Rights group: Evidence of wider U.S. waterboarding

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At another point, he was stuffed into a 3 foot by 3 foot box resembling a footlocker and kept there for more than an hour as interrogators prodded him with long, thin objects through holes in the side of the box.

Both he and Mr. Sharif said they repeatedly were taken to a room where they were slammed against a wooden wall and punched in the abdomen.

Mr. al-Shoroeiya said one female American interrogator told him: “Now you are under the custody of the United States of America. In this place there will be no human rights. Since September 11, we have forgotten about something called human rights,” according to the report.

Mr. al-Shoroeiya described being waterboarded, though he did not use the term. He said he was put in a hood and strapped upside down on a wooden board. Freezing water was poured over his nose and mouth until he felt he was suffocating. During several half-hour interrogation sessions, they would waterboard him multiple times, asking him questions in between while a doctor monitored his body temperature.

“They wouldn’t stop until they got some sort of answer from me,” he told HRW.

Mr. al-Sharif described a similar technique. Instead of being strapped to a board, he was put on a plastic sheet with guards holding up the edges, while freezing water was poured over him, including onto his hooded face directly over his mouth and nose.

“I felt as if I were suffocating,” he told HRW. “I spent three months getting interrogated heavily … and they gave me a different kind of torture every day. Sometimes they used water, sometimes not.”

Asked about the new accounts, CIA spokeswoman Jennifer Youngblood said the agency “has been on the record that there are three substantiated cases” of the use of waterboarding.

She said she could not comment on the specific allegations but noted the Justice Department’s decision not to prosecute after it “exhaustively reviewed the treatment of more than 100 detainees in the post-9/11 period — including allegations involving unauthorized interrogation techniques.”

The Obama administration has ordered a halt to waterboarding and many of the severe techniques authorized by its predecessors.

Others of the 14 former detainees in the Human Rights Watch described similar conditions as Mr. al-Shoroeiya and Mr. al-Sharif, particularly three held in the same U.S.-led prisons in Afghanistan.

One of them, Majid Mokhtar Sasy al-Maghrebi, said he nearly went insane in isolation after months being shackled naked in dark, freezing cells with music blaring, pounding his head against the wall and screaming: “I want to die. Why don’t you just kill me?”

Another, detained in Mauretania, said that during interrogations by a foreigner he believed was American, his wife was brought to the detention center; his captors showed him his wife through a peephole and threatened to rape her if he did not cooperate.

Human Rights Watch said the U.S. failed in its post-9/11 campaign to distinguish between Islamists targeting the United States and those who “may simply have been engaged in armed opposition against their own repressive regimes.

“This failure risked aligning the United States with brutal dictators,” the report said.

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