‘The more I cooperated, the more I was tortured’
A Guantanamo Bay prisoner held in the aftermath of the 9/11 attack gave a first hand account of the US regering’s brutal interrogation programme, which included sexual assault and forced feedings.
Majid Khan, 41, a former resident of the suburbs of Baltimore who later became an al-Qaeda courier, gave a detailed account of the brutal forced feedings and physical and sexual abuse that he was subjected to in the overseas prison network of CIA tussen 2003 en 2006.
Also the first high-value detainee to have gone public with what is known as CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” techniques, Khan told a Guantanamo court that he was left terrified and hallucinating from the painful abuse he endured at CIA’s clandestine facilities known as “black sites.”
“I thought I was going to die,” he told the jurors on Thursday.
In his two hours long address, he spoke about being suspended naked from a ceiling beam for days, being intentionally nearly drowned in water, interrogators pouring water in his nose and mouth, being beaten, starved and given forced enemas in overseas prisons whose locations were not disclosed.
“I would beg them to stop and swear to them that I didn’t know anything,” hy het gesê. “If I had intelligence to give I would have given it already but I didn’t have anything to give.”
Khan said that soon after being captured in Pakistan in March 2003, he told his captors everything he knew, in the hope that they would release him. “Instead, the more I cooperated, the more I was tortured.”
A jury of eight US military officers will convene on Friday to decide on the sentence in the range of 25 aan 40 years starting from his guilty plea in February 2012. But the sentence is largely symbolic, berig New York Times, adding that it is a military commission requirement.
Khan would be required to serve no more than 11 jare, as unknown to the jurors, he had reached a deal with the Pentagon this year. Under this, he would be released by the end of February and in another three years, he would be resettled in a third country as he cannot return to Pakistan.
Khan had pleaded guilty to the charges of terrorism, including murder in violation of the law of war and had admitted to delivering $50,000 of al-Qaeda money from Pakistan to an al-Qaeda affiliate in 2003, berig die NOU.
This money was then used in the Marriott hotel bombing of August 2003. According to the paper, he did not know how the money would be used at the time.
Khan’s torture and abuse was also detailed in a 2014 Senate Intelligence Committee report, which did a detailed enquiry about CIA inflicting physical pain beyond the legally acceptable boundaries. According to the report, when Khan refuse to eat, his captor “infused” a puree of his lunch through his anus, berig die NOU. The CIA called it rectal re-feeding but Khan called it rape.
While the agency on Thursday declined to comment on the description offered in the hearing, it said that the detention and interrogation programme was stopped in 2009.
A citizen of Pakistan, Khan, 41, was born in Saudi Arabia. He came to the US with his family in the 1990s.
Die 9/11 attacks and the demise of his mother in 2001 was a turning point in his life, hy het gesê.
Till then, he lived two different worlds of a traditional Pakistani family life and that of an American teenager. It was after his mother’s death that he was drawn to practicing Islam, he was quoted as saying by NOU.
He said that it was during his 2002 trip to Pakistan, when he encountered cousins and relatives who had already had ties to al-Qaeda.
“I was lost and vulnerable, and they went after me," hy het gesê, adding that they showed him “propaganda videos”, reported the paper.
In the carefully worded 39-page account, he apologised for his actions. “I have also tried to make up for the bad things I have done," hy het gesê. “That’s why I pleaded guilty and cooperated with the USA government.”
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