Mistreatment in Kandahar: Ex-Detainee Murat Kurnaz Describes Torture in Chains
The German-born Muslim Murat Kurnaz has made new allegations of mistreatment at prisons in Kandahar, Afghanistan, and Guantánamo Bay in testimony to a German parliamentary committee.
Bremen-born Murat Kurnaz in Berlin on Wednesday. The German-born Turkish citizen was held at Guantánamo for almost five years.
He said Wednesday that he had been suspended for several days in chains while in Kandahar and inspected by a doctor only for his "fitness to be tortured." He claimed a German-speaking interrogator gained regular access to him in both prisons dressed as a Red Cross worker, and that other prisoners in Kandahar were exposed -- either naked or in thin clothes -- to extreme cold.
Parliamentary members reported Kurnaz's claims to the German press on Wednesday. Elke Hoff, a member of the business-friendly FDP (Free Democrats) party, said Kurnaz's story was believable, and wanted to call witnesses from the Red Cross to learn whether one of the group's members -- or just one of its uniforms -- had been used to help interrogate Kurnaz.
Left Party member Paul Schäfer said Kurnaz's testimony had bolstered his suspicion that the Kandahar prison was a "hell before the hell" of Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
Kurnaz, a Turkish citizen born and raised in Bremen, Germany, was arrested in Pakistan shortly after Sept. 11, 2001 and sent to prison in Afghanistan. He was transfered to Guantánamo Bay in 2002, the same year US officials suggested he should go free for lack of evidence. The US released him only after a personal intervention by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Washington in 2006. Kurnaz now lives with his family in Bremen.
Kurnaz, who turned 24 on Thursday, is an embarrassment to US and German authorities because he spent so much time in the terrorist prisons Kandahar and Guantánamo without ever yielding evidence of belonging to a terrorist group.
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