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Guantanamo prisoner gives court first account of CIA abuse

FORT MEADE, MD. —
A Guantanamo Bay prisoner who went by the brutal U.S. authorities interrogation program after the 9/11 assaults described it brazenly for the primary time Thursday, saying he was left terrified and hallucinating from strategies that the CIA lengthy sought to maintain secret.

Majid Khan, a former resident of the Baltimore suburbs who turned an al-Qaida courier, advised jurors contemplating his sentence for struggle crimes how he was subjected to days of painful abuse within the clandestine CIA amenities often called “black websites,” as interrogators pressed him for data.

It was the primary time any of the so-called excessive worth detainees held on the U.S. base in Cuba have been in a position to testify about what the U.S. has euphemistically referred to as “enhanced interrogation” however has been broadly condemned as torture.

“I believed I used to be going to die,” he stated.

Khan spoke of being suspended bare from a ceiling beam for lengthy durations, doused repeatedly with ice water to maintain him awake for days. He described having his head held underneath water to the purpose of close to drowning, solely to have water poured into his nostril and mouth when the interrogators let him up. He was overwhelmed, given pressured enemas, sexually assaulted and starved in abroad prisons whose places weren’t disclosed.

“I might beg them to cease and swear to them that I did not know something,” he stated. “If I had intelligence to offer I might have given it already however I did not have something to offer.”

Khan, studying from a 39-page assertion, spoke on the primary day in what is anticipated to be a two-day sentencing listening to on the U.S. base in Cuba.

A panel of army officers chosen by a Pentagon authorized official often called a convening authority can sentence Khan to between 25 and 40 years in jail, however he’ll serve far much less due to his intensive cooperation with U.S. authorities.

Underneath a plea deal, which the jurors weren’t advised about, Khan’s sentence by the jury will likely be decreased to not more than 11 years by the convening authority, and he’ll get credit score for his time in custody since his February 2012 responsible plea.

Which means he needs to be launched early subsequent yr, resettled in a 3rd, as but unknown, nation as a result of he cannot return to Pakistan, the place he has citizenship.

A few of Khan’s therapy is detailed in a Senate Intelligence Committee report, launched in 2014, that accused the CIA of inflicting ache and struggling on al-Qaida prisoners far past its authorized boundaries and deceiving the nation with narratives of helpful interrogations unsubstantiated by its personal information.

Khan agreed with that evaluation. “The extra I cooperated and advised them, the extra I used to be tortured,” he stated.

He spent about three years in CIA black websites earlier than he was taken to Guantanamo in September 2006. He stated he by no means noticed the sunshine of day within the black websites and had no contact with anybody apart from guards and interrogators from his seize till his sixth yr on the detention centre on the bottom in Cuba.

Khan, 41, has admitted to being a courier for al-Qaida and participating within the planning of a number of plots there have been by no means carried out. He pleaded responsible in February 2012 to fees that embrace conspiracy, homicide and offering materials help to terrorism in a deal that capped his sentence in trade for cooperating with authorities in different investigations, together with the case towards the 5 males held at Guantanamo who’re charged with planning and offering logistical help for the Sept. 11 assault.

A citizen of Pakistan who was born in Saudi Arabia, Khan got here to the U.S. together with his household within the Nineties and so they had been granted asylum. He graduated from highschool within the Baltimore suburbs and held a expertise job within the D.C. space at an workplace the place he may see the smoke billowing from the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.

He says he turned to radical ideology following the dying earlier that yr of his mom, whom he described as a very powerful individual in his life.

Khan apologized for his actions and stated he takes full duty. He stated he now simply needs to reunite together with his spouse and the daughter who was born whereas he was in captivity. He stated he has forgiven his captors, and his torturers.

“I’ve additionally tried to make up for the unhealthy issues I’ve carried out,” he stated. “That is why I pleaded responsible and cooperated with the USA authorities”

Khan is the primary of the high-value detainees, those that went by the interrogation program, to be convicted and sentenced on the army tribunals held on the bottom.

The 5 males charged within the Sept. 11 assaults embrace Khalid Shaikh Mohammad, who has portrayed himself because the architect of the plot. That case stays within the pretrial stage and a decide has stated it’ll begin no before subsequent yr.

The U.S. holds 39 males on the detention centre on Naval Station Guantanamo Bay.

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Editor’s word: The Related Press considered proceedings from a video feed at Fort Meade, Maryland.

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