AP reports that charges have been dropped against the alleged “Twentieth Hijacker”, Mohammed al-Qahtani:
The Pentagon has dropped charges against a Saudi at Guantanamo who was alleged to have been the so-called “20th hijacker” in the Sept. 11 attacks, his U.S. military defense lawyer said Monday.
Mohammed al-Qahtani was one of six men charged by the military in February with murder and war crimes for their alleged roles in the 2001 attacks. Authorities say al-Qahtani missed out on taking part in the attacks because he was denied entry to the U.S. by an immigration agent.
But in reviewing the case, the convening authority for military commissions, Susan Crawford, decided to dismiss the charges against al-Qahtani and proceed with the arraignment for the other five, said Army Lt. Col. Bryan Broyles, the Saudi’s military lawyer.
The charges were dropped without prejudice, meaning that they could be reinstated. al-Qahtani was to face the death penalty, along with five others, in trials before Military Commissions at Guantanamo.
Why were the charges dropped? Because al-Qahtani had been tortured. Of course, Crawford did not say. And his lawyer couldn’t comment yet.
Officials previously said al-Qahtani had been subjected to a harsh interrogation authorized by former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. /snip
U.S. authorities have acknowledged that Mohammed was subjected to waterboarding by CIA interrogators and that al-Qahtani was treated harshly at Guantanamo.
Al-Qahtani last fall recanted a confession he said he made after he was tortured and humiliated at Guantanamo.
The alleged torture, which he detailed in a written statement, included being beaten, restrained for long periods in uncomfortable positions, threatened with dogs, exposed to loud music and freezing temperatures and stripped nude in front of female personnel.