US hands al Qaeda suspect named in Senate report into Afghan custody

The United States has handed a suspected al Qaeda militant, named in a US Senate report as one of the first objects of harsh CIA interrogation techniques, into Afghan custody, his lawyer told Reuters on Wednesday.

Kabul: The United States has handed a suspected al Qaeda militant, named in a US Senate report as one of the first objects of harsh CIA interrogation techniques, into Afghan custody, his lawyer told Reuters on Wednesday.

Tina Foster said the US government had notified her that Ridha al-Najar, a Tunisian, had been transferred from the U.S.-run detention centre at Bagram on Tuesday, the day the Senate report was published.

Al-Najar was among the first people to be subjected to the CIA`s "enhanced" interrogation techniques after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York, and his harsh treatment became a model for handling detainees at a secret CIA prison, the Senate report said. He has never been produced in a court.

Najar`s representatives have taken their demand that he should be put on trial under U.S. jurisdiction all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which has requested a reply from the U.S. government by next Monday.

"It`s just another way of evading jurisdiction," Foster said. "Now they will be able to say in court, `It`s not our problem`."

"He`s not released. If they had released him, I would declare victory and go home. What they have done is make it even more difficult."

The United States embassy in Kabul and the NATO-led force in Afghanistan did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Foster represents five other inmates at Bagram - a U.S. detention facility for suspects deemed a security threat to the United States that does not publish details of its inmates - and says there may be other detainees there.

Washington has been rushing to move the remaining prisoners out of its custody before a Dec. 31 deadline fixed in a U.S.-Afghanistan Bilateral Security Agreement.

 

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