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Pentagon Bars Anti-Torture Marine From Testifying

Mr. Slahi, who is alleged to have helped recruit several of the Sept. 11 hijackers, is one of two high-value Guantanamo prisoners who were authorized to undergo "special" interrogation methods. In addition to allegedly suffering physical beatings and death threats, Mr. Slahi was led to believe that the U.S. had taken his mother hostage and might ship her to Guantanamo Bay, where she would be the sole female amid hundreds of male prisoners.

Col. Couch, now a military judge, said he reluctantly concluded it would be impossible to prosecute Mr. Slahi without relying on tainted evidence. The decision was particularly difficult, Col. Couch said, because a Marine buddy, Mike Horrocks, had been the co-pilot on the hijacked United 175, which struck the World Trade Center -- and because Col. Couch believed Mr. Slahi indeed had taken part in the Sept. 11 conspiracy. After Col. Couch advised superiors that the tainted evidence made it impossible to proceed against Mr. Slahi, the prosecution was shelved. A Pentagon investigation concluded the abuses didn't meet the legal definition of torture.

Update: This post originally misstated when Couch refused to bring charges against Slahi. It was 2004, not 2007. I regret the error.

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