The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) on Thursday released unredacted transcripts of detainees at the Guantánamo Bay military prison describing the torture they were subjected to while held at various secret CIA prisons around the world.
The documents, released in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed by the ACLU, reveal detainee testimony during a series of tribunals that aimed to determine whether Guantánamo prisoners qualified as "enemy combatants."
In one document, the high-profile prisoner Majid Khan—the only known legal U.S. resident being held in the American military prison—describes his experience:
So when I came to this cell, they pulled my hands up and cuffed them, so I won’t be able to kneel down and get rest for straight three days, meaning I was standing for three days. And then they took my clothes off and took me to the bathroom and dipped me in full ice and ice water tub. And then they hanged me back again, and this time they would throw cold water on me after ever few hours and right next to me they would turn fan. So days pass like this for straight three days. The worst in all, when this whole thing was happening, American women was there watching. To me, as a Muslim, it was worse than torture itself.
Also among the detainees is Abu Zubaydah, who was abducted in Pakistan and transferred to U.S. authorities in 2002 and has remained at the Guantánamo Bay military prison since 2006 without trial. Zubaydah said:
They shackle me completely, even my head: I can't do anything. Like this and they put one cloth in my mouth and they put water, water, water. Last point before I die they stand [via Language Analyst] bed they make like this [making breathing noises] again and again they make it with me and I tell him "If you want to kill me, kill me."
ACLU deputy legal director Jameel Jaffer said, "There is something uniquely powerful about the voices of the prisoners themselves, which is presumably why the CIA suppressed them for so long."
"The transcripts highlight both the cruelty of the CIA's practices and the humanity of those who were subjected to them," he said.
The documents come just days after the CIA published dozens of documents revealing the details of its torture and rendition program during the Bush administration. Those files, also released in response to an ACLU lawsuit, exposed not just the brutal treatment of detainees but also the agency's plan to ask the U.S. Department of Justice to shield interrogators from prosecution.