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Court Asked To Investigate Why Interrogation Tapes Were Destroyed

Brennan Center files motion to order the U.S. Government to stop destroying videotaped evidence of interrogations.

March 21, 2008

For Immediate Release:  March 20, 2008

Contact:  Mike Webb, 917–660–1846 or Jonathan Hafetz, 917–355–6896

Brennan Center Asks Court To Investigate Why “Enemy Combatant”
Videotaped Evidence Was Destroyed And To Order Preservation of Tapes
In Al-Marri Habeas Corpus Case

Today the Brennan Center for Justice filed a motion in the District Court of South Carolina to order the U.S. government to stop destroying videotaped evidence of interrogations with an alleged enemy combatant.  The motion also requested the Court to conduct an investigation into why some of these tapes were destroyed.  The action follows last week’s motion to end Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri’s prolonged isolation and other mistreatment at a South Carolina Navy brig.

The request was made following the Defense Department’s revelation that approximately 50 videotape recordings had been made of the interrogations of Mr. al-Marri and Jose Padilla.  According to several newspaper accounts, al-Marri was "manhandled," and “interrogators used force to put duct tape on his mouth.”

“Contrary to what the government said before, the Defense Department admits that it has both destroyed evidence and lacks adequate evidence retention procedures,” said Jonathan Hafetz, who represents al-Marri and serves as Litigation Director for the Liberty and National Security Project at the Brennan Center "These tapes are a crucial part of this case and must be saved.  Even an unskilled and unsophisticated attorney knows they have an obligation to preserve evidence once litigation is anticipated."

The Brennan Center motion calls on the court to require the government to detail the nature of the evidence that was destroyed and to impose appropriate remedial measures.
The al-Marri habeas corpus case is currently before the full Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals  

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