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Fresh claims of torture at Guantanamo Bay

Amnesty International released fresh claims of alleged torture and ill-treatment of terrorist suspects.

world Updated: Jan 11, 2006 09:06 IST

Amnesty International released fresh claims on Wednesday of the alleged torture and ill-treatment of terrorist suspects on the fourth anniversary of detainees being taken to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

The testimonies from three men echo similar claims made by released prisoners and include allegations from one of the men that he was abducted by the US Criminal Intelligence Agency (CIA) as part of its "extraordinary rendition" policy.

Abdulsalam al-Hela, a 34-year-old businessman from Sanaa, Yemen, allegedly "disappeared" after travelling to Egypt for a meeting with a construction firm in September 2002.

The father-of-two was shackled, blindfolded and gagged, put on a small, private plane and taken, possibly via Azerbaijan, to Afghanistan, where he was held "in secret, illegally and incommunicado" for two years, Amnesty said.

Amnesty said al-Hela suffered psychological torture at five prisons in or around Kabul, a number of them underground, before being transferred to Guantanamo Bay in September 2004.

The human rights group, with headquarters in London, said he wrote in a letter smuggled out of jail in Afghanistan: "The CIA conspired with the Egyptian Mukhabarrat (intelligence service), making false allegations and threats against me, so as to justify their crime of kidnapping me."

A number of countries have expressed concerns about the policy of extraordinary rendition to countries outside the legal process and the alleged existence of secret prisons in eastern Europe to interrogate suspects.

Washington has denied using or condoning torture but defended rendition as a "vital tool" in combating international terrorism.

First Published: Jan 11, 2006 09:06 IST