Ex-Guantanamo inmates seek evidence from former US official
Two French former inmates at Guantanamo Bay have called for a former high-ranking US defence department official to give evidence on their accusations of torture at the notorious US prison camp, the mens` lawyer said Wednesday.
Paris: Two French former inmates at Guantanamo Bay have called for a former high-ranking US defence department official to give evidence on their accusations of torture at the notorious US prison camp, the mens` lawyer said Wednesday.
Nizar Sassi and Mourad Benchellali were arrested by US forces in Afghanistan before being transferred to the prison in Cuba set up to hold terror suspects after the 9/11 attacks in the United States in 2001.
They were both sent back to France in 2004 and have since brought a legal case, aided by their lawyer William Bourdon, accusing their captors of arbitrary detention and torture.
As part of that case, the pair want William J. Haynes II, who served as General Counsel of the US Defence Department from 2001-2008, to have his day in a French court.
Haynes was "one of the main architects of the interrogation and detention policies of the Bush administration," they said in their legal application.
The prison camp was opened at the Guantanamo Bay US naval base in 2002 during George W. Bush`s presidency.
Despite promises by current US President Barack Obama to close the prison -- located in the east of the island under US control since a treaty signed in 1903 -- it remains open and still houses detainees without charge.
Haynes is not the first former US official whom Sassi and Benchellali have sought to give evidence.
In March Former Guantanamo prison chief Geoffrey Miller failed to appear before a French court despite a summons over the accusations of torture by the two ex-detainees.
Bourdon described Miller`s no-show at the time as "a dual act of contempt against the French judiciary; he both refused to appear and to provide any explanation about his role and that of the US administration".
At the height of its activity Guantanamo Bay held over 600 prisoners without any judicial procedures.