More Allegations of Torture at Gitmo

I missed this one when it came out last week (alterted via Ken Sain):

Swede reignites Guantanamo Bay torture fears. In his first interviews to the Swedish media, Mehdi Ghezali said US interrogators subjected him to a string of abuses, including being shackled for hours, sleep deprivation, no contact with the outside world, being forced to endure cold temperatures for up to 14 hours at a time and attempts to humiliate him sexually.

“There was always psychological torture, but the last month they used more physical torture,” Mr Ghezali told Swedish Radio.

His claims are in line with accounts from other Guantanamo detainees who have been released.

Swedish Radio's correspondent described Mr Ghezali as withdrawn, solemn and tired.

A devout Muslim, Mr Ghezali insisted he was not involved in terrorist activities.

“I don't think they would have released me if I were,” he told the radio.

He said he was arrested in December 2001 in Pakistan and turned over to US authorities who shipped him to Guantanamo in January 2002.

He claimed he was visiting a friend in Pakistan when local villagers captured him and sold him to Pakistani police, who then handed him over to the US.

Mr Ghezali said he was interrogated daily by US guards, but stopped answering their questions after the first six months. He said he remained silent for the next two years.

One time, the guards brought an American woman into his cell to try to get him to have sex with her.

“They tried to make me lose my faith. Maybe they wanted to use it against me so I would cooperate,” he said.

The only physical traces Mr Ghezali has from his detention are teeth in poor condition and the loss of feeling in part of his left foot after an ankle chain was clamped too tight.

There is indeed a striking consistency to the stories released detainees are telling. I suppose someone will suggest some sort of common plan or purpose on their part, but given the extent to which the detainees are kept isolated while being held that seems very unlikely.

An almost amusing footnote to this story is the Swedish public's annoyed reaction to the $67,425 cost of flying Mehdi-Muhammed Ghezali home.

Apparently, the US required a special flight direct from Gitmo, rather than taking him to, say, Miami and letting him board a commercial flight. (I imagine one reason for this is to prevent any detainee from setting foot in the US, with all the jurisdictional consequences that implies.)

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