[Ppnews] US challenged over 'secret jails'

PPnews at freedomarchives.org PPnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Aug 4 08:45:50 EDT 2005


US challenged over 'secret jails'

Two Yemeni men claim they were held in secret, underground US jails for 
more than 18 months without being charged, Amnesty International has said.

The human rights group has called on the US to reveal details of the 
alleged secret detention of suspects abroad.

Amnesty fears the case is part of a "much broader picture" in which the US 
holds prisoners at secret locations.

The US has not responded to the claims, but the head of the CIA recently 
said the agency does not use torture.

Porter Goss said in testimony to the US Senate torture was neither 
professional nor productive.

Beaten on feet

In the new report, Amnesty has urged the US to reveal where its alleged 
secret detention facilities are, stop using them and name the detainees 
held there.

The two Yemeni men, Muhammad Faraj Ahmed Bashmilah and Salah Nasser Salim 
Ali, were arrested separately but reported almost identical experiences to 
Amnesty.

Mr Muhammad says he was arrested in 2003 in Jordan, while Mr Salah says he 
was detained in Indonesia the same year and later flown to Jordan.

Both say they were tortured for four days by Jordanian intelligence services.

Alleged methods include being beaten on the feet while bound and suspended 
upside-down. One of the men claims he was threatened with sexual abuse and 
electric shocks.

Each says he was then flown to an unnamed underground jail, where he was 
held in solitary confinement for six to eight months with no access to 
lawyers.

Both claim they were interrogated every day by US guards about their 
activities in Indonesia and Afghanistan.

They say a period in a second underground prison followed, where loud 
Western music was piped into the cell 24 hours a day and questioning by US 
officials continued.

'Netherworld'

The men were transferred in May this year to Yemen, where they are still 
being held without charge.

Amnesty says the Yemeni authorities say they are only holding the men 
because the US has "made it a condition of their release from secret 
detention".

Amnesty's Sharon Critoph, who interviewed the men in Yemen, said: "To be 
'disappeared' from the face of the earth without knowing why or for how 
long is a crime under international law and an experience no-one should 
have to go through.

"We fear that what we have heard from these two men is just one small part 
of the much broader picture of US secret detentions around the world."

Michael Ratner, of the US campaign group Center for Constitutional Rights, 
said the report was the first to touch on the "netherworld of secret 
detention facilities that the CIA is running".

Amnesty has previously reported on what it calls the long-term detention 
without trial or charge of prisoners in Yemen at the request of US 
authorities.

The US has also faced questions over its use of "rendition", a process by 
which terror suspects are sent for interrogation by security officials in 
other countries, some of which are accused of using torture.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/americas/4743485.stm

Published: 2005/08/04 01:42:45 GMT


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