For Immediate Release
Newly Released Detainee Statements Provide More Evidence Of CIA Torture Program
CIA Continues To Suppress Information From Detainee Tribunals With Heavy Redactions
NEW YORK - The
CIA today released still-highly redacted documents in which Guantánamo
Bay prisoners describe abuse and torture they suffered in CIA custody.
The documents were released as part of an American Civil Liberties
Union Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit seeking uncensored
transcripts from Combatant Status Review Tribunals (CSRTs) that
determine if prisoners held by the Defense Department at Guantánamo
qualify as "enemy combatants." In previously released versions of the
documents, the CIA had removed virtually all references to the abuse of
prisoners in their custody; the documents released today are still
heavily blacked out but include some new information.
"The documents released today
provide further evidence of brutal torture and abuse in the CIA's
interrogation program and demonstrate beyond doubt that this
information has been suppressed solely to avoid embarrassment and
growing demands for accountability," said Ben Wizner, a staff attorney
with the ACLU National Security Project and lead attorney on the FOIA
lawsuit. "There is no legitimate basis for the Obama administration's
continued refusal to disclose allegations of detainee abuse, and we
will return to court to seek the full release of these documents."
The newly unredacted information
includes statements from the CSRTs of former CIA detainees, including
Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, Abd Al Rahim Hussein Mohammed Al Nashiri, Abu
Zubaydah and Majid Khan, including descriptions of torture and
coercion. These statements include:
Abu Zubaydah: "After months of suffering and torture, physically and
mentally, they did not care about my injuries that they inflicted to my
eye, to my stomach, to my bladder, and my left thigh and my
reproductive organs. They didn't care that I almost died from these
injuries. Doctors told me that I nearly died four times." "They say
‘this in your diary.' They say ‘see you want to make operation against
America.' I say no, the idea is different. They say no, torturing,
torturing. I say ‘okay, I do. I was decide to make operation.'"
• Al Nashiri: "[And, they used to] drown me in water."
• Muhammad: "This is what I
understand he [CIA interrogator] told me: you are not American and you
are not on American soil. So you cannot ask about the Constitution."
• Khan: "In the end, any classified information you have is through…agencies who physically and mentally tortured me."
"The information released today
sheds some new light on the CIA's torture program, but there are still
unanswered questions," said Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU
National Security Project. "The Obama administration should make good
on its commitment to transparency, stop suppressing information about
torture and abuse and hold accountable the officials who put unlawful
policies in place."
Attorneys in this case are Wizner
and Jaffer of the ACLU National Security Project, Judy Rabinovitz and
Amrit Singh of the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project, and Arthur B.
Spitzer of the ACLU of the National Capital Area.
More information about the ACLU's CSRT FOIA, including the documents released today, is available online at: www.aclu.org/safefree/torture/
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