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Habib's claims backed by FBI agent

The Age
by Brendan Nicholson
May 22, 2008


AN FBI agent has described how she watched Australian detainee Mamdouh Habib vomit repeatedly during a lengthy interrogation session at Guantanamo Bay.

In a report prepared by the US Justice Department, the agent said that Mr Habib was interrogated in two 15-hour sessions with only a short break between them.

The agent, who was not named, said she was not bothered by Mr Habib's condition at the time, "but in retrospect she questioned whether the treatment of Habib was appropriate".

The report said the FBI agent told investigators she was certain the interrogators did not deliberately make Mr Habib sick.

Mr Habib told The Age last night he was pleased and relieved that the woman had confirmed that he was roughly handled. "I appreciate it."

Mr Habib said he would never forget the interrogation in April 2004. He said he vomited because he was feeling ill and very stressed.

He said that even now he felt ill remembering it. "Now, believe me, I am feeling sick."

The Justice Department report also includes a claim that Mr Habib was assaulted by a private-contract interrogator who belonged to the US company Lockheed Martin.

Last night, Mr Habib repeated his claim that a female interrogator splashed him with what he believed was menstrual blood. "There was big pressure on me. They were trying to make me admit anything," he said.

He said an Australian man who spoke Egyptian Arabic was also present and he believed he was working for an Australian intelligence agency.

Mr Habib said that in court ASIO insisted he had been treated very well at Guantanamo Bay, but that was a lie.

Since his release, Mr Habib, who was held for more than three years without trial, has consistently stated that he was tortured in Egypt, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Guantanamo.

Last month, Mr Habib lost a damages claim against the Federal Government over his treatment by Australian officials, although Justice Rod Madgwick said there was little doubt he was badly treated by Pakistani and US authorities.

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