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Sat 15 Mar 2008 03:24 PM

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Yemeni describes 3-year torture in US hands

Al-Maqtari never charged with crime, but subjected to numerous methods of torture.

A Yemeni national has revealed details of the US government's worldwide network of secret detention facilities, known as "black sites", and accused the superpower of torture following his release.

Speaking to rights group Amnesty International, Khaled Abdu Ahmed Saleh Al-Maqtari describes how he was held in CIA custody for nearly three years without ever being charged with any crime.

The 31-year-oldi said in comments released on Friday that he was subjected to numerous methods of torture, including prolonged isolation, repeating beatings, sleep deprivation, forced nudity, exposure to extremes of hot and cold, as well as sensory deprivation and overload.

“At no point during his 32-month confinement was Khaled Al-Maqtari told where he was or why. He did not have access to lawyers, relatives or any person other than his interrogators and the personnel involved in his detention and transfers," Anne Fitzgerald, senior adviser at Amnesty, said in a statement.

"This clearly violates the USA’s international obligations. The US government has a case to answer."

Amnesty said Al-Maqtari was arrested in Iraq in 2004 and initially held in the infamous Abu Ghraib prison west of Baghdad.

He was then transferred to a CIA secret prison in Afghanistan, and then, in April 2004, to a second secret prison in an unidentified country, possibly in Eastern Europe, the group said.

Amnesty said Al-Maqtari was held there in complete isolation for a further 28 months, before being sent to Yemen and eventually released in May last year.

The US has not acknowledged Al-Maqtari detention.

"Apart from transfers to Guantanamo, the CIA does not, as a rule, comment publicly on allegations of who may - or who may not - have been in its custody," CIA spokesman George Little told British broadcaster the BBC:

"The agency has run its terrorist detention and interrogation programme in accord with US law."

US President George W Bush in 2006 acknowledged the existence of CIA secret detention facilities, insisting that they were a vital tool in the war on terror and that prisoners were treated humanely and were not subjected to torture.