For Immediate Release: October 6, 2010
New York City – Today, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan’s barred the testimony of a government witness whose identity was obtained through torture in the case of Ahmed Ghailani. Human Rights First’s Daphne Eviatar, who was at the court and is monitoring the trial, issued the following statement:
“Judge Lewis today upheld a longstanding principle of the rule of law, barring testimony derived from the torture of the defendant. The issue here is not that the testimony has been barred, but that the defendant was tortured. The fact that Judge Lewis recognizes that evidence derived through torture is inadmissible only strengthens the view that civilian federal courts, not military commissions, can best handle difficult terrorism cases. Just yesterday, a federal court sentenced the Times Square bomber to life in prison. Let’s be clear – the barred testimony in the Ghailani case is not the only evidence that the government will present in this case. The government convicted four of Ghailani’s alleged co-conspirators in the same federal court, without the testimony of this particular witness. Judge Lewis’ decision is significant, though, because it clearly signals that the court will not countenance evidence derived from torture.”
Ghailani is accused of assisting the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in East Africa that killed 224 people and wounded hundreds more. He is the first former Guantanamo Bay detainee to be tried in a civilian U.S. federal court.
To speak with Daphne Eviatar about today’s proceedings and the Ghailani case, please contact Brenda Bowser Soder at 202-370-3323 or firstname.lastname@example.org.