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CIA 'used beatings and Westlife song to torture Tanzanian fisherman Suleiman Abdullah'

Published 14/10/2015

Former US military psychologists, devised a torture plan in which his interrogators doused him in ice-cold water, beat him and hung him from a metal rod (File pic)
Former US military psychologists, devised a torture plan in which his interrogators doused him in ice-cold water, beat him and hung him from a metal rod (File pic)

A Tanzanian fisherman is among the survivors who have taken a federal case against the psychologists responsible for implementing the CIA’s torture programme, which included playing Westlife’s hit ‘My Love’ on repeat at an ear-splitting volume.

Suleiman Abdullah was captured by a Somali warlord in 2003 before he was handed over to the CIA as it was suggested he was a threat to the United States.

For five weeks psychologists James Michell and Bruce Jessen, formerly US military psychologists, devised a torture plan in which his interrogators doused him in ice-cold water, beat him and hung him from a metal rod where his toes could barely touch the floor.

“His interrogators would intersperse a syrupy song called My Love with heavy metal, played on repeat at ear splitting volume,” a blog published by the American Civil Liberties Union states.

“They told Suleiman, a newly wed fisherman from Tanzania, that they were playing the love song especially for him. Suleiman had married his wife Magida only two weeks before the CIA and Kenyan agents abducted him in Somalia, where he had settled while fishing and trading around the Swahili Coast. He would never see Magida again.”

Suleiman revealed that he was starved, deprived of sleep, and stuffed inside small boxes while he was interrogated about his reasons for being in Somalia.

According to a blog published by the American Civil Liberties Union, innocent Suleiman was driven to an attempt on his own life before guards transferred him hooded and shackled a short distance to a CIA prison.

Two years and two months later the fisherman was transferred to the US military where he was imprisoned at Bagram in Afghanistan until 2008.

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After five years in US custody, Suleiman was released and sent home with a document which confirmed he posed no threat to the United States.

Suleiman’s family presumed him dead and his new wife Magida has never been located. The survivor suffers from constant flashbacks of his unimaginable time at the hands of his interrogators, is unable to eat normally after years of near starvation and is unaccustomed to human interaction.

Torture survivors Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud and Gul Rahman join Suleiman in the federal suit against the psychologists filed in Spokane, Washington this year.

Irish Independent

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