Human rights lawyer watches detainee handover

Human rights lawyer watches detainee handover
Herald Sun
January 29, 2005

Melbourne, Australia

American human rights lawyer Joe Margulies travelled with freed Guantanamo Bay prisoner Mamdouh Habib.

Mr Margulies, a lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School, has made a name for himself defending death-row prisoners and terror suspects in the wake of the September 11 attacks.
He was given a seat on Mr Habib's aircraft to observe the handover process. He flew home to the US as soon as the handover was completed.

The lawyer has saved several alleged murderers from the electric chair, with much of his work done free.

Mr Margulies has acted for a number of the Cuban detainees, including South Australian David Hicks, but claims to have been hamstrung by a lack of access and information.

In interviews, Mr Margulies has complained he wasn't able to talk to his clients on the telephone and was banned from flying to the camp.

Earlier this month, he alleged in an affidavit that an Australian official stood and watched while US agents tortured and humiliated Mr Habib.

The document said Mr Habib received electric shocks, was beaten, kicked and subjected to water torture at the hands of his American captors.

The affidavit was in support of a restraining order against the US Government, aimed at preventing Mr Habib from being sent from Guantanamo Bay back to custody in Egypt.

The affidavit said a man who introduced himself to Mr Habib as an Australian consular official watched while an American agent stood on Mr Habib's neck and had his photograph taken.

The event was said to have taken place at an airfield in Islamabad about October 29, 2001.

After his detainment in Pakistan, Mr Habib was flown to Egypt at the end of October 2001 and imprisoned there for just under six months.

During that time, he was subjected to horrific torture by his captors, the affidavit stated.

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