Guantanamo detainee details his tortures at the hands of the CIA

He lived through hell for three years. A Pakistani detainee at the Guantanamo military prison detailed the torture he suffered for three years at the hands of the CIA, during his trial before a military court which sentenced him to 26 years in detention on Friday, a verdict which could allow him to be released next year.

Former al-Qaeda messenger Majid Khan, 41, spared military judges no detail when he told them on Thursday that he was beaten, sexually assaulted and mock drowning after his capture in Pakistan in 2003. A US Senate investigation into the use of torture by the CIA after the September 11, 2001 attacks corroborates his testimony, but he is the first detainee to publicly recount his tortures at the hands of the US intelligence agency.

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

Forced enemas

Tossed between 2003 and 2006 between several secret sites, he described brutal interrogations, plunged the hooded face in baths of ice water, the head held under water until he speaks. “They beat me until I begged them to stop. The worst part was not knowing when the blows were going to come, or where they 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, leaving 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 inserted tubes and objects into my anus. “

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“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 admitted to having participated in an attempted assassination of the Pakistani president and to having given $ 50,000 to members of Al-Qaeda in Indonesia, an amount which had financed an attack on a hotel.

“Whenever 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.

” I forgive you “

Majid Khan arrived at the age of 16 in Baltimore, 31 miles 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. “I have been detained and held in solitary for almost 20 years, 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 26 years in 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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