Saturday, February 12, 2005

RAYMOND BONNER has a piece in the New York Times today about Mamdouh Habib, the Australian citizen who was released recently from Guantanamo along with two British detainees. Habib was arrested in Pakistan shortly after 9/11 and was held, by the U.S. government, for 40 months, without charges, in Pakistan, Egypt, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo.

Back home now, Mr. Habib alleges that at every step of his detention - from Pakistan, to Egypt, to Afghanistan, to Guantánamo - he was tortured physically and psychologically.

The physical abuse, he said, ranged from a kick "that nearly killed me" to electric shocks administered through a wired helmet that he said interrogators told him could detect whether he was lying.
The Bush administration, by proxy via Habib's torturers, demanded that he admit to having trained with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. He did so admit, after extensive torture, but he says his confession was not genuine. "Whatever they wanted me to sign," he said, "I signed to survive."

The falsity of his confession would seem to be confirmed by the fact that U.S. officials never charged him with any crime.

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