Johannesburg – Saud Memon, a man kidnapped by the FBI in South Africa, is listed on page 460 of the Torture Report as number 100 in the list of detainees held and tortured by the CIA between 2002 and 2008. As such, South African leaders who knew about the mechanisms of his detention, torture and death must be held accountable under international law.
South Africa signed the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in January 1993, and ratified it in December 1998.
“Memon’s horrific journey of torture and incarceration included South Africa on its list of stopovers,” said Karen Jayes, spokesperson for CAGE Africa. “As a result there are several questions that the South African security establishment must answer in relation to his case.”
Memon, a Pakistani national, owned the shed in which the body of slain journalist Daniel Pearl was found in 2002. He left the country for South Africa shortly after, where he was seized by the FBI in March 2003. He was kept in Guantanamo Bay for two years before being handed over to the Pakistani intelligence services, notorious for their human rights abuses.
Memon was then dumped back in his neighborhood in Pakistan in 2007, emaciated and unable to speak or recognize any of his family. He died in hospital 20 days later. Memon was never tried or formally charged in connection with Pearl’s death.
“We don’t know who had been holding him for the past over four years, but my brother had nothing to do with al-Qaeda or Daniel Pearl’s murder,” his brother Mahmood told AP.
His sister also denied that he had any links to or knowledge of Pearl’s death.
Memon was a wool trader. His disappearance and death is listed by Amnesty International in their 2008 country report on Pakistan as an example of that country’s violation of human rights.
Amnesty said it was “unclear where and in whose custody he had been held” after he was seized by the FBI in South Africa in 2003.
CAGE Africa has the following concerns in relation to Saud Memon’s case:
“It is no secret that torture has been banned internationally since 1984 when countries including the US ratified the UN Convention Against Torture. This of course makes the waves of shock and horror at the revelations in the CIA Torture Report more than a tad disingenuous,” said CAGE Africa member Shabnam Mayet.
“It is clear that the rendition and torture of Saud Memon took place with the full knowledge of the South African security establishment, and yet none of our leaders spoke out against it,” said Karen Jayes, spokesperson for CAGE Africa.
“Memon was renditioned from South Africa, detained, and tortured and there was no definitive proof under law that linked him to Pearl’s death.”
“There were periods where his location was unknown, so some of this detention and torture may have taken place at the two known black sites in South Africa. The South African government needs to answer questions around his arrest and detention – how long was he held here? Where was he held?”
“Allowing leaders to bow to the pressure of the United States and its allies even though they fly in the face of our obligations under our own constitution and under international law, sets a dangerous precedent for human rights in South Africa.”
Contact: Ms Karen Jayes
Phone: 084 648 1425
(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)