“Anyone who approved or participated in the torture of my client should be prepared to take the witness stand.” That’s what Navy Lt. Cmdr. Stephen Reyes told the Washington Post about the upcoming military trial of his client, Abd al-Rahim Al-Nashiri. Nashiri faces a possible death sentence for his alleged role in the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole in Yemen. The military filed charges against him Wednesday in a military commission that will take place at Guantanamo.
The CIA held Nashiri for nearly four years in a so-called black site prison and waterboarded him at least twice, according to government documents and press reports. It is unclear if Nashiri’s torture will come up during his trial or during the sentencing phase, if it occurs, but it could get uncomfortable for the government. He was tortured in late 2002 and early 2003, just as the agency was setting up its torture program, and top officials at the agency showed intense interest in his captivity and questioning.
There is also this, from the CIA’s May 2004 inspector general review of the torture program:
After discussing this plane with [blacked out] the debriefer entered the cell where Al-Nashiri sat shackled and racked the handgun once or twice close to Al-Nashiri’s head. On what was probably the same day, the debriefer used a power drill to frighten Al-Nashiri. With [blacked out] consent, the debriefer entered the detainee’s cell and revved the drill while the detainee stood naked and hooded. The debriefer did not touch Al-Nashiri with the power drill.
The report says the interrogators did not report the use of the gun and the drill to higher headquarters, but presumably this is not a discussion in court at GTMO that the agency looks forward to.