Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the Al-Qaeda Islamist suspected of plotting 9/11 attack, is to face in court Guantanamo psychologists who lawyers say tortured him into confession
- Mohammed, 55, was captured in Pakistan in the aftermath of the 2001 attacks
- He was subject to ‘enhanced interrogation’ at Guantanamo detainment camp
- These techniques were devised by CIA’s James Mitchell and John ‘Bruce’ Jessen
- Defense attorneys claim confession to the FBI was made under extreme duress
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, 55, is charged with plotting the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center
An al-Qaeda Islamist charged with plotting the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center will face in court two CIA psychologists accused of torturing him.
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, 55, was captured in Pakistan in the aftermath of the harrowing 2001 plane hijackings, before being locked up in the United States’ Guantanamo Bay detention camp where he remains.
At this infamous Cuban compound he was waterboarded and subjected to other gruelling forms of ‘enhanced interrogation’ devised in the minds of psychologists James Mitchell and John ‘Bruce’ Jessen.
As Mohammed prepares to face a death penalty trial in 2021, defense attorneys are claiming his confession to the FBI should not be read out in evidence because it was given under extreme duress.
Both Mitchell and Jessen have been summoned to provide testimony at Mohammed’s pretrial hearing, which will pore over the treatment of the inmate during his time in Guantanamo.
He was was captured in Pakistan in the aftermath of the harrowing 2001 plane hijackings, before being locked up in the United States’ Guantanamo Bay detention camp where he remains (pictured shortly after his 2003 capture)
Mohammed, and four other detainees, will be tried by the military commission in Guantanamo in 2021 in a landmark case for the September 11 attacks
Torture was a previously blacklisted topic in courtrooms, but this began to change in 2014 when details of the CIA’s so-called black sites began to attract scrutiny.
Mohammed’s attorneys also allege that the CIA was working hand in glove with the FBI at Guantanamo, so that Bureau officers could take a confession immediately after Agency operatives had physically and mentally ground him down, according to the LA Times.
David Nevin, one of the suspected terrorist’s attorneys, said in an interview: ‘You torture someone for three and a half years and then you have a break and you take them to a new place and you say, “now we’d like to ask you some more questions. We have some other people here who want to do that.”
‘The question is: Are those statements in any real meaningful sense, in the terms in US law, an act of free will and voluntariness? And it’s really almost laughable to even ask the question.
‘Those are clearly coerced statements in any understanding of the law that applies to this kind of activity.’
At the infamous Cuban compound Mohammed was waterboarded and subjected to other gruelling forms of ‘enhanced interrogation’ devised in the minds of psychologists James Mitchell (left) and John ‘Bruce’ Jessen (right)
Mitchell and Jessen were private contractors who in 2002 were hired by the CIA to develop their enhanced interrogation programme.
They previously denied ‘torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, non-consensual human experimentation and/or war crimes’ in a 2016 investigation.
They said, however, to pushing for the use of waterboarding, sleep deprivation, cramped confinement, and other harsh forms of treatment generally acknowledged to constitute torture.
Mitchell has previously said he personally waterboarded Mohammed.
In a 2014 interview he said: ‘Yes, I waterboarded KSM. I was part of a larger team that waterboarded a small number of detainees.’
Mohammed, and four other detainees, will be tried by the military commission in Guantanamo in 2021.
It will be a landmark case for the horrific September 11 attacks which killed 2,973.