Drownings, ice baths, rapes … A Guantanamo detainee recounts the tortures of the CIA

the essential A Pakistani detainee in the military prison of Guantanamo detailed the torture he suffered for three years at the hands of the CIA, during his trial before a military court which sentenced Friday to 26 years of detention.

Former al-Qaeda messenger Majid Khan, 41, spared no detail to military judges when he told them on Thursday that he was beaten and assaulted sexually and subjected to mock drownings after his capture in Pakistan in 2003. A US Senate investigation into the use of torture by the CIA after the attacks of 000 September

corroborates his testimony, but he is the first detainee to publicly recount his tortures at the hands of the American intelligence agency.

In a 39 page letter read at the hearing, Majid Khan, who grew up in Pakistan before emigrating to the United States with his family, recounted being hung up by chains for days in a row, naked and without food, in windowless cells of secret CIA prisons in unidentified countries.

” I was raped by CIA medics “

Tossed between 2003 and 2006 between several secret sites, he described brutal interrogations, plunged his hooded face in water baths frozen, his head held under water until he spoke. “They beat me until I begged them to stop. The worst part was not knowing when the beating was going to come, or where it would come from.”

His interrogators threatened to attack his family in the United States and rape his sister. His glasses, without which he says he is almost blind, have been broken. “I had to wait three years before getting a new pair.” Several nights of sleep deprivation left him dazed. “I remember having hallucinations, seeing a cow and a giant lizard. I had lost all contact with reality”.

He underwent forced enemas between interrogations and was force-fed by an anal probe while on hunger strike, which left him with permanent damage. A garden hose was introduced into his anus to rehydrate him, he was told. “I was raped by CIA medics. While I was tied up, they put tubes and objects in my anus.”

“I was lying to stop the violence “

Majid Khan, who had been recruited by members of his family belonging to Al-Qaeda during a visit to Pakistan, had nevertheless confessed a few days after his capture on March 5 2003 in Karachi. He had admitted having participated in an assassination attempt on the Pakistani president and had handed over 50 000 dollars to members of Al-Qaeda in Indonesia, money that had financed an attack on a hotel. “Every time I was tortured, I told them what I thought they wanted to hear. I was lying to stop the violence,” he said. But “the more I cooperated and spoke, the more I was tortured.”

“Majid’s strong words (…) reveal the devastating atrocities committed by our own government in the name of our national security,” said one of his lawyers, Katya Jestin. “The CIA program was a failure, and it was contrary to our democratic principles and the rule of law,” she added.

” To those who tortured me: I forgive you “

Majid Khan arrived at the age of 11 in Baltimore, at 50 km from Washington, where he learned English at his father’s gas station before continuing his education at a local college. He was granted the right to publicly tell about the treatment he suffered when he pleaded guilty in 2012. He regretted his actions. “It has been almost 20 years that I have been detained and held in solitary confinement, I have paid dearly,” he said. “I reject Al-Qaeda, I reject terrorism”.

But he assured the court that he did not blame those who tortured him. “I will be at peace when I have forgiven myself and when I have forgiven others for the harm they have done to me,” he assured. “To those who tortured me: I forgive you. All”. The jury sentenced him to 20 years of detention, according to a spokesperson for the military court. But given an agreement with the judge when he pleaded guilty, he could be released next year.

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