Gitmo prisoner sues to get torture video

From the Washington Post, April 14:

A detainee at a U.S. military prison alleges that U.S. military guards
jumped on his head until he had a stroke that paralyzed his face,
nearly drowned him in a toilet and later broke several of his fingers,
according to a lawsuit filed yesterday in federal court.

The detainee, Mustafa Ait Idr, 34, an Algerian citizen living in
Bosnia, has been held at the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba,
for three years on suspicion that he plotted to bomb the U.S. Embassy
in Bosnia. The lawsuit, filed by his attorneys in federal court in
Boston, alleges that the government has probably videotaped Idr’s
beatings and demands that it produce any such tapes and all records of
alleged torture and interrogation tactics at the detention facility.

The lawyers asked for the material seven months ago under the Freedom
of Information Act. The lawsuit asserts that the Defense and Justice
departments are refusing to provide the material.

A Defense Department representative, speaking on condition of
anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject, said the
department does not comment on individual detainees’ cases and could
not comment on the lawsuit because it had not yet received it.

Idr described the alleged abuse to his attorneys when they visited him
in Cuba recently. His account of the beatings is very similar to
written military summaries of the incidents, according to the lawsuit.

The military videotaped the work of teams of prison guards responsible
for quelling disturbances by detainees and created written summaries
of the material on the tapes. More than two dozen detainees have
alleged in declassified accounts given to their attorneys that the
teams’ real purpose was to force them to confess or cooperate with

“The departments of Defense and Justice must explain how these abuses
happened and take action,” said Avi Cover, senior associate at Human
Rights First, an advocacy group.

Idr was accused of plotting with five others to blow up the U.S.
Embassy in Sarajevo in November 2001. All were acquitted by a Bosnian
court in January 2002, but U.S. agents arrested them as they left the
courthouse and eventually took them to Guantanamo Bay.

See our last blog posts on the ongoing torture scandal, the government roadblocks and the possible war crimes charges.