Annie W. Morgan, a defense attorney, portrayed the Saudi prisoner as a broken man at the time of his interrogations in 2007. He had already been interrogated 200 times in CIA custody and had no reason to believe that “another American in a different polo shirt” coming to question him wouldn’t hurt him.
“There is nothing voluntary when you judge the totality of the circumstances,” Ms Morgan said.
She reminded the judge that Mr. Nashiri’s interrogation by several interrogators – so-called clean teams – at Guantanamo took place in 2007 at Camp Echo, the same facility on the US naval base that had previously served as a secret CIA prison, a black site.
Mr. Nashiri was held there in 2003 until he was “expelled from Guantánamo Bay for behavioral problems,” she said. He was sent as punishment to another CIA black site, this one in Europe, and “was raped,” she said, referring to the time a CIA employee shoved a breathing tube up his rectum during a discredited medical procedure. Four months after his return to Guantánamo in September 2006, the FBI conducted the interrogations at Camp Echo, which had been converted for military use.
The judge asked for testimony and documents from 2006 and 2007 that portrayed the prisoner at the time as projecting free will, sometimes belligerent, controlling the pace of interrogations and aware of his rights.
Ms. Morgan pointed to the recent revelation by the US government of a classified cache of videos of Mr. Nashiri who was forcibly removed from his cell in 2006 and 2007. “This is someone who has given up,” she said. Some videos were shown in court on Friday in a secret part of the closing argument that excluded both the public and the defendant.
She also cited a recently disclosed 2004 CIA “exploitation plan” that described Mr Nashiri as unable to hold a conversation, struggling to answer yes or no questions and showing signs of dyslexia.
A key point of the question facing the judge is the principle of attenuation, how to get a clean confession after a coerced confession. Mr. Ryan said the 2007 “clean team” interviews at Guantanamo met the legal standard of a change in time, change in place and change in identity of the questioner.