Survivors of CIA Torture Still Waiting for Justice | The Center for Victims of Torture

Survivors of CIA Torture Still Waiting for Justice

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Chelsea Matson is a CVT Communications Intern

“I was confined in a small, freezing cold, pitch black cell. I was kept naked for weeks. I was deprived of hygiene for months, refused a shower or to cut my hair or nails. My hands and feet were shackled to the cell wall by metal shackles. Loud western music blared constantly. I was starved. I didn’t see sunlight for months. I was refused use of the bathroom, instead forced to use a bucket left in the room.” This testimony is from Mr. Mohamed al Shuraeiya bin Saud, who was kidnapped from his home in Pakistan in 2003, enduring physical and psychological torture for eight years at the hands of the CIA and Libyan intelligence agents. This past week, on October 23, an audio recording of Mohamed’s testimony was presented at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’ hearing on the “Human rights situation of persons affected by the U.S. Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation Program.”

The hearing was requested by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Global Justice Clinic (GJC) and had several distinguished testifiers, including the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment Juan Méndez. All testifiers, including Mohamed, called for greater transparency and accountability for CIA torture committed during U.S. counterterrorism operations after 9/11.

Having worked with over 30,000 torture and war trauma survivors over 30 years, CVT understands the necessity of rehabilitative services for torture survivors, and the importance of accountability in the fight to end torture. Under Article 14 of the Convention against Torture (CAT), survivors of torture have the right to redress and the right to full rehabilitative care. As Jamil Dakwar of the ACLU pointed out in his testimony, “Victims of the CIA torture program have received no official acknowledgment of their suffering, apology for the wrongs inflicted upon them, compensation for their mistreatment, or assistance in recovering from their physical and psychological injuries.” While the U.S. has made some progress to correct the injustices committed during this dark chapter of American history, much more needs to be done to heal survivor’s wounds and prevent U.S. officials from torturing again in the future. CVT recommends the following:

  • Anti-torture legislation included in this year’s Defense Authorization bill should be passed into law in order to strengthen the prohibition against torture in U.S. law and practice
  • The Senate Intelligence Committee’s complete report on the CIA torture program should be fully released
  • Appendix M of the Army Field Manual on Human Intelligence should be eliminated
  • Credible allegations of torture and abuse should be fully investigated and prosecuted where necessary
  • Victims of U.S. torture should have an effective right to a remedy, including the right to rehabilitation


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