After 16 years detained in Guantánamo, a Pakistani prisoner was released and sent to Belize

The Pakistani Majid Khan was released and sent to Belize after spending 16 years detained in the Guantánamo prison (AFP)

A Pakistani man who was tortured by the CIA and held in the US prison at Guantanamo Bay for 16 years after admitting to helping al Qaeda has been released and sent to Belize, military sources announced Thursday.

Majid KhanCaptured by US authorities in 2003 and interrogated by US intelligence for three years before being sent to Guantanamo, he admitted in a 2012 plea deal that he participated in a plot to assassinate the President of Pakistan and act as a courier for money for finance a bomb attack on an Indonesian hotel.

But, as one of the “high-value” US prisoners captured after the September 11, 2001 Al Qaeda attacks on the United StatesKhan, now 42, was sentenced just two years ago.

He was officially sentenced to 26 years in prison, but was promised release in 2022 based on his original plea agreement.

At his sentencing hearing, Khan became the first of the “high value” prisoners to testify before a US military court about the torture he was subjected to.

He told the court that he was held for days partially suspended in chains, without food or clothing, and repeatedly beaten and raped by CIA interrogators.

Khan said he admitted early on to what he had done, but the abuse continued for years. “The more I cooperated and told them, the more they tortured me,” he said.

Guantanamo Base where the trial against the defendants of 9/11 is held.
A human rights expert will travel in the coming days to the Guantánamo military prison, for the first time after two decades of requesting it (Getty Images) (Joe Raedle /)

Wells Dixona lawyer with the Center for Constitutional Rights who has represented Khan since 2006, said he was “thrilled” by the announcement.

For its part, the UN announced on Wednesday that a human rights expert will travel in the next few days to the US military prisonfor the first time after two decades of requesting it.

The Special Rapporteur on human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, Fionnuala Ní Aoláinwill carry out a “technical visit” to the United States starting February 6, the UN said in a statement.

From February 6 to 14, this Irish expert, sent by the Human Rights Council but not speaking on behalf of the UN, will travel to Washington and then to the detention center at the US military base at Guantanamo Bay, in the southeast. from the island of Cuba.

The expert will publish a statement, which will include conclusions and recommendations, at the end of her visit.

On March 15, 2022, he announced that he had received a prior invitation from Washington to organize a technical visit.

Throughout the three months that will follow his trip, Ní Aoláin will carry out a series of interviews with different people in the United States and abroad, on a voluntary basis, especially with victims and relatives of the victims of the 9/11 attacks. September 2001 and former detainees at Guantanamo.

Independent UN human rights experts have sought access to this military prison since its opening in 2002 to detainees of the “war on terrorism” that the United States is waging after the 9/11 attacks.

The center has become a highly contentious issue for Washington, accused of illegal detention, violation of human rights and torture. It has come to house up to 800 “prisoners of war”, most of them imprisoned with imprecise evidence of their involvement.

There are currently around forty detainees left.

With information from AFP

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