US military jury denounces US treatment of Pakistani detainee, calls for clemency – world


Seven senior US military officers who last week sentenced a Guantanamo Bay inmate to 26 years in prison have appealed for leniency in his case, calling his torture by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) a “stain” on America in a letter published Sunday. .

In the first-ever public account of torture by a person detained in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, Pakistani national Majid Khan told the sentencing jury how he was raped, beaten and overwhelmed by CIA interrogators .

Khan was sentenced to the US Naval Base in Cuba on October 29, after pleading guilty to aiding al Qaeda plots in 2002.

But in a handwritten letter first published by The New York Times, seven of the eight-member sentencing jury officers denounced his treatment as “a stain on America’s moral fiber.”

The letter was confirmed at AFP as authentic by the military commissions of Guantanamo Bay.

“The panel members listed below recommend leniency in the case of Majid Shoukat Khan,” said the officers, who included six army and navy officers and one navy. They signed the letter with their jury numbers, remaining anonymous.

“Mr. Khan has committed serious crimes against the United States and partner countries. He pleaded guilty to these crimes and took responsibility for his actions. In addition, he expressed remorse for the impact of the victims and their families, ”they wrote.

It is unclear what impact the letter may have, remarkable as the position taken by all but one of the active-service members of the jury is.

Based on an earlier plea deal – which jurors were unaware of – Khan is set to be released as early as next year, after spending 19 years in US custody.

Khan was allowed to tell his story after agreeing not to release classified information. He described in a 39-page statement that he was tortured in Pakistan, Afghanistan and a third country after his capture in Karachi in March 2003.

“Mr. Khan has been subjected to physical and psychological abuse far beyond approved enhanced interrogation techniques,” the letter said. “This abuse had no practical value in terms of intelligence or any other tangible benefit to American interests.

The authors of the letter said the young Khan had been a “vulnerable target for recruiting extremists”, having mourned the loss of his mother at the time.

“Now, at 41 (…) he has remorse and is not a threat to future extremism,” the officers said.

Khan, who grew up in Pakistan and moved to the United States at the age of 16, attributed his decision to help al Qaeda to poor judgment.

“I am not the impressionable and vulnerable young boy I was 20 years ago,” he told the court. “I reject Al Qaeda, I reject terrorism.

His testimony about torture is supported by the US Senate’s own investigation into the CIA’s use of torture following the September 11, 2001 attacks.


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