Five men whom the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) detained as part of its rendition, detention and interrogation program submitted this letter to the United Nations Committee Against Torture on November 9, 2014, in advance of the Committee’s review of the US record under the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Human Rights Watch documented these men’s cases extensively its 2012 report ‘Delivered Into Enemy Hands: US-Led Abuse and Rendition of Opponents to Gaddafi’s Libya.’ While this is not a letter from Human Rights Watch, its content is of significance to ongoing public discussions about the need for accountability for US abuses, including torture.

 

Patrice Gillibert, Secretary
United Nations Committee against Torture
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Palais Wilson
52 rue de Pâquis
1211 Geneva, Switzerland

9 November, 2014

Dear Mr. Gillibert:

We, the undersigned, were all held for between eight months and two years by the United States Central Intelligence Agency as part of its rendition, detention and interrogation program. During this time we were tortured and abused by US personnel. We will not detail the extent of the abuses we endured here. They are documented extensively in the Human Rights Watch report: “Delivered into Enemy Hands: US-Led Abuse and Rendition of Opponents to Gaddafi’s Libya.”[1] We only write now to request that when you review the US record of compliance with the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment on November 12 and 13 you ask the US delegation why the US did not interview any of us for the investigation the US cites in paragraph 135 of its 5th periodic report as an example of compliance with article 12 of the convention.

The investigation the US cites in its report is that undertaken by Special Prosecutor John Durham in 2009. The scope of that investigation encompassed only cases of abuse that supposedly went beyond the interrogation techniques that the US Department of Justice had authorized. Such an investigation should have included inquiries into the CIA abuses we endured, which in many cases went well beyond what the Justice Department authorized.

While Mr. Durham initially claimed to be looking into 101 cases, on July 30, 2011 the US announced the closure, with no charges, of 99 of those cases. The following year, on August 30, 2012, the US announced the closure, also without charges, of the remaining two cases, in which detainees died in US custody.

We believe our testimony would have been highly relevant to any investigation into the US use of torture. Indeed, the testimony of those subjected to the abuse being investigated is always highly relevant to any criminal inquiry. However, no US personnel ever sought or requested our testimony. The United States’ failure to do so raises serious questions about the thoroughness and adequacy of the Durham investigation, whether other important witnesses were also not interviewed for that inquiry, and whether the US has complied with obligations under article 12. We ask that you press the US delegation for answers in this regard.

Sincerely,

Mohammed Ahmed Mohammed al-Shoroeiya
Khalid al-Sharif
Majid Mokhtar Sasy al-Maghrebi
Saleh Hadiyah Abu Abdullah Di’iki
Mustafa Jawda al-Mehdi

 

[1] Human Rights Watch, Delivered Into Enemy Hands (New York: Human Rights Watch, 2012), https://www.hrw.org/reports/2012/09/05/delivered-enemy-hands, (accessed Nov. 9, 2014).