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Judge Rules Torture Details Irrelevant to Detainee’s Mental Health

A military commission judge has ruled that the types of abusive techniques U.S. interrogators used on a suspected 9-11 conspirator are irrelevant to determining his competence to stand trial, the Miami Herald reports.

Ramzi bin al Shibh is one of five men charged by the U.S. military commission with having participated in planning the Sept. 11 hijacking and suicide mission. His lawyers say he’s not competent to represent himself or to stand trial because he suffers from “delusional disorder” and hallucinations, and he is being treated with psychotropic drugs by Guantanamo Bay prison doctors.

To prepare his defense, his lawyers tried to get evidence from the government about which specific interrogation techniques were used on him, and how frequently. Waterboarding, stress positions, sleep deprivation and sexual humiliation are among the techniques to which the the alleged 9/11 conspirators were subjected, according to the so-called Office of Legal Counsel “torture memos” released earlier this year.

But the military judge hearing the case, Army Col. Stephen Henley, ruled on Aug. 6 that “evidence of specific techniques employed by various governmental agencies to interrogate the accused is … not essential to a fair resolution of the incompetence determination hearing in this case.” The government had argued that releasing the evidence would endanger national security.

The Miami Herald obtained a copy of the ruling on Monday.

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