urged the court to set a “reasonable deadline” for that review to be complete. When it is, he said, “the parties would return to the Court and address the impact of the declaration, if any, on the issues before the Court.”

The government claims Zubaydah was “an associate and longtime terrorist ally of Osama bin Laden.” But Zubaydah’s lawyers say the CIA was mistaken in believing he was a high-ranking member of al-Qaida.

The Biden administration has said it will seek to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Mourners carry the body of a victim of a mosque bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Aug. 18. 2...
Associated Press

Police: Death toll in Afghan capital mosque bombing now 21

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A bombing at a mosque in the Afghan capital of Kabul during evening prayers killed at least 21 people, including a prominent cleric, and wounded at least 33 others, eyewitnesses and police said Thursday. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack Wednesday night, the latest to strike the […]
1 hour ago
FILE - Kimi Raikkonen, of Finland, pauses during a news conference in Concord, N.C., May 20, 2011. ...
Associated Press

Kimi Raikkonen hits pause on retirement to race NASCAR

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kimi Raikkonen retired to Switzerland at the end of last year’s Formula One season and has blissfully spent the last eight months with his young family. Did he miss racing? “Not really, no,” the 2007 F1 champion said. Yet here he is, not even a full year into retirement, and Raikkonen […]
1 hour ago
FILE - In this image provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukrainian President Volod...
Associated Press

Zelenskyy to host Lviv talks with UN chief, Turkish leader

LVIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is due to host the U.N. chief and Turkey’s leader Thursday for talks on the recent deal to resume Ukraine’s grain exports, the volatile situation at a Russian-occupied nuclear power plant and efforts to help end the nearly six-month-old war. U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres arrived Wednesday in […]
1 day ago
Taiwanese soldiers operate a Oerlikon 35mm twin cannon anti-aircraft gun at a base in Taiwan's sout...
Associated Press

US to hold trade talks with Taiwan, island drills military

HUALIEN, Taiwan (AP) — The U.S. government will hold talks with Taiwan on a wide-ranging trade treaty in a sign of support for the self-ruled island democracy China claims as its own territory. The announcement Thursday comes after Beijing held military drills that included firing missiles into the sea to intimidate Taiwan following this month’s […]
1 day ago
A currency trader watches monitors near screens showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSP...
Associated Press

Asian stocks follow Wall St down after Fed inflation report

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets followed Wall Street lower Thursday after the Federal Reserve said U.S. inflation is too high, suggesting support for more aggressive interest rate hikes. Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney declined. Oil prices edged higher. Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index lost 0.7% on Wednesday after notes from the Fed’s […]
1 day ago
FILE- Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) goes up high to dunk the ball during the first h...
Associated Press

LeBron James inks 2-year, $97.1 million deal with Lakers

LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeBron James has agreed to a two-year, $97.1 million contract extension through the 2024-25 season with the Los Angeles Lakers, his agent announced Wednesday. Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul said the league-maximum deal makes James the highest-paid player in NBA history. His new deal includes a player option that would keep […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
Sanderson Ford

Don’t let rising fuel prices stop you from traveling Arizona this summer

There's no better time to get out on the open road and see what the beautiful state of Arizona has to offer. But if the cost of gas is putting a cloud over your summer vacation plans, let Sanderson Ford help with their wide-range selection of electric vehicles.
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
Lawyer: Guantanamo case should be put on hold at high court