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Terror suspect claims US torture
Pentagon vows to investigate charge by alleged mastermind of USS Cole bombing.
Last Modified: 05 Apr 2007 08:15 GMT

Seventeen sailors were killed in the bombing of the USS Cole [GALLO/GETTY]


A suspected Saudi terrorist has told a military hearing that he was tortured into confessing that he was involved in the bombing of the warship USS Cole.
 
Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri said he made up stories that tied him to the 2000 Cole attack, which killed 17 US sailors in Aden harbour, Yemen.
"From the time I was arrested five years ago, they have been torturing me. It happened during interviews. One time they tortured me one way, and another time they tortured me in a different way," al-Nashiri said, according to a US defence department transcript released on Friday.

"I just said those things to make the people happy. They were very happy when I told them those things."

Portions of the 36-page hearing transcript were edited out, and the transcript does not include any details of the torture that al-Nashiri said took place over five years.

Torture probe

Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, said that any allegations of torture would be investigated.

He said sections were blacked out of the transcript because of national security reasons.

Al-Nashiri is one of 14 high-value detainees who were moved to Guantanamo in September from secret CIA prisons abroad.

The military is conducting hearings for the 14 to determine if they are enemy combatants who can be held indefinitely and prosecuted for war crimes.

According to US intelligence, al-Nashiri is the suspected mastermind of the Cole bombing and was al-Qaeda's operations chief in the Arabian Peninsula until he was caught in 2002.

Al-Nashiri, 41, a Saudi national of Yemeni descent, was allegedly given the task of attacking the Cole by Osama bin Laden.

In the transcript, al-Nashiri says he met bin Laden many times and received as much as a half a million dollars from him.

The money, he said, was for "personal expenses" including for marriage and business deals.

He said he took money to buy a boat and develop a fishing business, and bin Laden later told him it could be used for a bombing.

Al-Nashiri said he ended the project, and was not involved when bin Laden later used it "as a military tool".

Source:
Agencies
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