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Freed Mauritanian Guantanamo prisoner says was tortured

Agence France Press
October 3, 2007

A Mauritanian freed from the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay after five years of detention and flown back home last week said he was physically and morally tortured while imprisoned.

Mohamed Lemine Ould Sidi Mohamed, who was arrested in Peshawar, Pakistan in 2002, told the press Tuesday that he "suffered very tough physical and moral torture" before he was acquitted by a US tribunal.

He was freed from Guantanamo in April this year, but awaited repatriation clearance from Mauritania pending verification of his nationality.

"Other prisoners, simple innocent Muslims were also tortured, humiliated in their beliefs and their human dignity," he added.

Ould Sidi Mohamed was questioned by Mauritanian police for a week after US authorities handed him over on September 27. He met his family in the capital on Tuesday.

He told the press that US soldiers "urinated on the Koran" in the presence of prisoners. "After that we decided to no longer take it to our cells and only recited from memory.

Two other Mauritanians are still being held in Guantanamo, according to a non-governmental organisation here, the Popular Initiative for the Defense of Mauritanian Prisoners at Guantanamo.

Nearly 800 people were detained at the US military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba after US President George W. Bush launched the US-led "war on terror" in the wake of the September 11 attacks in the United States.

About 330 people are still being held there.

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