Swede tells of Guantanamo torture

A Swedish citizen of Algerian origin released from Guantanamo Bay last week has spoken of the torture he endured at the hands of his jailers.

    The US naval base on Cuban soil is being used as a prison camp

    Mehdi Ghezali

    said he had been tortured by exposure

    to freezing cold, noise and bright lights and chained during his 30-month

     imprisonment.

     

    Ghezali, the son of an Algerian-born immigrant, told

    Swedish media in interviews published or aired on Wednesday that

    he was interrogated almost every day at the US naval base on

    Cuban soil. 

     

    The 25-year-old man, who was arrested in Pakistan where he

    says he was studying Islam, was released on 8 July after

    pressure from Sweden.

     

    Ghezali told Dagens Nyheter daily and Swedish public radio

    he had cooperated for the first six months but stopped talking

    when his interrogators kept asking the same questions.

     

    In April the military changed their tactics, he said.

     

    "They put me in the interrogation room and used it as a

    refrigerator. They set the temperature to minus degrees so it

    was terribly cold and one had to freeze there for many hours -

    12 to 14 hours one had to sit there, chained," he said, adding

    that he had partially lost the feeling in one foot since then. 

     

    Ghezali said he was also deprived of sleep, chained for long

    periods in painful positions, and exposed to bright flashes of

    light in a darkened room and loud music and noise.

     

    "They forced me down with chained feet. Then they took away

    the chains from the hands, pulled the arms under the legs and

    chained them hard again. I could not move," he said.

     

    After several hours his feet were swollen and his whole body

    was aching. "The worst was in the back and the legs," he said. 

     

    Ghezali said he went to Pakistan to study Islam in August 2001,

    before the September 11 attacks which triggered President George 

    Bush's War on Terrorism and the US-led invasion of

    Afghanistan. 

     

    He said he was visiting a friend in the Afghan town of

    Jalalabad near the Pakistani border when the US invasion

    started. He decided to return to Pakistan when he heard that

    villagers were selling foreigners to US forces. 

     

    Pakistani villagers seized him as he crossed the border from

    Afghanistan and sold him to Pakistani police, who turned him

    over to the US military. He was flown from Pakistan to

    Afghanistan and arrived in Guantanamo Bay in January 2002, he said. 

     

    He was released from Guantanamo on 8 July because he was no

    longer considered a threat to the United States.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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