Pentagon reviewing interrogations

US military examines policy on videotaping following outcry over CIA destroying tapes.

    Ali al-Marri's mouth was taped shut during one interview [GETTY/GALLO]
    The military says it does not regularly tape interrogations and so far the review has found fewer than 50 tapes.
     
    The tapes are usually destroyed after 90 days, once the military decides they no longer serve any useful purpose, the Pentagon said.
     
    More than 30 tapes were handed over to the courts for the trial of Jose Padilla, a former Chicago gang member sentenced in January to more than 17 years in prison for supporting terrorism, said Don Black, a defence intelligence agency spokesman.
     
    Abuse claims
     
    Tapes also were made of Ali al-Marri, whom the government claims had links to al-Qaeda.
     
    Al-Marri, a Qatari citizen who is a legal US resident, has been held at Charleston navy prison since June 2003.
     
    Black said one tape of al-Marri shows his mouth was taped during questioning because he was being disruptive.
     
    His lawyer, Jonathan Hafetz of the Brennan Centre for Justice, said he was filing a court motion seeking relief from prison conditions that have caused al-Marri serious mental deterioration.
     
    Hafetz said al-Marri nearly choked from the taping but Black said the agency's legal office reviewed the video and determined there was no abuse.
     
    "The government has relied, in detaining Mr al-Marri without trial, on hearsay statements of individuals who have been in secret captivity and subject to the most severe interrogation techniques including waterboarding so the information is ... thoroughly unreliable," Hafetz told Al Jazeera.
     
    He said the government had refused to disclose any of the evidence against al-Marri.
     
    "These are classic violations of due process. These are exactly the kind of things our system was set up to prevent."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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