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Daphne Eviatar
As Senior Counsel in Human Rights First’s Law and Security Program, Daphne Eviatar investigates and reports on U.S. national security policies and practices and their human rights implications.

Daphne is a lawyer and award-winning journalist who has written widely about law, human rights and economic development. A former legal correspondent for The Washington Independent, her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Salon, Politico and many others. She’s been interviewed widely on radio and television, including on The Rachel Maddow Show and public radio stations across the country.

Daphne was a 2005 Alicia Patterson Foundation fellow, a 2003 Pew International Journalism fellow at Johns Hopkins University’s School for Advanced International Studies, and has taught law and journalism at New York Law School.

Daphne is a graduate of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, New York University School of Law and Dartmouth College.

Entries by Daphne Eviatar

US Needs to Explain Decision Not to Prosecute Torturers

(48) Comments | Posted December 11, 2014 | 12:50 PM

The Senate torture report released on Tuesday has led to the inevitable calls for prosecution of the government officials who may have committed crimes. Although the Justice Department this week reaffirmed its earlier position that it would not be prosecuting anyone, that leaves a burning question open: why...

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Secret Order Cancels Guantanamo Hearing on FBI Spying -- Government 'Transparency' in Action

(4) Comments | Posted October 16, 2014 | 3:52 PM

I really hope family members of victims of the 9/11 attacks weren't planning on attending the hearings scheduled at Guantanamo Bay this week. It's bad enough that observers who planned to travel to Cuba to watch federal prosecutors try to explain why the FBI was spying on U.S. military defense...

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Life Sentence for Bin Laden's Son-in-Law Is Hardly 'Soft' on Terrorism

(9) Comments | Posted September 23, 2014 | 2:05 PM

On Tuesday morning, a federal district court judge in New York sentenced Osama bin Laden's son-in-law to life in a U.S. federal prison.

When Sulaiman Abu Ghaith was arrested abroad last year, conservative lawmakers were outraged. "He is an enemy combatant and should be held in military custody,"...

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FBI Infiltration Of 9/11 Defense Continues To Delay Guantanamo Trial

(1) Comments | Posted August 14, 2014 | 6:30 PM

Four months after defense lawyers first told a Guantanamo military commission that they'd learned the FBI was spying on their colleagues, it remains unclear who or what the FBI was investigating.

What is clear is that it will continue to delay progress in the case of the...

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Judge Puts 9/11 Case Back Together Again

(1) Comments | Posted August 13, 2014 | 4:58 PM

After unexpectedly deciding to split the 9/11 case into two trials last month, a military commission judge reversed himself and decided on Wednesday to put the severed case back together again. At least for now.

Government prosecutors in the Guantanamo Bay courtroom on Monday had argued vehemently that...

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Exhibit A of the Guantanamo Failure Resumes This Week

(1) Comments | Posted August 10, 2014 | 6:16 PM

As the United States considers engaging in yet another war, with the start of air strikes Friday in Iraq, let's not forget we're still stuck with the remnants of an old one. The U.S. still has some 32,000 troops fighting in Afghanistan, though we don't hear much about...

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The FBI's Secret Investigation of the 9/11 Defense Teams: The Mystery Continues, and Could Compromise the Case

(0) Comments | Posted June 16, 2014 | 4:15 PM

It was all sounding very cloak-and-dagger.

"I don't know what I don't know," claimed Cheryl Bormann, lead defense lawyer for Walid bin Attash, covered in a floor-length black abaya. "I don't know that those are the facts."

Bormann was referring to speculation Monday morning by some of the other...

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Another Terrorism Conviction, Another Reminder It's Time to Close Guantanamo

(19) Comments | Posted May 19, 2014 | 7:36 PM

On Monday, a New York jury convicted the one-eyed, hook-limbed Sheikh Abu Hamza al Masri on charges arising from the deadly 1998 kidnappings of 16 American, British and Australian tourists in Yemen, and an attempt to start a terrorist training camp in Oregon in 2000. The jury took...

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Bin Laden Relative Could Be Held Responsible for Deaths of Thousands

(2) Comments | Posted March 21, 2014 | 3:52 PM

When Osama bin Laden's son-in-law was arrested last year, Obama critics like Senator Mitch McConnell (R- Ky.) were outraged. "He is an enemy combatant and should be held in military custody," McConnell said last February. Senators Lindsey Graham (R- S.C.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) similarly chimed in that...

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The Trial of Bin Laden's Son-in-Law and Why Not to Torture a Terrorist

(0) Comments | Posted March 14, 2014 | 6:20 PM

Sniping between lawmakers and the CIA over a report on the U.S. torture of terror suspects reached a fever pitch this week, as Senator Dianne Feinstein accused the CIA of spying on her intelligence committee as it was investigating the agency's activities. But even as the infamous Senate...

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Pentagon Top Brass Should Explain How This War Will End

(8) Comments | Posted February 24, 2014 | 6:02 PM

This week, senior Pentagon officials and nominees for top defense policy posts will testify in Congress about the state of the U.S. armed forces and where national defense policy goes from here. As we enter the final two years of President Obama's second term, they should be telling us how...

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The News Is What the New Gitmo Hearings Don't Tell Us

(1) Comments | Posted January 28, 2014 | 5:51 PM

You probably won't hear much about the new hearings taking place for many of the remaining 155 detainees at Guantanamo Bay, even though, starting Tuesday, they were supposed to be made "public." That's not just because the president's State of the Union speech will eclipse much of the...

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9/11 Families Deserve a Real Trial, Too

(1) Comments | Posted January 7, 2014 | 5:32 PM

If you happened to be braving the bitter cold near the federal courthouse in Manhattan Tuesday morning, you probably didn't notice anything unusual. Although Osama bin Laden's son-in-law and alleged al Qaeda spokesman, Suleiman Abu Ghayth, was scheduled to appear at a hearing inside, there was no obvious sign of...

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9/11 Case Stalls for Mental Competency Hearing

(2) Comments | Posted December 19, 2013 | 11:05 AM

After Ramzi Bin al Shibh four times objected in court this week to the noisiness of his prison cell at night, the judge presiding over the September 11 military commission case on Thursday ordered he undergo a mental competency examination and stalled the case.

The case of the...

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Guantanamo Prison Commander Previously Ran U.S. Detention in Somalia

(2) Comments | Posted December 18, 2013 | 3:22 PM

When Col. John Bogdan took the witness stand Wednesday morning in the military commission hearing at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, he'd been called to testify about the strict limits he's imposed on defense attorneys' visits with their death penalty clients. The attorneys representing the five defendants accused of masterminding the September...

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9/11 Defendant Ejected From Court (Twice) After Protesting Prison Conditions

(5) Comments | Posted December 17, 2013 | 12:23 PM

This post has been updated.

The judge presiding over the 9/11 case at the Guantanamo military hearings had one of the five co-defendants forcibly removed from the courtroom after he objected that he was being deprived of his right to meaningfully participate in his case.


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Qaeda Suspect Should Be Transferred to the U.S. for Trial

(32) Comments | Posted October 10, 2013 | 6:08 PM

The capture of alleged al-Qaeda operative Abu Anas al-Libi by American forces last weekend in Tripoli raises a range of troubling questions. But the answer to one of them -- what to do with him now -- is clear. He should be transferred to a civilian court in the United...

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Government Shuts Down But Dysfunctional Military Commissions Continue

(2) Comments | Posted October 2, 2013 | 3:18 PM

A little government shut-down wasn't going to deter Army Colonel James Pohl. While most federal employees were furloughed, the judge presiding over the 9/11 case at the Guantanamo Bay military commissions on Tuesday insisted the pre-trial hearings continue apace despite Pentagon computer malfunctions that have compromised defense lawyers' confidentiality obligations...

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Gitmo Logistics & DoD Computer Mess Likely to Delay 9/11 Case

(10) Comments | Posted September 20, 2013 | 4:45 PM

Witnesses provided more details of the Defense Department's computer mess-ups and confidentiality breaches in the 9/11 hearings on Friday, and defense lawyers renewed their request to delay the hearings until those problems could be resolved.

Defense lawyers have also asked the judge not to hold monthly hearings...

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Testimony Reveals Shocking Level of Pentagon Computer Errors Affecting 9/11 Legal Defense

(8) Comments | Posted September 18, 2013 | 2:09 PM

In testimony that revealed one shocking level of incompetence after another, the Chief Defense Counsel for the Guantanamo military commissions described Wednesday how Pentagon computer problems led to the loss of hundreds of thousands of defense team files, the disappearance of innumerable defense counsel e-mail messages, and the search of...

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