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US confirms interrogation tapes
Recordings show detention of 9/11 suspect Ramzi Binalshibh in Moroccan jail in 2002.
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2010 09:54 GMT
Binalshibh was captured in Pakistan in 2002, and is being held in Guantanamo [AP/Flashpoint Partners]

The CIA does indeed have videotapes of the interrogation of a man suspected of helping to plot the September 11, 2001, attacks, despite twice telling the US justice department those tapes had been destroyed.

Ramzi Binalshibh was detained in Pakistan in 2002; the CIA said tapes of his interrogation were destroyed in 2005, when the agency destroyed dozens of other recordings.

But the Associated Press (AP) news agency reported on Tuesday that two videotapes and one audiotape still exist. They were discovered in 2007 under a desk at the CIA's counterterrorism centre and leaked to the news agency.

The recordings were made at a Moroccan detention facility near Rabat; intelligence officials told the AP that the facility was used to interrogate CIA prisoners.

The facility - part of the CIA's network of secret so-called "black prisons" - was reportedly financed by the CIA but managed by Moroccan authorities.

The Yemen-born Binalshibh remains a prisoner in the US detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Thomas Durkin, his civilian lawyer, called the tapes "extremely relevant" to his client's case.

One other suspect - Binyam Mohamed, detained in Pakistan in 2002 - is known to have been transferred to a Moroccan jail.

'No evidence' of torture

American officials said the tapes do not show evidence of torture, and the fact that the CIA confirmed the tapes' existence suggests they do not contain any incriminating footage.

Morocco does have a history of rights violations against detainees, however: The US state department's latest human rights report on Morocco documents numerous allegations of "security forces [who] tortured and abused individuals in their custody".

Some of the tapes destroyed in 2005 do show agents waterboarding two other alleged al-Qaeda operatives, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Nashiri. A federal prosecutor is investigating the destruction of those tapes.

"Today's report is a stark reminder of how much information the government is still withholding about the Bush administration's interrogation policies," Alexander Abdo, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said.

George Little, a CIA spokesman, declined to comment on the Moroccan facility.

Source:
Agencies
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