A former Qatari detainee, accused by the US government of being involved in the planning of the September 11 attacks in 2001, says he had been tortured and abused during 13 years of incarceration on American soil.
According to Press TV, speaking for the first time after his release three years ago, Ali al-Marri said his FBI interrogators would restrain him using duct tape and subjecting him to what he described as “dry-boarding,” a torture technique which includes having socks stuffed down the throat.
“I have never experienced death, but I assume this is the nearest thing to dying,” he told the ITV News on Wednesday.
“You’re suffocating, you can see your life coming out of your face and you cannot even move,” he said.
The Qatari man alleged that threats were made to his wife and children while being held in solitary confinement.
“Threatening to sexually abuse me, threatening to rape my wife, threatening to bring in my kids, that’s torture. Threatening to send me to a black site, to become a military lab rat, choking me to near death. This is torture,” he said.
The former detainee also said he was subjected to sleep deprivation and forced nudity, among other extreme measures.
Al-Marri, who was in solitary confinement without charge for six years at a naval brig in South Carolina, said he was innocent and wanted his interrogators brought to account.
Al-Marri had traveled to the US with his wife and five children legally on 10 September 2001, the day before the attacks, to attend graduate school in Illinois.
He was initially charged with fraud based on information found on his computer, but the then-president George Bush declared him an “enemy combatant.”
Al-Marri has never answered the allegations. In 2009, he pleaded guilty in a civilian court to conspiracy to provide material support to al-Qaida and was jailed for 15 years, a sentence that took into account his previous captivity.
US government documents seen by ITV News said “On 11 March 2004, in response to al-Marri’s continuous chanting in Arabic, the lead interrogator wrapped duct tape over al-Marri’s mouth on three occasions.”
In a statement released to ITV News, the FBI said it “does not engage in torture and we maintain that rapport-building techniques are the most effective means of obtaining accurate information in an interrogation.”
Al-Marri was the only al-Qaeda-linked prisoner held outside the infamous Guantanamo Bay prison following the September 11 attacks.