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Lawyers: Bush Slay Plot Suspect Tortured

Associated Press | May 20 2005

ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- Two doctors who examined a Virginia man accused of joining al-Qaida and plotting to assassinate President Bush have concluded that he was tortured while in Saudi custody, according to defense lawyers.

The torture resulted in Ahmed Omar Abu Ali giving a false confession to Saudi authorities, according to the lawyers, who are seeking to have the statement thrown out.

"The physical and psychological abuse that Abu Ali suffered over a two-year period critically impaired his capacity for self-determination and overcame his will," wrote defense lawyer Ashraf Nubani. "It resulted in him making involuntary, false statements to alleviate his suffering and appease his interrogators."

Federal prosecutors have consistently denied that Abu Ali was tortured.

Nubani also accused the U.S. government of complicity in the Saudis' alleged torture of Abu Ali.

The court filings do not include details of the doctors' examinations of Abu Ali, who has said he has the scars on his back as proof of whippings.

But a defense motion indicates that the doctors hired by the defense -- Allen Keller, a professor at New York University and director of the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture; and Lynne Gaby, a psychiatrist at George Washington University -- concluded that Abu Ali had been physically and psychologically tortured.

Abu Ali, 24, of Falls Church, is accused of joining al-Qaida while attending college in Saudi Arabia in 2001. The government contends that he discussed numerous possible attacks, including plans to assassinate Bush or members of Congress.

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