Wed, Oct 18, 2006 - Page 6 News List

Turkish man talks about Guantanamo prison stay, torture

'NEAR DEATH' Murat Kurnaz, who was first detained by Pakistan and turned over to the US, said that he was strung up, kicked and shocked


A German-born Turkish citizen held for more than four years at the Guantanamo Bay prison run by the US military told his story again on Monday in an interview broadcast on German public television, saying he suffered abuse including electric shock, being hung up by his arms and kicked.

Murat Kurnaz traveled in October 2001 to Pakistan, where he was detained by Pakistani authorities and then turned over to the US.

He said he was held in Afghanistan and then was taken to Guantanamo Bay in eastern Cuba in January 2002.

Lawyers were first able to visit him in 2004.

He was released in August and is now back in his hometown of Bremen in northern Germany.

During the interview on ARD television, Kurnaz was shown pictures of a US base in Kandahar, Afghanistan as he recounted his experiences.

"By this bunker, here I was hung up by the hands," he said, pointing out a building in the photograph

He also said he was kicked and tortured with electric shocks and by having his head held under water in Afghanistan.

"I was near death," said Kurnaz, 24, who has not shaved the long beard and hair he grew during captivity. "I assumed I could die at any time ... my body couldn't bear it any more."

He said that during his captivity his interrogators told him he knew where Osama bin Laden was and accused him of being a close friend of Mohammed Atta, one of the Sept. 11, 2001 suicide pilots.

"The Americans told me that we had been educated in the same mosque and that we were very good friends," Kurnaz said in the interview. "I never met this man, I never knew him ... They wanted me to admit that I was from al-Qaeda."

In an interview with Stern magazine, Kurnaz recounted being tormented by being kept awake and exposed to cold and sexual humiliation by female guards.

He said his plans for the future included working and getting married again.

His wife divorced him while he was in Guantanamo, he said.

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