Friday, March 18, 2005

Swedish Prisoner of Guantanamo Ghezali to sue Rumsfeld

Mehdi Ghezali has announced through his lawyer that he intends to sue US Secretary of State for Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, for damages. The Swede spent over two years in the Guantanamo Bay prison camp in Cuba under suspicion of membership of the al-Qaida terror network. No concrete evidence was ever produced and he was released in July last year. Ghezali is being represented by one of Sweden's most famous lawyers, Peter Althin. Althin had no qualms about aiming for one of the top figures in the American administration:

"We're talking about a figure in the millions. The issue is Secretary of State Rumsfeld and his subordinates... Damages would be some kind of consolation for Ghezali. It's not certain that he'll ever get over his ordeal." Althin is currently negotiating with an American legal firm to help bring the case to court.

Ghezali claims that in 2001 he had spent time in Pakistan and then Afghanistan studying Islam. When the Americans invaded Afghanistan, he was in Jalalabad and fled back to Pakistan. He was in a group of refugees which was then handed over to American forces on suspicion of belonging to al-Qaida.

In the book, Ghezali gives numerous examples of harsh treatment and torture. These include sexual harassment at the hands of a female guard, being exposed to extreme heat and cold and long periods of sleep deprivation. He describes being chained for up to 14 hours a day in a cold interrogation room: "After a while it got so cold my body started shaking uncontrollably. I couldn't stop the shaking." However, Ghezali claims that his ordeal did not end when he stepped off the plane in Sweden on 8 July last year. Hultén is just as indignant at the treatment the Swede has received in his home country.


At May 16, 2005 7:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What kind of treatment did he expect coming back to Sweden? He was a common criminal (convicted in a civilian court) before he went to his so called "religious studies" in Pakistan. No Swede with honor can find anything good in this SOB.


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