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British Detainee's Tale of US 'Torture by Proxy'
Published on Tuesday, August 2, 2005 by the Guardian / UK
British Detainee's Tale of US 'Torture by Proxy'
by
 

A west London man claims he is a victim of the US alleged "torture by proxy" policy, and has given the first account of abuse he says is inflicted on "ghost detainees" around the world.

Benyam Mohammed, 26, is accused of planning al-Qaida attacks. He says he spent 2½ years in prisons in Pakistan, Morocco and Afghanistan before being taken to Guantánamo. During that time, he says, he was subjected to physical and mental torture. He also says he was questioned by American and British intelligence agents he believes to be FBI and MI6 officers

Mr Mohammed is accused of plotting to explode a "dirty bomb" in a US city - which he denies - as well as planning to blow up apartments.

Among allegations of torture in a dossier by his lawyer are being beaten, having his genitals slashed, and being forced to listen to loud rock music for long periods. He left London for Afghanistan "to find out whether it was a good Islamic country or not", and was arrested in Pakistan in 2002. He says he was flown to Morocco on a US plane and tortured in a secret prison.

One diary extract tells how four men entered his cell: "They cut off my clothes with some kind of doctor's scalpel. I was naked. I tried to put on a brave face ...One took my penis in his hand and began to make cuts. He did it once, and they stood still for maybe a minute, watching my reaction. I was in agony. They must have done this 20 to 30 times, in maybe two hours. There was blood all over. 'I told you I was going to teach you who's the man,' [one] eventually said."

His claims cannot be independently verified, and some groups affiliated to al-Qaida are believed to be taught to make allegations of torture. But his account of a prison near Rabat tallies with the Temara torture centre identified by the US organisation Human Rights Watch. The Guardian has obtained records showing CIA jets flew in and out of Morocco on the dates he specifies.

The Foreign Office said the UK "unreservedly condemns" torture and would never allow the intelligence services to use it. US and Moroccan authorities did not return calls. The CIA declined to comment.

© 2005 Guardian Newspapers Ltd. UK

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