26 Sep Gitmo Prosecutor Wants Immunity to Testify
Defense attorneys asked the judge to give Vandeveld immunity. “The suggestion he may have something criminal to hide is intriguing and suggests there is something very, very important this commission needs to get to the bottom of,” said Air Force Maj. David Frakt, the Pentagon-appointed attorney for Mohammed Jawad.
Jawad, 23, faces charges including attempted murder for allegedly throwing a grenade that injured two American soldiers and their interpreter in Afghanistan in 2002. A conviction at his trial, which is scheduled to begin in December, could keep him in prison for life.
In his written declaration, Vandeveld said he was available and willing to testify for the defense. Prosecutors prevented him from traveling to the U.S. Navy base in Cuba, but the judge agreed to have him testify by video link. It was not clear why he wanted immunity and an attorney.
Frakt told the judge Thursday that Pentagon officials are trying to discredit Vandeveld and block his testimony.
The offer who oversaw the tribunals until last week, Air Force Brig. Gen. Thomas Hartmann, allegedly asked Vandeveld to get a psychiatric exam. But frakt said the former prosecutor was evaluated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center last week and was cleared to stay on active duty.
“He is very intimately involved in the effort to prevent Col. Vandeveld from being able to testify,” Frakt told the judge. Hartmann was disqualified from participating in the case last month for aligning himself too closely with prosecutors.
I’m with Maj. Frakt — immunity from what? Does Lt. Col. Vandeveld believe that, if he comes clean about the prosecution’s attempts to rig Jawad’s trial, he might someday be prosecuted for “wilfully depriving a protected person of the rights of fair and regular trial” prescribed in the Geneva Conventions, a grave breach that is made criminal by the US War Crimes Act? If so, we definitely need to hear what he has to say!