Rick Kammen ’68 releases new book, is interviewed on NPR about prisoners at Guantanamo Bay

Richard Kammen ’68, of Hilton Head, South Carolina, and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, was interviewed March 30 on National Public Radio. The interview can be heard here and addresses the CIA’s torture program that continues to have huge implications at the U.S. military court and prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where 40 accused terrorists are still being held.

During his career, Kammen was one of the premier death penalty lawyers in the United States. For 10 years he led a team of military and civilian lawyers representing an individual facing the death penalty at Guantánamo Bay.

The new movie “The Report” opened March 31 and tells the true story of a U.S. Senate staffer who doggedly investigated the CIA’s use of torture after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Because of the use of torture to obtain information, Guantánamo prisoners may never come to trial. Evidence obtained through torture is rarely admissible in court, and at a public trial the identities of the torturers could be revealed, and “the CIA absolutely does not want that to happen,” Kammen told NPR.

Kammen is the former lead defense attorney for Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, charged with orchestrating the October 2000 USS Cole naval warship bombing and held at Guantánamo for 13 years. He said the reality of the torture program “is far more brutal and far worse than what is known to the public. As a criminal defense lawyer, I thought my ability to be shocked was pretty high, and yet some of the things I’ve seen and read are genuinely breathtaking and horrifying.”

Kammen also has taken his experience to write a book, “Tortured Justice, Guantánamo Bay,” which was published in January and is available on amazon.com. Inspired by Kammen’s own experiences, his main character, also an attorney, finds himself involved in some fascinating but very tough cases. After 18 months of negotiations, various governmental agencies have approved publication of this book as “fiction.”

At Ripon, Kammen majored in economics and politics and government.

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