US military jury: CIA treatment of detainee ‘shame for US government’

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 exterior of Camp Delta is seen at the US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, on March 6, 2013. (Reuters photo)

Seven senior US military officers have condemned the CIA’s brutal treatment of a detainee, calling it a "shame for the US government," US media reports have said.

The rebuke by seven of a military jury’s eight members, who were brought to Guantanamo Bay this past week to hear evidence and decide a sentence for Majid Khan, came after they heard graphic descriptions of his torture.

Khan was captured in Pakistan in 2003 and pleaded guilty to charges of assisting al-Qaeda as a courier and planner in 2012. He was transferred to the US military detention center at Guantanamo in September 2006.

The panel sentenced Khan to 26 years in prison, however, seven of its members, in a letter, urged the senior Pentagon official overseeing the war court that Khan be granted clemency, according to the New York Times which obtained a copy of the letter.

“Mr. Khan was subjected to physical and psychological abuse well-beyond approved enhanced interrogation techniques, instead being closer to torture performed by the most abusive regimes in modern history,” the jury members wrote in a letter addressed to the Arkansas National Guard’s Col. Jeffrey D. Wood, the convening authority of the military commission.

“This abuse was of no practical value in terms of intelligence, or any other tangible benefit to US interests. Instead, it is a stain on the moral fiber of America; the treatment of Mr. Khan in the hands of US personnel should be a source of shame for the US government,” they continued, according to the Times.

Last Thursday, Khan testified on abuse he suffered while in the CIA’s overseas prison network between 2003 and 2006. He said he had been subjected to waterboarding, forced enemas and feedings, as well as other forms of sexual and physical abuse.

Khan also said that even while he cooperated with officials, they still continued to abuse him. “Instead, the more I cooperated, the more I was tortured,” he said.

The seven jury members wrote that Khan had been a “vulnerable target for extremist recruiting” because he had been reeling from the death of his mother at the time. They asserted that he was no longer an extremism threat and was repentant.

The Guantanamo Bay detention center, also known as "Gitmo", became synonymous with prisoner abuse and torture in the early years of the so-called war on terror.

Detainees there were subjected to abuse, humiliation and torture as part of their interrogations, the accounts of which were gradually exposed to the outside world by the few inspectors who visited the prison and some of the inmates who were later released.

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