Ze Older Stuff

Swede tortured at Guantanamo

by Jan Strupczewski

Address: http://news.myway.com/top/article/id/414893|top|07-14-2004::13:30|reuters.html

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – A Swede released from the U.S. naval base at

Guantanamo Bay last week said he had been tortured by exposure to

freezing cold, noise and bright lights and chained during his 2

1/2-year imprisonment.

Mehdi Ghezali, the son of an Algerian-born immigrant who was arrested

in Pakistan where he says he was studying Islam, told Swedish media in

interviews published or aired on Wednesday that he was subjected to

interrogations almost every day.

The 25-year-old man was released on July 8 after pressure from Sweden

including a meeting in Washington between Prime Minister Goran Persson

and President Bush.

Ghezali told Dagens Nyheter daily and Swedish public radio that he had

answered all questions put to him for the first six months but gave up

talking when his interrogators kept asking the same questions.

After more than two years in the camp, in April this year the military stepped up the pressure on him.

“They put me in the interrogation room and used it as a refrigerator.

They set the temperature to minus degrees so it was terribly cold and

one had to freeze there for many hours — 12-14 hours one had to sit

there, chained,” he said, adding that he had partially lost the feeling

in one foot since then.


Ghezali said he was deprived of sleep for about two weeks by constant

switching of cells and interrogation, was exposed to powerful flashes

of light in a dark room, to very loud music and noise and was chained

for long periods in painful positions.

“They forced me down with chained feet. Then they took away the chains

from the hands, pulled the arms under the legs and chained them hard

again. I could not move,” he said.

After several hours his feet were swollen and his whole body was aching.

“The worst was in the back and the legs,” he said.

Some of these torture methods have also been used by the U.S. military

on Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in a scandal which has

embarrassed the U.S. government this year.

Swedish Foreign Minister Laila Freivalds told public radio that if

correct, the allegations meant that the U.S. had broken international

laws. “That is wholly unacceptable,” Freivalds said.

She said that she hoped that the U.S. would investigate the allegations.

Ghezali said he went Pakistan to study Islam in August 2001, before the

September 11 attacks which triggered President Bush’s war on terrorism

and the invasion of Afghanistan.

He said he was visiting a friend in the Afghan town of Jalalabad near

the Pakistani border when the U.S. attack started and decided to return

to Pakistan when he heard that villagers were selling foreigners to the

U.S. forces.

But he was captured by Pakistani villagers while crossing the border

from Afghanistan and sold to Pakistani police, who turned him over to

the U.S. military. He was flown from Pakistan to Afghanistan and

arrived in Guantanamo in January 2002.


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