But it appears that the government is doing everything it can to prevent a trial of Sell that would expose the record of this case.
In investigative reporting worthy of a Pulitzer Prize, Carolyn Tuft of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch revealed on Nov. 23 some of the evidence on the still-secret videos. She reported that two videotapes of Sell show him being stripped, scalded, humiliated and brutalized in a way that sounds shockingly similar to the abuse of inmates by their U.S. captors at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
Is there no accountability for this type of government misconduct? Instead of investigating and punishing the wrongdoers, federal officials are moving heaven and earth to avoid a public trial that could expose the tapes and the fact that a man has been held in prison so long without trial.
The only one in the courtroom making any sense at what should have been the final hearing before trial was Sell himself, who stood up to assert his constitutional rights. His plea was to no avail, as the judge ordered him shipped to North Carolina for yet another examination by a government psychiatrist.
By now Sell knows the game all too well, and he announced in open court that he would not submit to another sham mental evaluation. Nevertheless, he will be transported cross-country to find another government psychiatrist to deliver the desired diagnosis to save officials from public scrutiny.
We've all seen the pictures of Abu Ghraib, so why can't we see pictures of prisoner abuse in the federal prison at Springfield, Mo.? Congress should demand the immediate release of the shocking videos showing the mistreatment of Sell and also order a full accounting of the taxpayers' money spent by the government to keep a man in prison nearly eight years without trial.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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