For Immediate Release
Reprieve's London office can be contacted on: communications [at] reprieve.org.uk / +44 (0) 207 553 8140. Reprieve US, based in New York City, can be contacted on Katherine [dot] oshea [at] reprieve.org
CIA Torture Report: Reaction from Libyan Tortured and Rendered Along with Pregnant Wife
LONDON - The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) has today voted to declassify their report on the CIA’s unlawful torture program.
Abdelhakim Belhadj, a Libyan anti-Gaddafi dissident who was rendered and tortured – along with his pregnant wife, Fatima Boudchar – in a CIA-MI6 operation in 2004, has expressed his relief.
Mr Belhaj said: “My wife and I welcome the decision to declassify this report. She and I were tortured at a CIA black site in Bangkok before being shipped to one of Gaddafi's most notorious prisons. At the time my wife was several months pregnant. We have promised one another not to rest until we find justice - not for vengeance' sake, but for the sake of the new democracy we fought so hard for.”
The couple were detained in China in February 2004 and flown to Bangkok, where they were held by US agents. Ms Boudchar, despite her pregnancy, was chained to a wall and later taped tightly to a stretcher, blindfolded and hooded. Mr Belhadj was held in a ‘black site,’ where he was repeatedly beaten, hung from the wall and subjected to sleep deprivation. Eventually, both were ‘rendered’ to Gaddafi’s Libya where Mr Belhadj, as an opponent of the dictator, faced years of imprisonment and torture.
Reprieve US Counsel Alka Pradhan said: “We cannot learn from history unless we know what it is. It is well past time for the CIA to be held publicly accountable for its disastrous mistakes in the so-called 'War on Terror'. After years of CIA deceit, the White House must allow the American people to judge for themselves whether the crimes committed in our name were justified. President Obama can now deliver on his promise of transparency, by declassifying not only the Executive Summary but the full report into what went wrong at the CIA."
Notes to Editors
1. Reprieve is now calling for the following steps to begin reconciliation with those who have been abused in our name:
The White House must declassify the Executive Summary; the American people must understand why the CIA's use of torture was illegal, unnecessary and counter-productive.
Congress and the White House must declassify the full report, including details of every single victim, and help facilitate justice for those men still suffering in US detention.
The US government must apologize unreservedly to those tortured in our name.
2. Reprieve US opened in New York City in February 2014. A partner organization to Reprieve UK, Reprieve US provides advocacy and litigation aimed at stopping abuses in the death penalty and in counter-terrorism.
For information about the work of Reprieve US please visit reprieve.org or contact Katherine O’Shea on email@example.com or +1 917 855 8064.
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Reprieve is a UK-based human rights organization that uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay.