A German-born Turkish man held at the U.S. prison camp for terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay had his head forced under water, was tortured with electric shocks and was sexually humiliated by female interrogators, his attorneys said Wednesday.
The Pentagon did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Lawyers for Murat Kurnaz, 22, said recently obtained declassified U.S. intelligence documents point to his innocence and show that their client is being held even though the United States knows he has no connection to al-Qaida.
Baher Azmy, who said he has met with Kurnaz for 30 hours during the past few months, urged the German government to press for his release. Kurnaz is believed to have been captured in Pakistan after traveling there in October 2001.
Kurnaz’s description of alleged torture while in Guantanamo and Afghanistan matched information given by other prisoners, Azmy said.
“They dunked his head in a bucket of water to simulate drowning,” Azmy said at a press conference. “They gave him electric shocks through his feet. Once an officer pointed a rifle at his head to force him to confess to being an associate of Mohamed Atta,” the lead Sept. 11 hijacker, who lived and studied in Hamburg.
Another time, three female interrogators entered his cell wearing underwear while he was restrained, according to Azmy and Germany attorney Bernhard Docke. One of them, they said, put her arms around him from behind and put her hand inside his shirt.
She asked if he wanted to “have fun,” the lawyers said. When he threw his head back at her, knocking her down, a riot-helmeted security team entered and took him to solitary confinement, where he was kept with his hands restrained behind his back, they said.
Kurnaz also claimed to have been kept without food for six days, the lawyers said.
Al-Qaida connection denied
Azmy said the U.S. documents show German authorities did not believe Kurnaz was connected to the German al-Qaida faction. Those documents show interrogators have “no definite link or evidence of a connection to al-Qaida, the Taliban or a specific threat,” Azmy said.
Docke said Kurnaz also had been questioned by German intelligence officials, which is also mentioned in U.S. documents.
“The Germans have confirmed that the detainee had no connection to an al-Qaida cell in Germany,” Azmy quoted the statements as saying, referring to the Hamburg cell led by Atta.
Some 550 prisoners are being held at the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay, most of them held without charge for more than two years.