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Ex-Guantanamo Bay detainee describes torture allegations

[JURIST] Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Murat Kurnaz [Amnesty profile; JURIST news archive], a Turkish citizen born in Germany, detailed his allegations that he was tortured while in US custody in Afghanistan and at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] in a new interview to air Sunday on CBS' 60 Minutes. Kurnaz told 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley that he was exposed to extreme temperatures, hung upside down from the ceiling of an airplane hangar for five days, and submerged under water while being beaten by his interrogators. Kurnaz, detained until 2006, also said that the abuse continued even after US authorities determined in 2002 that he was not a terrorist and should be released. Responding to CBS by e-mail, the Department of Defense [official website] said that detainees are treated humanely and that credible claims of abuse are thoroughly investigated, but that Kurnaz's allegations were "unsubstantiated", "implausible", and "simply outlandish." Kurnaz's abuse claims echo similar allegations he made while still in custody at Guantanamo in 2005 and following his release [JURIST reports].

Kurnaz spent almost five years at Guantanamo Bay before being returned to Germany in August 2006 after German authorities pressed for his release [JURIST reports]. Declassified documents released in December showed that a Combatant Status Review Tribunal at Guantanamo ignored evidence clearing Kurnaz [JURIST report] of terrorist connections. The evidence included a memo [PDF] from 2002 in which a German intelligence officer wrote that the US had considered Kurnaz's "innocence to be proven" and a 2005 opinion [PDF] from US District Court for the District of Columbia Judge Joyce Hens Green that held that Kurnaz did not receive "fair opportunity to contest the material allegations against him." CBS News has more.

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