A former Guantanamo detainee who spent 14 years without trial is suing Canada over its alleged role in his imprisonment.
Mohamedou Ould Slahi, 51, claims that Canadian authorities provided false information concerning the period when he was a permanent resident in Montreal in 1999, which led to his arrest and subsequent torture at the infamous US prison, according to his complaint filed on Friday and reviewed by the AFP news agency.
Slahi is seeking 35 million Canadian dollars ($28m) for the damages he suffered during his 14-year imprisonment.
In the lawsuit, Slahi says he faced “physical beatings, sleep deprivation, forced standing, incessant noise, sexual assault, mock assassination, death threats, religious humiliation, and more” while at Guantanamo.
“Slahi’s detention and maltreatment were prolonged because the receipt and use of forced confessions by Canadian authorities validated the continued torture and detention,” his lawyers said in the complaint.
Slahi’s story was a best-selling book that was adapted for the screen. The film – The Mauritanian, starring Tahar Rahim and Jodie Foster – depicts the extreme conditions on the American base.
Arrested in 2001 in Mauritania, Slahi was then successively imprisoned in Jordan and Afghanistan, before arriving at Guantanamo in 2002, in what he called in his book a world tour of torture and humiliation. He was released in 2016.
Since it was established on January 11, 2002, the high-security prison has held nearly 800 detainees, most held without formal charges. Today 39 prisoners remain.
The world’s most infamous detention centre has become a symbol of human rights abuses.
Several international human rights groups, including HRW, Amnesty International and the International Committee of the Red Cross have repeatedly condemned the alleged human rights violations, including harsh interrogation methods that critics say amounted to torture.
Former US President Barack Obama had announced a plan to close the facility but the move was reversed by his successor Donald Trump.