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Monday, December 19, 2005

Examples of the Torture we don’t commit 

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Eight detainees now held at Guantánamo described to their attorneys how they were held at a facility near Kabul at various times between 2002 and 2004. The detainees, who called the facility the “dark prison” or “prison of darkness,” said they were chained to walls, deprived of food and drinking water, and kept in total darkness with loud rap, heavy metal music, or other sounds blared for weeks at a time.

The detainees offer consistent accounts about the facility, saying that U.S. and Afghan guards were not in uniform and that U.S. interrogators did not wear military attire, which suggests that the prison may have been operated by personnel from the Central Intelligence Agency.

The detainees said U.S. interrogators slapped or punched them during interrogations. They described being held in complete darkness for weeks on end, shackled to rings bolted into the walls of their cells, with loud music or other sounds played continuously. Some detainees said they were shackled in a manner that made it impossible to lie down or sleep, with restraints that caused their hands and wrists to swell up or bruise. The detainees said they were deprived of food for days at a time, and given only filthy water to drink.

The detainees also said that they were held incommunicado and never visited by representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross or other independent officials.

“The U.S. government must shed some light on Kabul’s ‘dark prison,’” said John Sifton, terrorism and counterterrorism researcher at Human Rights Watch. “No one, no matter their alleged crime, should be held in secret prisons or subjected to torture.”
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