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Court: US can withhold Guantanamo detainee images

•  Recent Cases     updated  2014/09/03 16:42


The U.S. government can withhold photographs and videotapes of a Guantanamo Bay detainee identified as the would-be 20th hijacker in the Sept. 11 terror attacks, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan agreed with the government that images of Mohammed al-Qahtani, if made public, "could logically and plausibly be used by anti-American extremists as propaganda to recruit members and incite violence against American interests at home and abroad."

Authorities have said al-Qahtani narrowly missed being one of the hijackers when he was denied entry into the U.S. at an Orlando, Florida, airport a month before the attacks. He was captured by Pakistani forces in December 2001 and taken to Guantanamo, where he remains.

The Center for Constitutional Rights sued the departments of Defense and Justice and the CIA in 2012, saying the release of videotapes and photographs of his interrogation and confinement would serve the public interest. The group has accused FBI and military personnel of subjecting al-Qahtani to isolation and aggressive interrogation techniques in 2002, including the use of a snarling dog, stripping him naked in the presence of a woman and repeatedly pouring water on his head.

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