Judge: U.S. Can Censor Guantanamo Torture Testimony

A military judge overseeing the Guantanamo Bay trail of the accused Sept. 11, 2001 attack plotters ruled last week that the government may censor testimony from the defendants about their torture, according to a filing made public on Wednesday.

Military Judge Col. James Pohl said statements from the defendants about their treatment while in U.S. custody could be kept from the public as classified. He also ruled in favor of a 40-second delay for the audio feed from the courtroom, which press advocates argued amounted to an unwarranted closure of the courtroom. The American Civil Liberties Union plans to appeal the ruling.

“We’re profoundly disappointed by the military judge’s decision, which didn’t even address the serious First Amendment issues at stake here,” Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU’s National Security Program, said in a written statement. “The government wanted to ensure that the American public would never hear the defendants’ accounts of illegal CIA torture, rendition and detention, and the military judge has gone along with that shameful plan.”