Thursday, June 12, 2008

U.K. rights group: U.S. has photographic evidence of torture

U.K. rights group: U.S. has photographic evidence of torture

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The U.S. government has photographic evidence that a Guantanamo Bay inmate was tortured with a knife after being taken to Morocco by U.S. forces, a British human rights group said Tuesday.

Reprieve said their client, Binyam Mohamed, had his genitals slashed repeatedly with a doctor's scalpel while in custody in Morocco after he was flown there from Pakistan by American officials in 2002. It also said his U.S. captors later took pictures of the abuse to show authorities that his wounds were healing.

Mohamed, an Ethiopian national and former British resident, is charged by the United States with plotting with al-Qaeda to bomb American apartment buildings.

Reprieve maintains the charge is based on information coerced from Mohamed using torture.

Reprieve quoted Mohamed as saying that an American female photographed his wounds before he boarded a plane in the Moroccan city of Rabat on the night of Jan. 21, 2004.

"When she saw the injuries I had she gasped. She said: 'Oh, my God, look at that!' Then all her mates looked at what she was pointing at and I could see the shock and horror in her eyes," Mohamed was quoted as saying. "Later, when I was in Afghanistan, they took more pictures. They were treating me, and one of them explained that the photos were 'to show Washington it's healing."'

Reprieve said Mohamed's account was confirmed by an unidentified journalist it says spoke with a U.S. intelligence agent who saw the photographs. The group has urged the United States not to destroy them.

Reprieve provides legal aid to many current and former Guantanamo inmates and is a fierce opponent of the military tribunal system set up to prosecute some of the men held there, saying it is designed to cover up U.S. use of torture to secure confessions.

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