Tortured 9/11 mastermind should not face death penalty: lawyer

Tortured 9/11 mastermind should not face death penalty: lawyer
This photo obtained March 1, 2003 shows alleged plotter of the September 11, 2001 attack Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

WASHINGTON - Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-confessed mastermind behind the September 11 attacks, should not have to face the death penalty, his lawyer said Tuesday, following revelations of torture in a scathing US Senate report.

"It's not legal, humane, or fair to execute a person after torturing him," David Nevin told AFP.

Mohammed is known to have been waterboarded 183 times in secret CIA prisons and in March 2003 he was subjected to five waterboard sessions over 25 hours.

"Holding a real execution of Mr Mohammad, after 183 mock executions, is cruel and unusual punishment," prohibited under the Eighth Amendment of the US Constitution, Nevin said.

"The brutality revealed in the details of the torture is quite shocking," he said, and "produced absolutely no useful information." Tuesday's report revealed that sleep deprivation for over a week, beatings, shackling and waterboarding were among the cruel methods used by the George W. Bush-era CIA to interrogate Al-Qaeda terror suspects.

The document found that the techniques employed by the Central Intelligence Agency were "far more brutal" than the spy agency had previously admitted to.

The lawyer for Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who allegedly led Al-Qaeda operations in the Gulf, said it was "stunning" that the prosecutors knew of the torture "for years and hid it from the court in violation of their professional obligations." Al-Nashiri, who was tortured in CIA prisons, is accused of masterminding a suicide bombing of the USS Cole which killed 17 American sailors in 2000 off the coast of Yemen.

"The fact that military and civilian prosecutors are protecting torturers who were acting in violation of American and international law is disappointing, although regrettably not unexpected," Richard Kammen told AFP.

Rights advocates hailed the exposure following the report's release, but criticised a Justice Department announcement that it will not prosecute any US officials implicated.

It was regrettable that "the government has excluded from the report the identities of the torturers, the locations of the torture, and many other facts," said James Connell, the civilian lawyer for Mohammad's nephew and accused co-conspirator Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali.

He called for the publication of "the remaining 6,125 pages" of the redacted report.

Lieutenant Colonel Sterling Thomas, Ali's military lawyer, said that "torture violates American military values." "The military commission should order access to the full torture report and its underlying documents as part of that accounting for torture," he said.

According to the Senate report, Mohammed was the detainee who was tortured the most of the 39 prisoners who underwent the interrogation techniques.

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