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“I saw many people get killed under torture in Kandahar”

RT has a new interview with Murat Kurnaz, the former Guantanamo prisoner who wrote about his experiences in Five Years of My Life: An Innocent Man in Guantanamo. Kurnaz, a Turkish citizen and German resident, has been one the more outspoken former detainees since his release in August 2006.

Last March, Kurnaz told the German press about the forcible use of drugs on detainees at Guantanamo, including the administration of anti-malarial medications. One article at DW World cited investigatory stories by Jason Leopold and myself on the use of the controversial drug mefloquine on all the Guantanamo detainees.

In the RT video, Kurnaz talks about his stay in Kandahar, imprisoned by the U.S. military before he was shipped to Guantanamo. He was age 19.

“In Kandahar,” Kurnaz says, “was happening all kinds of things, what you can just imagine under torture. I saw many people get killed under torture in Kandahar.”

It has long been believed that there were many more deaths under torture, or other circumstances the U.S. would rather not reveal, than has been admitted. In an article last December, I revealed one of the few pieces of documentary evidence of such deaths at Guantanamo in the earliest weeks of the prison camp’s operation. Despite the reports of former detainees such as Murat Kurnaz, or evidence unearthed by researchers like myself, the issue of the deaths has failed to gain the attention of government or human rights investigators, much less the press.

Kurnaz also says that in the U.S. prison in Afghanistan, electroshock was administered to get him to confess he was with the Taliban and Al Qaeda. He was also subjected to a form of “water treatment” he says some would call waterboarding. Kurnaz is among a number of Guantanamo prisoners who have described some kind of waterboarding or other kind of “water treatment” or “water torture” meant to simulate drowning or cause suffocation.

The issue of Department of Defense use of waterboarding or “water treatment” — something that is officially denied by the government — will be the subject of a major new story I’ll have out in the next day or so.

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Jeff Kaye

Jeff Kaye

Jeffrey Kaye is a psychologist in private practice in San Francisco, where he works with adults and couples in psychotherapy. He worked over 10 years professionally with torture victims and asylum applicants. Active in the anti-torture movement since 2006, he has his own blog, Invictus. He has published previously at Truthout, Alternet, and The Public Record.