This submission to the UN Committee against Torture relates to the United States’ treatment of so-called “High Value Detainees” (HVDs), those terrorist suspects considered to have high intelligence value by the USA. These individuals were forcibly disappeared by US authorities for a number of years until their detention was acknowledged in September 2006. They are now held in a separate facility within Guantanamo Bay, and are almost completely cut off from the outside world. Six of the individuals held as HVDs are currently facing trial before a Military Commission, and the Prosecution is seeking the death penalty in each case.
This submission focuses on the silencing of these individuals – who are victims of torture and other ill-treatment – through detention, isolation and classification of information as a result of United States counter-terrorism policies as part of the “War on Terror”. These policies represent a deliberate system to ensure that no information about torture and other ill-treatment committed against HVDs will be released, to secure impunity for perpetrators of torture, and to ensure that no redress for the victims is achieved. More specifically, the submission argues that the system of isolation of individuals and classification of information leads to multiple grave, ongoing, violations of the UN Convention against Torture.One HVD facing capital charges before the US Military Commission at Guantanamo Bay is Mustafa al-Hawsawi, which REDRESS has been assisting to seek investigations in several European countries where it believes he was held in secret detention and ill-treated, then illegally rendered to Guantanamo Bay.
This submission was made jointly with the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT),