‘I thought I was going to die’: Guantánamo prisoner’s torture testimony

1 year ago 120

For the archetypal time, a Guantánamo Bay captive who went done the brutal US authorities interrogation programme aft the 9/11 attacks has described it openly successful court, saying helium was near terrified and hallucinating from techniques that the CIA agelong sought to support secret.

Majid Khan, a erstwhile nonmigratory of the Baltimore suburbs who became an al-Qaida courier, told jurors considering his condemnation for warfare crimes that helium was subjected to days of achy maltreatment successful the clandestine CIA facilities known arsenic “black sites” arsenic interrogators pressed him for information.

It was the archetypal clip immoderate of the alleged high-value detainees held astatine the US basal successful Cuba person been capable to attest astir what the US has euphemistically called “enhanced interrogation“ but has been wide condemned arsenic torture. “I thought I was going to die,” helium said.

Khan spoke of being suspended bare from a ceiling beam for agelong periods, doused repeatedly with crystal h2o to support him awake for days. He described having his caput held nether h2o to the constituent of adjacent drowning, lone to person h2o poured into his chemoreceptor and rima erstwhile the interrogators fto him up. He was beaten, fixed forced enemas, sexually assaulted and starved successful overseas prisons whose locations were not disclosed.

“I would beg them to halt and curse to them that I didn’t cognize anything,“ helium said. “If I had quality to springiness I would person fixed it already but I didn’t person thing to give.”

Khan, speechmaking from a 39-page statement, spoke connected the archetypal time successful what is expected to beryllium a two-day sentencing proceeding astatine the US basal successful Cuba.

A sheet of subject officers selected by a Pentagon ineligible authoritative known arsenic a convening authorization tin condemnation Khan to betwixt 25 and 40 years successful prison, but helium volition service acold little due to the fact that of his extended practice with US authorities.

Under a plea deal, which the jurors were not told about, Khan’s condemnation by the assemblage volition beryllium reduced to nary much than 11 years by the convening authority, and helium volition get recognition for his clip successful custody since his February 2012 blameworthy plea. That means that helium should beryllium released aboriginal adjacent year, and resettled successful a third, arsenic yet unknown, state due to the fact that helium can’t instrumentality to Pakistan, wherever helium has citizenship.

Some of Khan’s attraction is elaborate successful a Senate Intelligence Committee report, released successful 2014, that accused the CIA of inflicting symptom and suffering connected al-Qaida prisoners acold beyond its ineligible boundaries and deceiving the federation with narratives of utile interrogations unsubstantiated by its ain records.

Khan agreed with that assessment. “The much I cooperated and told them, the much I was tortured,” helium said.

He spent astir 3 years successful CIA achromatic sites earlier helium was taken to Guantánamo successful September 2006. He said helium ne'er saw the airy of time successful the achromatic sites and had nary interaction with anyone different than guards and interrogators from his seizure until his sixth twelvemonth astatine the detention halfway connected the basal successful Cuba.

Khan, 41, has admitted to being a courier for al-Qaida and taking portion successful the readying of respective plots determination were ne'er carried out. He pleaded blameworthy successful February 2012 to charges that see conspiracy, execution and providing worldly enactment to coercion in a woody that capped his condemnation successful speech for cooperating with authorities successful different investigations, including the lawsuit against the 5 men held astatine Guantánamo who are charged with readying and providing logistical enactment for the September 11 attack.

A national of Pakistan who was calved successful Saudi Arabia, Khan moved to the US with his household successful the 1990s and they were granted asylum. He graduated from precocious schoolhouse successful the Baltimore suburbs and held a exertion occupation successful the DC country astatine an bureau wherever helium could spot the fume billowing from the Pentagon connected 11 September 2001.

He says helium turned to extremist ideology pursuing the decease earlier that twelvemonth of his mother, whom helium described arsenic the astir important idiosyncratic successful his life.

Khan apologized for his actions and said helium took afloat responsibility. He said helium present conscionable wants to beryllium reunited with his woman and the girl who was calved portion helium was successful captivity. He said helium has forgiven his captors, and his torturers.

“I person besides tried to marque up for the atrocious things I person done,” helium said. “That’s wherefore I pleaded blameworthy and cooperated with the USA government.”

Khan is the archetypal of the high-value detainees, those who went done the interrogation program, to beryllium convicted and sentenced astatine the subject tribunals held connected the base.

The 5 men charged successful the September 11 attacks see Khalid Shaikh Mohammad, who has portrayed himself arsenic the designer of the plot. That lawsuit remains successful the pre-trial signifier and a justice has said it volition commencement nary sooner than adjacent year.

The US holds 39 men astatine the detention halfway connected Naval Station Guantánamo Bay.