Father of Pakistani Alleges U.S. Torture
Monday, April 16, 2007; 7:21 PM
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- The father of a Pakistani terrorism suspect at the Guantanamo Bay military prison alleges his son was beaten by U.S. interrogators while held in Pakistan, according to an affidavit released Monday. The CIA denied the prisoner was abused.
Majid Khan, who graduated from a Maryland high school, was deprived of sleep and tied in painful positions during grueling interrogations in the days following his arrest in Karachi, Pakistan, his father, Ali Khan, said in the statement.
The father said he submitted his allegations to undercut the U.S. military's claims that his son helped al-Qaida mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed plan attacks inside the United States. Mohammed, who admitted planning the Sept. 11 attacks, also is held at Guantanamo.
A spokesman for the Central Intelligence Agency, which held Majid Khan in secret prisons for three years before his transfer to Guantanamo, denied the allegations.
"The United States neither conducts nor condones torture, and the agency acts in strict accord with American law," spokesman Paul Gimigliano said.
Ali Khan said he learned about the alleged abuse from another of his sons, Mohammed, who was arrested at the family's apartment in Karachi along with Majid in March 2003 and was briefly detained in the same facility as his brother.
"The Americans tortured him for eight hours at a time, tying him tightly in stressful positions in a small chair until his hands, feet and mind went numb," Khan wrote in the affidavit submitted to a military review panel that is determining whether Majid Khan can be held as an "enemy combatant."
Majid Khan arrived at Guantanamo last September with 13 other "high-value" detainees, including Mohammed. U.S. officials allege Mohammed enlisted Khan to blow up service stations and poison reservoirs in the United States.
Gitanjali Gutierrez, an attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, has been denied permission to meet with Khan. Documents filed by the Justice Department last year in opposition to her petition for lawyer visits argued that Khan could reveal closely guarded CIA tactics.
His father's affidavit alleges that during the first days of captivity, Majid Khan was kept in a small, mosquito-infested cell inside a high-walled facility. His mistreatment stopped only after he signed a statement that he was not allowed to read, the statement said.
It also alleged that the building held two children, ages about 6 and 8, of Mohammed, who had been captured in Pakistan within days of Khan.
"They were also mentally tortured by having ants or other creatures put on their legs to scare them and get them to say where their father was hiding," the statement charged.
Gimigliano, the CIA spokesman, said the agency "forcefully and completely rejects as false any suggestion that its officers would in any way mistreat children, including children of al-Qaida terrorists."
Ali Khan, who recently retired from running a gas station in the Baltimore area, said he prepared the statement with help from lawyers and his children because he struggles with English.
He wrote that any confession from his son was likely the product of torture and dismissed the military hearing for his son as "only for show."
A three-member panel at Guantanamo held a Combatant Status Review Tribunal for Khan that lasted several days and ended Sunday, said a Pentagon spokesman, Navy Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon.
He said a transcript of the closed hearing to determine whether Khan is an "enemy combatant" would be released in the coming days.