Gitmo prisoner's diary gives glimpse of brutality

2015-01-21 06:14
(Ben Stansall, AFP)

(Ben Stansall, AFP)

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Washington - A Mauretanian held prisoner since 2002 at Guantanamo Bay has written a book released on Tuesday that unveils the brutal tactics of US interrogations in unprecedented form.

Mohamedou Ould Slahi's Guantanamo Diary gives details of his capture and ensuing torture, beatings, sleep deprivation, forced eating and drinking and despair that he would never emerge from prison.

After a years-long legal battle to get it published, Guantanamo Diary has appeared in the United States and several European countries, but only after US military censors took a heavy hand to the final version.

Slahi still gets across the point with remarkable dispassion in this passage about an interrogation, which includes censored passages represented by blanks.

"As soon as I stood up, the two _______ took off their blouses, and started to talk all kind of dirty stuff you can imagine, which I minded less.

"What hurt me most was them forcing me to take part in a sexual threesome in the most degrading manner. What many _______ don't realize is that men get hurt the same as women if they're forced to have sex, maybe more due to the traditional position of the man.

"Both _______ stuck on me, literally one on the front and the other older _______ stuck on my back rubbing ____ whole body on mine."

Slahi, now 44, has never been charged with any crimes.

He was ordered released in 2010 by US District Court Judge James Robertson, who found that the government was unable to prove at the time of his capture that he was a part of al-Qaeda.

But the Obama administration appealed the order, which is still awaiting further court action, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) which has supported his case.

Even military prosecutors have agreed there was no crime to charge Slahi with. One military prosecutor withdrew after finding Slahi's statements had resulted from torture, the ACLU said.

In the 1990s, Slahi fought in Afghanistan as part of al-Qaeda's struggle to oust the communist government - a fight that was also supported by the US. He studied engineering in Germany and also lived in Canada.

He insists he had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks on the US. But he has apparently been incriminated by other prisoners in that attack as well as in a plot to bomb the Los Angeles airport.


Slahi was arrested in Mauritania in 2001 and taken to Jordan where he was interrogated and abused for eight months. He was then sent to Bagram in Afghanistan and finally transferred to Guantanamo.

In 2009, a report by the Senate Armed Services Committee detailed the torture Slahi was subjected to.

It said Slahi was kept in isolation for months, held in a freezing cell, shackled to the floor, deprived of food, made to drink salt water, forced to stand in a room with strobe lights and heavy metal music for hours, forbidden from praying and beaten.

He was also falsely told that his mother had been arrested and was being sent to Guantanamo.

Judge Robertson found that Slahi's contacts with terrorism suspects in the decade before his capture "are too brief and shallow to serve as an independent basis for detention".

The 9/11 Commission Report had found that Slahi directed two of the hijackers and a main planner to go to Afghanistan in 1999. But Robertson said the evidence only indicated that Slahi hosted three men for one night at his home in Germany and that one of them was Ramzi Binalshibh, a key 9/11 planner also held at Guantanamo.

Some 122 people are still imprisoned in Guanatanamo Bay, a facility used to keep people suspected of terrorism following the 9/11 attacks. Most have not been charged.

US President Barack Obama has been unable to close Guantanamo - a pledge he made when he entered office in 2009 - in part because countries have been unwilling to take larger numbers of the detainees.

In addition to the US, the book has been published in England, Germany, the Netherlands, Greece, Finland, Italy, the United States, Sweden, France, Norway, Slovakia and Denmark.

Plans call for Serbian Turkish, Czech, Croatian, Polish, Russian, Japanese and Spanish editions.

Read more on:    guantanamo bay

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