Thursday, January 06, 2005|
Australian Gitmo detainee says US transfered him to Egypt for torture
Bernard Hibbitts at 4:51 PM ET
[JURIST] Military lawyers for an Australian detainee held at Guantanamo Bay Cuba have said in court papers that their client, originally detained by the US in Pakistan in the wake of the September 11 terror attacks, was later tranfered to US authorities in Egypt who subjected him to torture by beating, electric shock, and near-drowning. Mamdouh Habib, 46, was born in Egypt, but later became a resident of Sydney. His lawyers claimed that after being captured near the Afghan border he was sent to Egypt with the knowledge and expectation that we would be tortured there. He was later removed to Baghram air base in Afghanistan and then sent to Guantanamo. The Australian TV program Dateline highlighted Habib's case and his alleged torture in a program broadcast in July 2004, during which lawyer and former Qatari Justice Minister Dr Najeeb al-Naumi talked about what he had been told had happened to Habib:
REPORTER: Tell me more specifically what you were told from your sources about what happened to Mamdouh Habib in Egypt.
DR HAJEEB AL-NAUMI: Well, he was in fact tortured. He was interrogated in a way which a human cannot stand up.
REPORTER: And you know this absolutely?
DR HAJEEB AL-NAUMI: Yes. We were told that he - they rang the bell that he will die and somebody had to help him.
REPORTER: And again, did your sources tell you what kinds of things he was saying in Egypt to his torturers, to his interrogators?
DR HAJEEB AL-NAUMI: My sources did not say exactly what dialogue but they say that he accepted to sign anything.
REPORTER: So he was talking lots?
DR HAJEEB AL-NAUMI: Yes - "Whatever you want, I will sign. I'm not involved. I'm not Egyptian. I'm Egyptian by background but I'm Australian." But he was really beaten, he was really tortured.
REPORTER: Do you think...
DR HAJEEB AL-NAUMI: They tried to use different ways of treating him in the beginning but in the end of that they thought he was lying and that's why they were very tough.
Read the full Dateline transcript here. The court papers were filed in November but only released Wednesday. The Washington Post has more. Habib has also claimed that an Australian consular official was present in Pakistan when was abused while being put on a flight to Egypt; the Australian Attorney General Thursday denied that any Australian official witnessed any abuse. Friday's Australian has more. Complaints that US authorities have transferred prisoners and terror suspects to foreign locations where they could and would be tortured have recently been made in several contexts, most notably perhaps in the case of Canadian Maher Arar, who in September 2002 was stopped in transit on his way home from Tunisia and sent to Syria, where he was tortured.
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