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2003-03-11

U.S. Chains & Shackles Naked Detainees to the Ceiling in Afghanistan: Is the U.S. Torturing Detainees?

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A US military investigation into the deaths of two prisoners who were being held for interrogation at the Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan is continuing.

Last week, a US military pathologist’s report concluded the prisoners had been beaten.

It is not yet publicly known what else the prisoners endured.

Former prisoners say detainees are chained to the ceiling, shackled so tightly that the blood flow stops, kept naked and hooded and kicked to keep them awake for days on end. This according to the London Guardian.

This Sunday, The New York Times reported on the interrogation of another prisoner at Bagram air base.

The US alleges Omar al-Faruq was a senior al Qaeda operative in Southeast Asia confidant of Osama bin Laden. A Western intelligence official told the Times Faruq’s interrogation was "not quite torture, but about as close as you can get." Over a three month period, he was fed very little, while being subjected to sleep and light deprivation, prolonged isolation and room temperatures that varied from 10 to 100 degrees. Experts say it is also highly likely his interrogation followed a pattern of other interrogations: Faruq was likely kept naked most of the time with hands and feet bound. International law requires prisoners be allowed eight hours sleep a day, but interrogators don’t let them sleep for 8 consecutive hours.

Faruq was questioned in this way for weeks. In the end, US officials claim, he began to cooperate.

But it appears Faruq is one of the lucky ones. Intelligence officials admit some suspects have been turned over to security services in countries known to employ torture, such as Syria and the staunch US ally, Egypt.

US intelligence officials say such interrogation methods are vital to learning information that could help to prevent future attacks on the U.S.

We turn first to Dana Priest who is a staff writer for the Washington Post. She co-authored a lengthy article published last December called "U.S. Decries Abuse but Defends Interrogations; 'Stress and Duress' Tactics Used on Terrorism Suspects Held in Secret Overseas Facilities." The article looks at army interrogation methods and techniques used at detention centers overseas.

  • Dana Priest, Washington Post staff writer. She co-authored a lengthy article published last December called "U.S. Decries Abuse but Defends Interrogations; 'Stress and Duress' Tactics Used on Terrorism Suspects Held in Secret Overseas Facilities" The article looks at army interrogation methods and techniques used at detention centers overseas.
  • Michael Ratner, Executive Director, Center for Constitutional Rights.
  • William Schulz, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA. He said in a press release issued on Sunday that "the tactics US officials openly admit to constitute cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or torture. These statements by US officials are an admission of complicity in torture."

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