Abu Zubaydah

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Abu Zubaydah is currently detained in Guantánamo Bay. He was falsely suspected of being a high-value member of al-Qaeda and the organisation’s Chief of Operations. The recent Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture stated that “The CIA later concluded that Abu Zubaydah was not a member of al-Qaid’ah”. He has been held in secret prisons around the world since 2002, and has never been charged with a crime. During his detention he was brutally tortured – both physically and psychologically.

Abu Zubaydah was abducted in Pakistan in March 2002. Initially regarded as the first “high value detainee”, he became the guinea pig for the “enhanced interrogation techniques” (otherwise known as torture) then being developed by the CIA. US government and other documents have shown that he was chained to a chair for weeks, forced into cramped boxes, smashed into the wall, kept awake for 11 consecutive days, and waterboarded 83 times in one month. Abu Zubaydah was a ghost prisoner, and his itinerary of detention at secret “black sites” between 2002 and 2006 included Thailand, Poland, Guantánamo Bay, Morocco and Lithuania.

In September 2006 he was transferred back to Guantánamo Bay. The US government has not charged Abu Zubaydah with any crime, and no longer asserts that he was a member of al-Qaeda. According to the recent Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture “The CIA later concluded that Aby Zubaydah was not a member of al-Qaid’ah.” Despite this, he remains detained in Cuba, without charge, and without hope of release. In August 2014, in response to a case filed by Reprieve and Abu Zubaydah’s legal team, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Poland had knowingly facilitated Abu Zubaydah’s secret detention and torture during 2002 and 2003. A second case on his behalf, against Lithuania, is in progress. The intensity and frequency of Abu Zubaydah’s torture make it vital that the sites of his abuse are exposed, if only to prevent the US and their allies from committing such acts again.

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