Algerian sues US for Guantanamo detention

23rd May 2011, Comments 0 comments

An Algerian said Monday he was suing US former president George W. Bush in French courts for his detention as a suspected terrorist for eight years in the Guantanamo Bay prison camp.

Saber Lahmar, 42, said he was picked up by US agents in 2001 in Bosnia, where he worked teaching Arabic, and held in the US camp for eight years "like an animal" and released without charge in 2009. He now lives in France.

US authorities accused him of planning to fight against US and coalition forces in Afghanistan.

He told AFP he was tortured in the camp by techniques including sleep deprivation, electric shocks and simulated drowning.

"I would have liked to have something to admit to, but there was nothing. I wished I understood what they were looking for, but they didn't seem to know themselves," he said.

A judge in Washington in 2008 ruled there was no evidence of the Afghanistan plan and ordered Lahmar and four others be freed. He was handed over nine months later to France where he lives in the southwestern city of Bordeaux.

Lahmar said he was bringing a judicial complaint in French courts against Bush and the US authorities for detaining him without justification.

Before his arrest Lahmar lived with his two-year-old son and Bosnian wife, who had their second child while he was in detention.

His lawyer Pierre Blazy said his client could prove he had suffered "enormous and uncontestable harm."

© 2011 AFP

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