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Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi

January 8, 2014
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<div class="field_c_p_img"><div><b>Image:</b></div></div><p>Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi&#39;s case is perhaps the most notorious and controversially stark example of what happens when the use of torture is justified by the state. Following &#39;Operation Enduring Freedom&#39; only a handful of alleged Al-Qaeda members were not sent to Guantanamo and became &#39;disappeared&#39;. Al-Libi was one of them.</p><h2>Background and Circumstances of Arrest:</h2><div>Libyan-born Ali Mohamed al-Fakhiri, better known as Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi was previously in charge of Afghanistan&#39;s Khaldan training camp &ndash; which closed down in 1999. In November 2001, he was seized by coalition forces as he attempted to cross the Afghan-Pakistan border, and thereafter handed over to the US military in Afghanistan for a bounty. However, his capture wasn&#39;t announced until January 2002 when he was hailed as a high profile al-Qaeda member. Although al-Libi did run the training camp, it is now clear neither he, nor the Khaldan camp, were part of Al-Qaeda, as later confirmed by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in September &nbsp;2006.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><h2>Extraordinary Rendition</h2><div>After his capture, al-Libi became a victim of the CIA&#39;s extraordinary rendition. A ghost prisoner, it is believed he was flown to seven different locations around the world including a US warship, Egypt, Mauritania, Morocco, Jordan and secret CIA-run prisons in Afghanistan.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><h2>Egypt and the Case for War</h2><div>In early 2002, al-Libi was transported from Afghanistan to Egypt whilst bound tightly in a coffin. In Egyptian prisons he underwent severe torture including water boarding and mock burial &ndash; a method by which prisoners are kept in a box less than 20 inches high. His interrogators persistently questioned him about the link between Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda but al-Libi said that he &quot;knew nothing&quot; and that he &quot;had difficulty even coming up with a story.&quot;</div><div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>It was only after the mock burial, which lasted 17 hours, and the interrogators giving him one &quot;last opportunity&quot; to &quot;tell the truth&quot; and severe beatings for15 minutes that al-Libi concocted a story his interrogators wanted to hear. Al-Libi&rsquo;s &lsquo;confession&rsquo; connected Saddam Hussein to Al-Qaeda in the training and acquirement of biological and chemical weapons. This false confession was cited by the Bush Administration to the UN Security Council as &lsquo;credible evidence&rsquo; and became a major justification for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In Feb 2002, a US Defense Intelligence Agency report conceded that the confession was a fabrication. One year later al-Libi retracted his entire story when he was returned to CIA custody, in Feb 2004. Remarkably, unlike other High Value Detainees (HVD) &ndash; like Abu Zubaydah who is said to have been involved in the running of Khaldan &ndash; al-Libi was not sent to Guantanamo. Clearly al-Libi&rsquo;s presence in its most infamous prison would have proved highly embarrassing and potentially damning for the US administration.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><h2>CIA Secret Detentions</h2><div>From Egypt, al-Libi was transferred to a secret prison in Mauritania. Reports suggest that he was also sent to Poland but that when the secret detentions were discovered in Europe, Mauritania was chosen as a more plausibly deniable option.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>After Mauritania, al-Libi was flown to Morocco and then to Jordan where he was detained in a facility run by the GID (General Intelligence Department). It is reported that in an attempt to prevent al-Libi from knowing where he was being held, dark-skinned guards dressed in green trousers and yellow shirts were brought in to make him believe he was in sub-Saharan Africa.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Al-Libi was then rendered back to Afghanistan in late 2003 and held in 3 separate CIA-run prisons; namely &#39;The Hangar&#39; inside Baghram airbase, the &#39;Dark Prison&#39; located near Kabul and another in the Panjshir Valley.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In these proxy prisons, it is believed al-Libi was subjected to severe torture and extreme interrogation techniques. With the use of torture, he was persistently questioned by US interrogators at their behest about other prisoners and suspects.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><h2>Libya</h2><div>It is uncertain how long al-Libi was last held in Afghanistan, but in the spring of 2006, he was handed over to Libyan authorities who then sentenced him to life imprisonment in a closed court.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><h2>Death</h2><div>After more than 7 years of torture and secret detention, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi was found dead in Libya&#39;s Abu Salim prison, with no mention of when exactly he died. Later news reports from the Libyan newspaper Oea (owned by one of President al-Gaddafi&#39;s sons) stated that he had committed suicide by hanging. In the absence of an independent autopsy report, few people believe this assertion</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>On 27th April, just two weeks before his death, al-Libi was visited by two Human Rights Watch (HRW) researchers but he refused to speak to them saying, &quot;Where were you when I was being tortured in American prisons?&quot; He then walked away in anger. He was last visited on 29th April 2009 by family members. Al-Libi was aged 46 and suffering from tuberculosis and diabetes when he died. But it is undoubtedly the secret detention programme that took his life</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The case of al-Libi should serve as a stark reminder about what happens when torture is used as a method to garner information &ndash; even in the name of &lsquo;national security&rsquo; &ndash; especially when governments have evidently conspired to conceal the facts.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Sarah Leah Whitson from HRW said about his case, &quot;The world will never hear his account of the brutal torture he experienced&quot;.</div><div>&nbsp;</div></div><div>&nbsp;</div></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div></div><div>&nbsp;</div>

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Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi
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Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi
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