CIA torture report little comfort to Pakistani detainees
A Pakistani detained at Afghanistan`s infamous Bagram jail, where he was beaten and threatened with dogs, told AFP that a damning US report on the brutal treatment of terror detainees will do nothing to return the five years he lost to the ordeal.
Islamabad: A Pakistani detained at Afghanistan`s infamous Bagram jail, where he was beaten and threatened with dogs, told AFP that a damning US report on the brutal treatment of terror detainees will do nothing to return the five years he lost to the ordeal.
The US Senate report released Wednesday revealed grim details about how prisoners were treated at so-called "black sites", facing torture ranging from rectal feeding to being suspended from the ceiling by their wrists.
At least one inmate died of hypothermia at one such site known as "Salt Pit", in addition to two already documented deaths in Bagram.
The detention centre north of Kabul, once dubbed the Afghan Guantanamo Bay, became highly controversial for the way detainees were treated.
Afghan authorities took control of Bagram, renamed Parwan, in March 2013, but the US retained control of foreign prisoners, worried the Afghans might release them back onto the battlefield.
Former inmate Kamil Shah told AFP that the report, which has triggered worldwide condemnation, was little comfort for the five years he spent in Bagram.
"What`s the benefit of the report? Will the US compensate the victims?" Shah said by telephone.
"They arrested innocent people, put them in dark cells and tortured them for five, 10, 15 years and now they are saying they were wrong."Shah said that in 2004, aged 17, he crossed into Afghanistan to seek treatment for a sick friend in the southern city of Kandahar, the heartland of the Taliban. But on his way there he was arrested by American forces.
They did not believe his story and he was thrown into Bagram as a suspected Taliban or Al-Qaeda militant, though he was eventually released with no charges and nothing tying him to any suspected wrongdoing.
Shah`s time at Bagram consisted of a mixture of violent and non-violent forms of torture, he recalled, ranging from being locked in a pitch black cell for days on end to being beaten until his interrogators were exhausted.
"They used to beat me for hours with sticks and guns, they would go on beating me until they got exhausted," he said.
"Sometimes they would interrogate me for nine, ten hours, that was the most horrible thing."
He claimed that interrogators used wires to give him electric shocks.
"They would bring dogs and threaten me that if I didn`t tell the truth they would throw me to the dogs," he said.Another Pakistani held as a "war on terror" suspect, Islamic scholar Saad Iqbal Madni, said the treatment he suffered "can`t be put into words".
"People don`t do to animals what they do to us," he told AFP.
"There is no doubt that after 9/11 America has wronged Muslims. But if you admit your wrongs, you should also try to make them right."
Madni was held in Indonesia in 2002 for allegedly plotting to carry out a shoe-bomb style plot, then transferred to Bagram, then Egypt and finally Guantanamo Bay.
In Egypt he says he was kept in a cell that was "smaller than a grave".
"They kept me in a three months underground -- for three months where I couldnt lie or stand up," he said.
He returned to Pakistan in 2008.
Both Pakistan and Afghanistan, as US allies, aided in the rendition of suspects. In his autobiography, Pakistan`s former military ruler Pervez Musharraf said the CIA paid Pakistan millions of dollars for handing over hundreds of Al-Qaeda prisoners.
"I was tortured by Americans, Afghans and Pakistanis for no reason, my life has been ruined. What good will the report do?" Shah said.
After his release Shah was required for several years to notify the police whenever he wanted to leave his village. With no qualifications and no job, he struggles to get by and says he wishes he could clear his name.
"I am waiting for justice, let`s see how the US report compensates the hundreds of detainees but I am not very hopeful about it," he said.