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“Complete review” of torture claims promised

The Pentagon official in charge of war crimes trials told defense lawyers for a Guantanamo Bay detainee on Thursday that she would make “a complete review” — presumably, including a probe of claims of torture — before she sends charges to a trial.

Susan J. Crawford, the “Convening Authority” for military commissions, said in a letter released Thursday afternoon that “I will conduct a complete review” as federal law and regulations on commission affairs require when she receives papers from prosecutors who have prepared charges against Binyam Mohamed.  She also vowed to “consider any matters” sent to her in writing by defense lawyers before approving any charges against him.

The letter appeared to be a response to demands by Mohamed’s lawyers on Wednesday for an investigation of his claims that evidence against him was, at least in part, the result of torture of him and of other detainees.  A post on this blog discussing that demand can be read here.  The attorneys have said that, if they did not have assurances of an investigation by Friday of this week, they would ask a federal judge to order Crawford to probe the claims.