[Ppnews] Rendered to Egypt for Torture

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Sep 4 11:18:17 EDT 2008


September 4, 2008

Mohammed Saad Iqbal Madni is Released from Guantánamo

Rendered to Egypt for Torture


News that three more prisoners have been released 
from Guantánamo is cause for celebration, as all 
three men should never have been held in the 
first place. In a report to follow, I’ll look at 
the stories of the two Afghans released -- one a 
simple farmer, the other a juvenile at the time 
he was seized -- but for now I’m going to focus 
on the extraordinary story of the prisoner 
released to Pakistan, Mohammed Saad Iqbal Madni, 
whose grotesque mistreatment involves 
“extraordinary rendition” and torture spanning several continents.

A Pakistani-Egyptian national and the son of an 
Islamic scholar, Madni was 24 years old when he 
arrested in Jakarta by the Indonesian authorities 
on January 9, 2002, after a request from the CIA. 
He was then rendered to Egypt, apparently at the 
urging of the Egyptian authorities, working in 
cooperation with the CIA. In Egypt, he was 
tortured for three months, and was flown back to 
Afghanistan on April 12, 2002 with Mamdouh Habib, 
an Australian prisoner, seized in Pakistan, who 
was released in January 2005, and who has 
at length about his torture in Egypt. Eleven 
months later, Madni was transferred to Guantánamo.

Although Madni did not speak about his treatment 
during any of his military reviews at Guantánamo, 
several prisoners confirmed that he was tortured 
by the Egyptians. Rustam Akhmyarov, a Russian 
prisoner released in 2004, 
that Madni told him of his time “in an 
underground cell in Egypt, where he never saw the 
sun and where he was tortured until he confessed 
to working with Osama bin Laden,” and added that 
he “recalled how he was interrogated by both 
Egyptian and US agents in Egypt and that he was 
blindfolded, tortured with electric shocks, beaten and hung from the ceiling.”

Akhmyarov also said that Madni was in a 
particularly bad mental and physical state in 
Guantánamo, where he “was passing blood in his 
faeces,” and recalled that he overheard US 
officials telling him, “we will let you go if you 
tell the world everything was fine here.” Mamdouh 
Habib confirmed Akhmyarov's analysis, recalling 
how Madni had “pleaded for human interaction.” He 
said that he overheard him saying, ”Talk to me, 
please talk to me ... I feel depressed ... I want 
to talk to somebody ... Nobody trusts me.” On the 
191st day of his incarceration, according to 
Madni’s own account, he attempted to commit suicide.

The Tipton Three -- Rhuhel Ahmed, Asif Iqbal and 
Shafiq Rasul, British citizens released in 2004 
-- also 
Madni in Guantánamo. They said that “he had had 
electrodes put on his knees: and that “something 
had happened to his bladder and he had problems 
going to the toilet,” but explained that he had 
been told by interrogators that he would not 
receive treatment unless he cooperated with them, 
in which case he would be “first in line for medical treatment.”

Quite what Madni was supposed to have done to 
justify this torture and abuse was never 
adequately explained at Guantánamo. The US 
authorities urged the Indonesians to arrest him 
after they claimed to have discovered documents 
that linked him to Richard Reid, the inept and 
mentally troubled British “shoe bomber,” who was 
arrested, and later received a life sentence, for 
attempting to blow up an American Airlines flight 
from Paris to Miami in December 2001, but Madni 
persistently denied the connections. In his 
Combatant Status Review Tribunal -- in which he 
pointed out that he is from a wealthy and 
influential family, is fluent in nine languages 
and is a renowned Islamic scholar -- he 
maintained that he was betrayed by one of four 
radical Islamists whom he met by accident on a 
trip to Indonesia in November 2001 to sort out 
family business after his father's death.

This account was backed up during an 
investigation by the 
Post, who concluded that he rented a house in 
Jakarta, and did nothing more sinister than 
visiting the local mosque, handing out business 
cards “identifying him as a Koran reader for an 
Islamic radio station,” and spending “hours on 
end watching television at a friend's house.” 
Succinctly summing up what happened to him, he 
told his tribunal, “After I went to Indonesia, I 
got introduced to some people who were not good. 
They were bad people. Maybe I can say they were 
terrorists. When someone gets introduced to 
someone, it is not written on their foreheads that they are bad or good.”

According to Ray Bonner of the 
York Times, the entire basis for Madni’s capture, 
rendition and torture was that Madni, described 
by an uncle in Lahore as a young man who “had a 
childish habit of trying to portray himself as 
important,” had made the mistake of telling the 
men he had met -- members of the Islamic Defender 
Front, an organization that espoused 
anti-Americanism, but had not been involved in an 
terrorist attacks -- that bombs could be hidden in shoes.

The comment was picked up by Indonesian 
intelligence agents, who were monitoring the men, 
and was relayed to the CIA, who decided to pick 
him up after Richard Reid’s failed shoe bomb 
attack a few weeks later. Although a US 
intelligence official confirmed Madni’s uncle’s 
account, calling Madni a “blowhard,” who “wanted 
us to believe he was more important than he was,” 
and another thought that he would be held for a 
few days, “then booted out of jail,” more senior 
officials clearly had other plans. Madni’s six 
and a half year ordeal, therefore, was based on a single ill-advised comment.

If Madni’s family are sufficiently well 
connected, it may well be that we haven’t heard 
the last of this particular story of the gruesome 
impact of torture arrangements between the United 
States and Egypt, based on inadequate 
intelligence, and the quiescent role of the 
Indonesian authorities. On the other hand, Madni, 
if released in Pakistan, may just want to rebuild 
his life in seclusion. This would be 
understandable, of course, but his abominable 
treatment deserves to be more than a mere 
footnote in the history of the Bush 
administration’s vile and unprincipled policies 
of “extraordinary rendition” and torture.

Andy Worthington is a British historian, and the 
author of 
Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 
Detainees in America's Illegal Prison' (published 
by Pluto Press). Visit his website at: 
He can be reached at: 
<mailto:andy at andyworthington.co.uk>andy at andyworthington.co.uk

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