Ex-Guantanamo prisoner briefs lawmakers

18th January 2007, Comments 0 comments

18 January 2007, Berlin (dpa) - A former Guantanamo inmate on Thursday briefed a German parliamentary committee investigating whether the country's security agencies breached German regulations while assisting US anti-terrorism operations after September 11. Murat Kurnaz, a German resident with Turkish citizenship, described his ordeal, following his arrest in Pakistan two months after the 2001 attacks in the United States. Clutching the microphone in his right hand, the bearded 24-year- old looked tense a

18 January 2007

Berlin (dpa) - A former Guantanamo inmate on Thursday briefed a German parliamentary committee investigating whether the country's security agencies breached German regulations while assisting US anti-terrorism operations after September 11.

Murat Kurnaz, a German resident with Turkish citizenship, described his ordeal, following his arrest in Pakistan two months after the 2001 attacks in the United States.

Clutching the microphone in his right hand, the bearded 24-year- old looked tense as he recounted the four-and-a-half years he spent as Prisoner No 061 at the US detention centre on Cuba before his release in August 2006.

Avoiding direct eye contact with the panel, he recalled acts of physical and psychological abuse by his US captors that included being sprayed with "knock-out" gas and chained for 12 hours day.

Kurnaz also described how after his arrest in Pakistan he was handed over to US authorities who took him to Afghanistan and then to Guantanamo Bay where he was also interrogated by German intelligence agents.

Kurnaz had earlier claimed that while in Afghanistan, US forces allowed him to be quizzed by two members of the German Special Forces Command, KSK, one of whom pulled his hair, banged his head on the floor and stamped on him.

The former inmate had previously described his ordeal at the hands of the German soldiers in Afghanistan during a meeting with members of the European parliament last November.

German prosecutors have launched an investigation into two soldiers after Kurnaz identified one of them from photographs. The second soldier was on duty at the same time as the man Kurnaz picked out.

The parliamentary panel is looking into claims that US authorities offered to release Kurnaz in October 2002 after concluding that he was not a terrorist, but that Germany refused to take him back.

Kurnaz's lawyer Bernhard Docke told the panel that Germany's former government under Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder shared the blame for extending his client's imprisonment.

The decision not to allow Kunatz to return to Germany was reportedly taken by the then head of the BND foreign intelligence service, whose boss at the time was Germany's current foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

DPA

Subject: German news

0 Comments To This Article