US troops tortured me, ex-Iraqi detainee tells tribunal

KUALA LUMPUR - A former Iraqi detainee told a War Crimes Tribunal that he was tortured in Baghdad during questioning by American troops, who had demanded names of "terrorists" in his neighbourhood during the invasion to oust strongman Saddam Hussein in August 2005.

Abbas Abid, who is the tribunal's first witness, said he was brought to the Al-Muthanna Brigade headquarters, where he was beaten, electrocuted and threatened of being shot after the soldiers failed to obtain any names.

The 48-year-old former chief engineer of Iraq's Science and Technology Ministry, who gave his testimonial with his face covered with a scarf, said he and seven other detainees were then transferred to Al Jadiria secret prison, which was formerly an underground shelter.

"There, the soldiers hanged me from the wall while they put weights on my penis for long hours.

"They extracted my fingernails, forced me to drink a lot of water mixed with diuretic solution and my penis was then tied with rubber band to prevent me from urinating," he said at a public hearing held in an open court at the Kuala Lumpur Foundation to Criminalise War (KLFCW) here yesterday.

When asked by Prof Gurdial Singh Nijar, who led the prosecution, Abbas said he could no longer have children following the torture.

"When we first got married, my wife and I had planned to have 15 children, but now our dream has been shattered," he said, adding that his wife lost two children while he was detained.

The tribunal began hearing the second charge of Crime of Torture and War Crimes against former US president George W. Bush and his associates, among them former US vice-president Dick Cheney and former secretary of defence Donald Rumsfeld.

Second witness Moazzam Begg, 43, said he was brought to Guan­tanamo Bay in February 2003 after being detained at the Bagram airbase detention facility in Afghanistan for 11 months.

He said he was shackled in a chained suit and mask, adding that his 20-hour journey to the detention centre was so painful that he had to plead for a sedative from the soldiers.

The hearing continues today.

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