US media provide first public account of CIA torture to Pakistani detainee in US court

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Majid Khan, a Pakistani inmate at the infamous US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, who was brutally interrogated in secret US government prisons, first described in court the CIA’s intense abusive tactics that he endured, according to several American media.

NEW YORK, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News – October 30, 2021): Majid Khan, a Pakistani inmate at the infamous Guantanamo Bay military prison in the United States, who was brutally interrogated in secret US government prisons described for the first time in court the intense CIA abuse tactics he endured, according to several US media reports.

Khan, 41, a legal resident of the United States who lived in Baltimore and became al-Qaeda’s messenger, spoke to a military jury on Thursday about force-feeding and enemas, waterboarding and other physical and sexual abuse to which it was subjected from 2003 to 2006 in CIA offices abroad. prison network, according to reports.

He is the very first former prisoner of secret CIA prisons, known as “black sites”, to openly describe the inhumane “enhanced interrogation techniques” that officers used to obtain information and confessions from suspects in the world. terrorism and which officially ended in 2009.

Majid Khan said interrogators began torturing him shortly after his capture in March 2003 in Pakistan, although he cooperated and told them everything he knew.

“Instead, the more I cooperated, the more I was tortured,” he told The New York Times.

Some of Khan’s accounts were included in a 2014 Senate Intelligence Committee report that accused the CIA of torturing al Qaeda prisoners far beyond legal limits with little evidence that the techniques of interrogation produced useful information.

Reading a 39-page account on Thursday, Khan described being beaten, starved, hung naked from the ceiling with a balaclava over his head for long periods of time, shackled in a way that kept him awake for days and kept under the hood. ‘water until he is almost drowned. .

“I thought I was going to die,” he said.

His account did not identify agents from the CIA or other countries or foreign intelligence agencies who participated in his secret detention, as this information is protected by the national security court, according to reports.

“I begged them to stop and swear I didn’t know anything,” he said, as reported by National Public Radio (NPR). “If I had had intelligence to give, I would have given it already, but I had nothing to give.” Khan spoke at the premiere of what is expected to be a two-day sentencing hearing at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, where a panel of military officers can sentence him to between 25 and 40 years in prison.

He is expected to serve a much shorter sentence due to cooperation with US officials and a secret plea deal, according to reports. The deal will reduce Khan’s sentence to a maximum of 11 years, with credit for time already spent in custody since his guilty plea in February 2012.

Khan arrived in Maryland at the age of 16 when his family moved and was granted asylum in the 1990s.

He graduated from a high school in suburban Baltimore and worked for a telecommunications contractor in the Washington, DC area around the time of the 9/11 attacks.

Khan said he was radicalized after his mother’s death earlier in 2001 and during a family trip to Pakistan in 2002, his relatives showed him “propaganda videos” about the detention center in Guantanamo.

He apologized for his actions, claiming full responsibility, and said he had forgiven his captors and torturers and just wanted to find his wife and daughter born while in detention.

His father cried for long periods of description, sometimes hiding his head in his hands, while his sister, also in tears, tried to comfort him. The jury of Navy, Navy and Army officers watched, but showed no emotion, according to the New York Times.

He was beaten while naked and spent long periods in chains – sometimes chained to a wall and crouched “like a dog,” he said, or with his arms extended high above his body. head and chained to a beam inside his cell. He was kept in the dark and dragged, hooded and shackled, his head banging against the floor, walls and stairs as he moved from cell to cell.

Before the CIA moved him from one prison to another, he said, a doctor inserted an enema and then put it in a diaper held in place with duct tape so he didn’t have to. no need for a toilet break during flights. The guards who moved him hid him, apart from the time when he had his face taped.

While being held in a Muslim country, he said, his captors allowed him to pray. But sometimes Americans didn’t, The Times reported.

Earlier accounts published by his attorneys stated that he had been so deprived of sleep for a time that he began to hallucinate. He described the experience: images of a cow and a giant lizard advancing on him inside a cell as he was chained to a beam above his head. He tried to push them back but lost his balance causing his chains to jerk.

Khan drew attention with the publication of a 2014 study of the CIA program by the Senate Intelligence Committee that after refusing to eat, his captors “infused” a mash from his lunch into his anus . The CIA called it rectal refeeding. Khan called it rape.

The CIA pumped water into the rectum of prisoners who did not follow orders to drink. Khan said it was done to him with “green garden hoses. They connected one end to the faucet, put the other in my rectum and turned on the water.” He said he lost control of his bowels after these episodes and, to this day, has hemorrhoids.

He spoke of failed and sadistic responses to his hunger strikes and other acts of rebellion. Doctors roughly inserted a feeding tube into his nose and down the back of his throat. He was trying to bite him and in at least one case, he said, a CIA officer used a plunger to force food into his stomach, a technique that caused stomach cramps and pain. diarrhea.

The intelligence agency on Thursday declined to comment on the descriptions offered at the hearing, but noted that the CIA’s detention and interrogation program ended in 2009.

Lawyers have asked for permission to bring Khan’s wife and daughter, born after his capture, to court, but the commander of the Army’s Southern Command, which oversees prison operations, objected to their presence. , according to the Times. Like Khan, who acquired permanent resident status as a boy in the United States but never became a United States citizen, his wife and daughter are citizens of Pakistan.

Mr Khan began by telling the jury that he was born in Saudi Arabia and raised in Pakistan, the youngest of eight siblings, until his father bought a gas station in Maryland and moved out. family in the United States at the age of 16.

He then graduated from a high school in suburban Baltimore and worked for a telecommunications contractor who ran the Pentagon phone system at the time of the 9/11 attacks.

He described the attacks and the death of his mother a few months earlier in 2001 as a turning point in his life.

Until then, he said, he had straddled two worlds: his traditional Pakistani family life and that of an American teenager. After his mother died, he said, he was drawn to practicing Islam.

He rejected the explanation that the Muslims carried out the attack, “thinking it was just another way for the universe to hit me while I was down, causing me to question my faith in it. ‘Islam”. During a family trip to Pakistan in 2002 – during which he and his sister found spouses in arranged marriages – he met relatives, cousins ​​and an uncle who had joined the jihad in Afghanistan and had ties to Al Qaeda.

“I was lost and vulnerable, and they pursued me,” he said, including showing him “propaganda videos” about the detention operation at Guantanamo, the base where he would be transferred to be. tried in 2006.

“I gladly went to Al Qaeda,” he said. “I was stupid, unbelievably stupid. But they promised to ease my pain and cleanse my sins. They promised to redeem me, and I believed them,” Khan told The Times.


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