On last night’s Hardball, Prof. Jonathan Turley of George Washington University Law School defended Ahmed Ghailani’s trial, particularly the judge’s exclusion of Hussein Abebe’s testimony. Abebe, a Tanzanian, sold dynamite to Ghailani, who destroyed the U.S. embassy in that country in 1998. Abebe was set to testify in court when the judge refused to hear him, saying the government identified Abebe through evidence obtained by torturing Ghailani. Turley concurred with the decision:
Host: Professor, why was a key witness not permitted to testify in this trial?
Turley: Well, for a very simple reason: The Bush administration tortured him. And while many people engage in euphemisms and ambiguous language, waterboarding is torture. It’s been found to be torture under international law. It’s been found to be torture in U.S. courts. And what this judge said is ‘I’m not going to allow in evidence that was derived by torture.’ And those people that want us to introduce evidence derived from torture are taking us back not just to the founding of this country. It’s a perfectly medieval concept that we long ago rejected.
In 2008, however, the CIA confirmed that its agents had waterboarded only three people: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah, and Abd al Rahim al Nashiri. As Andy McCarthy explained earlier, Ghailani wasn’t waterboarded.