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US blocks release of CIA torture of Guantanamo detainee

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The notorious Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba was set up by the Pentagon after the September 11, 2001, attacks to hold suspected al-Qaeda and Taliban detainees.

The United States has blocked the release of documents detailing the torture of a Guantanamo detainee while held by the Central intelligence Agency (CIA).

A defense lawyer for Abu Zubaydah revealed that government officials blocked the release of 116 pages of lawyers' notes detailing the torture he experienced.

"We submitted 116 pages in 10 separate submissions," said Joe Margulies, the detainee’s lead defense lawyer. "The government declared all of it classified."

He said the decision is an indication that the Barack Obama administration is determined to continue declaring detainees’ accounts of their torture as classified.

Zubaydah, who had been held in custody for nine years since 2002 with no charges, lost one eye and was waterboarded 83 times in a month he was in CIA custody, according to a report released by the US Senate Intelligence Committee last year.

The 44-year-old Saudi national was also subjected to death threats, ice baths, sleep deprivation and a vast array of other harsh techniques.

Abu Zubaydah

In December 2014, the committee released a drastically redacted summary of its voluminous report on the CIA’s torture program during the George W. Bush administration.

The CIA's interrogation of suspected terrorists was far more brutal than the spy agency had disclosed, according to Senator Dianne Feinstein, who then chaired the committee.

Despite opposition from CIA and White House officials, Feinstein made public the Senate report’s 480-page executive summary.

According to the report, CIA torture techniques included sleep deprivation, confinement in small spaces, humiliation and the simulated drowning known as waterboarding.


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