A Pakistani prisoner in Guantanamo Bay military prison has been sentenced to 26 years in prison on Friday before a court-martial for describing three years of torture at the hands of the CIA.
Majid Khan, 41, a former al-Qaeda ambassador, did not give any details when he told military judges on Thursday that he had been assaulted, sexually abused and mocked after being captured in Pakistan in 2003.
The U.S. Senate inquiry into the CIA’s use of torture after the September 11, 2001 attacks confirms his testimony, but he was the first prisoner to publicly describe his torture at the hands of U.S. intelligence.
In a 39-page letter read to the inquiry, Majid Khan, who grew up in Pakistan, described being chained to windowless rooms for several days in a row before moving to the United States with his family. Secret CIA prisons in unidentified countries.
Thrown between several secret sites between 2003 and 2006, he described brutal investigations, drowning his face in icy water and keeping his head under water until he could speak.
“They beat me until I begged them to stop. The worst thing was not knowing when the blows would come and where they would come from.
His interrogators attacked his family in the United States and threatened to rape his sister. His glasses are broken as he claims he is almost blind. “I had to wait three years to get a new couple.”
Many nights of insomnia stunned him. “I had an illusion, I remember seeing a cow and a big lizard. I lost all contact with reality.”
He was subjected to compulsory enemas between interrogations and was forcibly fed by an anal exam while fasting, which caused him permanent damage.
A garden hose was introduced into his anus to re-hydrate him, he was told. “I was raped by CIA doctors. When I was built, they inserted pipes and stuff into my anus.
Majid Khan, who was recruited by his family members from Al-Qaeda during a visit to Pakistan, confessed a few days after his capture in Karachi on March 5, 2003.
He admitted to plotting to assassinate the Pakistani president and paying $ 50,000 to al-Qaeda members in Indonesia.
“Whenever I was tortured, I told them what I wanted to hear. I lied to prevent violence,” he said. But “the more I cooperated, the more I was tortured.”
“Majid’s strong words (…) reveal the devastating atrocities committed by our own government in the name of our national security,” said Katya Justin, one of his lawyers.
“The CIA plan failed and it was against our democratic principles and the rule of law,” he added.
Majid Khan arrived in Baltimore, 31 miles from Washington, at the age of 16, where he studied English at his father’s gas station before continuing his education at a local college.
He was given the right to speak publicly about the treatment he received when he pleaded guilty in 2012. He regretted his action.
“I have been detained and kept in solitary confinement for almost 20 years and I paid a lot of money,” he said. “I reject al-Qaeda, I reject terrorism.”
But he assured the court that he did not blame those who tortured him.
“I forgive myself and I will be at peace when others forgive me for the harm they have done to me,” he promised. “To those who tortured me: I forgive you. All”.
A court-martial spokesman said the tribunal had sentenced him to 26 years in prison.
But if he is contracted by a judge when he pleads guilty, he could be released next year.