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UK-based advocacy group details alleged torture in US

CAGE group publishes report on allegations of torture against Qatari national for years after 9/11 attack

UK-based advocacy group details alleged torture in US FILE PHOTO

By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal


A Qatari national was subjected to extensive torture during 13 years of detention in the U.S., a London-based advocacy group claimed Wednesday.

The allegations of systematic torture by the FBI and Defense Department on Ali (Saleh Kahlal) al-Marri were published by the CAGE group in a report years in the making.

“The experience of Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, by all international standards of law, constituted torture, and as a result, all those involved in his solitary confinement, in the use of behavioural science to harm him, in enforcing isolation, and in instigating religious and cultural abuse, in perpetrating physical abuse and in making threats against his family are to be included in any allegations of torture,” the report said.

Ali, who arrived the U.S. shortly before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, was approached by the FBI initially that October for having wrong social security details, and later in December 2001 “with the allegations that he had been in contact with one of the facilitators of the 9/11 plot.”

The initial allegations against Ali were dropped but he was eventually arrested on Dec. 10 on allegations of “funding al-Qaeda through credit cards,” but this claim was also later dropped.

“For a year-and-a half, Ali was detained without charge or trial at the New York Metropolitan Correctional Centre alongside hundreds of other Arab or Muslim foreign nationals,” according to the report.

The torture allegations are related to later detention at a military base called the Charleston Naval Brig located in South Carolina, after he was officially declared an “enemy combatant” by then-U.S. President George W. Bush, the report said.

The CAGE report covers allegations a period of 14 months of Ali’s detention, based on evidence and statements gathered over the last three years.

In October 2009, Ali al-Marri entered a guilty plea “after eight years of incarceration, the vast majority of which took place without any due process of the law,” said the report.

“Considering the gravity of what was being suggested about al-Marri, the eventual sentence by the judge of eight years and four months in a federal prison was relatively small. This was out of recognition of the years of abuse al-Marri had suffered.” 

Naming names

The report also gives the names of six people involved in Ali’s alleged torture at the military base.

The alleged tortures include “prolonged solitary confinement and isolation of all detainees, abuse of cultural and religious rites, denial of a mattress to sleep on, freezing cell conditions, mocking, threats against family member and threats of sexual violence and torture.”

“Torture, according to all international law standards, is a crime of universal jurisdiction,” said the report’s recommendations section.

“If a country permits one of the men or women mentioned in this report to enter into their country, they become duty bound to investigate them and potentially charge them with crimes related to torture,” it said.

It also called on the U.S., U.K. and Qatar and the international community to investigate the allegations in this report, revealing the names of those who were in charge of the interrogations at the time of the allegations.

It urged the U.S. government to “charge those who have been involved in wrongdoing” and “pay reparations to Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri for the years of abuse he suffered.”

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