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Friday, March 16, 2007

Levin calls for inquiry on terrorist's(K.S.M.'s)torture claim(issues a joint statement w/ Graham)

Gordon Trowbridge / Detroit News Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON -- Accusations made by the chief planner of the September 11 terrorist attacks that he was tortured while in U.S. custody should be fully investigated, U.S. Sen. Carl Levin said today, six days after he and a Republican colleague witnessed the detainee making the statements during a dramatic hearing.

Levin, D-Mich., and Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., watched by video from a nearby room during the hearing on the status of Khaled Sheikh Muhammad, an al Qaida operative. Muhammad admitted during the hearing that he led planning and training for the 9-11 attacks and other terrorist acts against the United States.

The senators' presence at the hearing, held at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was first reported on Friday by The Washington Post. Neither the lawmakers nor the military had disclosed their presence at the hearing, which was closed to the media and other observers.

In a joint statement, Levin and Graham said Muhammad presented a written statement alleging he was mistreated in U.S. custody before arriving at Guantanamo Bay, a statement the senators said was made part of the classified record of the hearing. "Allegations of prisoner mistreatment must be taken seriously and properly investigated. To do otherwise would reflect poorly on our nation," Levin and Graham said in their statement.



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