Abu Zubaydah wants to question two former CIA contractors who allegedly tortured him in Poland.
The Supreme Court will decide whether a Palestinian captured in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington, DC, and held in the US base prison at Guantanamo Bay can gain access to information that the government classifies as top secret. ‘State.
Abu Zubaydah, also known as Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn, was initially captured in Pakistan in March 2002 and jailed in CIA detention centers overseas. The US government says he was a longtime associate and ally of Osama bin Laden. Zubaydah and his lawyer want to interview two former CIA contractors, James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, about the operation of a secret CIA installation in Poland where they say Zubaydah was detained and tortured.
A Supreme Court document (PDF) details how Zubaydah was detained in various CIA “black sites” and endured “a relentless regime of ‘improved queries“” Including being waterboarded 83 times in one month in 2002. Zubaydah was also “forced to stay awake for eleven consecutive days and doused over and over with cold water when he collapsed into sleep” crammed into de small boxes, hung naked on hooks for hours, and “subjected to a particularly grotesque humiliation described by the CIA as ‘rectal rehydration'”.
Al Jazeera America reported in 2014 that Zubaydah “was the only captive subjected to the 10 torture techniques identified in an August 2002 Justice Department memo.”
The U.S. San Francisco Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 in 2019 that the two contractors could be subject to limited questioning. In that decision, the court used the word “torture” to describe Zubaydah’s treatment.
In asking the Supreme Court to take up the case, the government said it had declassified “a significant amount of information regarding the former CIA program, including details of Abu Zubaydah’s treatment during his CIA detention, which included the use of improved interrogation techniques ”. But he said he “determined that certain categories of information – including the identity of its foreign intelligence partners and the location of former CIA detention centers in their countries – could not be declassified without risking the risk of carrying unduly prejudicial to national security ”.
The High Court will not hear the case until some time after its new term begins in October.
President Joe Biden’s administration has said it will seek to close the US base’s Guantanamo Bay prison following a review process that began under the administration of former US President Barack Obama.
Obama attempted to shut down Guantanamo Bay and transferred nearly 200 prisoners to other countries during his eight years in office, 2009-2017, but was unable to clear the prison where 40 inmates remain.