Guantanamo Bay’s ‘most tortured man’ was ‘sexually abused by female guards’

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A man believed to be Guantanamo Bay's "most tortured prisoner" has spoken out about the 14 years of horrific abuse he suffered within its walls.

Mohamedou Ould Slahi spent a decade and a half in the world's most notorious detention centre, shackled in a 6ft by 8ft cell when he wasn't being subjected to elaborate methods of physical and mental punishment.

That's despite the fact he was never charged with a crime.

As a young man he moved from Mauritania to study in Germany, where he fell in with a group of Muslims who convinced him to join the mujahidin fighting in Afghanistan.

He lasted only two months before going back to Germany to finish his degree, but over the years maintained unwitting connections with jihadists including his cousin who was Osama bin Laden's spiritual adviser.

After the September 11 attacks in 2001, Mr Sahil was living in Mauritania when he received a summons from the nation's spy chief, and was flown to Jordan where he was kept in a secret prison for six months.

Then it was on to Bagram, Afghanistan, where he was interrogated by US soldiers demanding he tell them where Bin Laden was.

His protestations that he'd never met the man fell on deaf ears and he was tied to 33 other detainees and loaded on a plane to Cuba, location of the infamous Guantanamo Bay.

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Once there he was interrogated and shown pictures of the 9/11 masterminds, who had stayed one night at his apartment in 1999. This was enough to convince officers of his guilt and the US military took charge of his imprisonment.

That's when the real torture began, Mr Slahi told The Times.

He endured 24-hour interrogation sessions, in between which he was locked in a pitch black cell kept icy cold. He was alternately starved and force-fed and when he told guards he suffered sciatic nerve pain, they kept him in stress positions to make the pain worse.

He says he was also sexually abused by female guards, which he says was "painful and humiliating" and left him permanently scarred.

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But the worst moment came when he claimed the guards showed him a forged letter claiming his mother was in US custody and said they planned to rape her.

"Three masked guys came in with a snarling German shepherd and started beating me really heavily," he said.

"They blindfolded me. I couldn't breathe and later found out I had broken ribs. They took me on a boat and started forcing my head into the sea to swallow seawater.

"Then they gave me to another team of two… who kept beating me, then poured ice cubes between my clothes, then beat me again, then more ice. This went on maybe seven or eight hours."

After this particularly excruciating session Mr Sahil decided to confess to a crime he claims he hadn't really committed to make the abuse stop, claiming he'd planned to blow up Toronto's CN Tower.

From then his treatment improved — he was given a pillow, painkillers and a letter from his mother.

But he was still imprisoned without hope of freedom until two lawyers met with him in 2005, and were horrified by his situation.

Five years later in 2010 a judge ruled he must be released but the US government appealed to keep him locked up. It wasn't until 2016, after a book about his ordeal became a bestseller, that Mr Sahil was allowed to walk free after 14 years.

He's still haunted by flashbacks, and bizarrely finds it comforting to listen to the rap songs that were pumped into his cell at full volume to prevent him from sleeping.

Mr Sahil is now living back in Mauritania. He wants to join his wife and son in Germany, but he's been denied multiple visas — including by the UK.

  • Military
  • Islam
  • Terror

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