Murat Kurnaz describes systematic torture in Guantanamo

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Murat Kurnaz, a Turk born and raised in Germany, who was held in extrajudicial detention by the United States for five years, described systematic torture while held in the Guantanamo Bay detainment camp in Cuba.

Kurnaz alleges he was subjected to electric shocks, waterboarding, the technique of leading a victim to feel he was on the verge of drowning, being shackled to the ceiling for days on end, being denied food, one time for a period of twenty days.

Kurnaz's case first received widespread scrutiny in March of 2005, when his fully classified dossier was accidentally briefly declassified.

One allegation against Kurnaz was that he had been a friend of a man who killed himself during a suicide bombing mission. However the dossier revealed that his friend, the alleged suicide bomber, was alive and well and living in Germany. The Bremen Prosecutor's office had certified that his friend, who American intelligence analysts had initially alleged was a suicide bomber, was found to be innocent.

Another allegation was that he had traveled with a group of missionaries from the Pakistani missionary group Tablighi Jamaat. The files submitted on Kurnaz's behalf to his Administrative Rewiew Board by lawyers filing his writ of habeas corpus contained three letter from American professors of religious studies, who had studied the Tablighi Jamaat. The letters from these experts were consistent in their description of the Tablighi Jamaat as a large apolitical organization.

Unlike Christian missionary groups the Tablighi Jamaat only worked among fellow muslims. Missions consisted of traveling, in small groups, between mosques in foreign lands. The missionaries would discuss the practice of Islam in their various nations, and the practice of Islam in their host mosques.