Seven US military officers, who heard the graphic descriptions last week of the brutal treatment meted out to a Pakistani detainee at the hands of CIA, have urged that he be granted clemency in a letter addressed to the officer who will review the case, The New York Times reported on Monday.
The officers, all but one member of an eight-member military jury, condemned the US government’s conduct in the letter on behalf of Majid Khan, a Baltimore high school graduate turned Qaeda courier.
“Mr. Khan was subjected to physical and psychological abuse well-beyond approved enhanced interrogation techniques, instead of being closer to torture performed by the most abusive regimes in modern history,” the jury members wrote in a letter addressed to the Arkansas National Guard’s Colonel Jeffrey Wood, the convening authority of the military commission.
“This abuse was of no practical value in terms of intelligence, or any other tangible benefit to US interests. Instead, it is a stain on the moral fiber of America; the treatment of Mr. Khan in the hands of U.S. personnel should be a source of shame for the US government,” they continued, according to The Times.
Read Pakistani detainee at Guantanamo tells ‘US military court of CIA torture’
The harsh rebuke comes after the Guantanamo Bay detainee testified last Thursday on the abuse he suffered while in the CIA’s overseas prison network between 2003 and 2006.
He said he had been subjected to waterboarding, forced enemas and feedings, as well as other forms of sexual and physical abuse.
Majid Khan said that even while he cooperated with officials, he continued to endure more abuse. “Instead, the more I cooperated, the more I was tortured,” he said.
The seven jury members wrote that Khan had been a “vulnerable target for extremist recruiting” because he had been reeling from the death of his mother at the time. They argued that he was no longer an extremism threat and was remorseful of his past actions.
The jury sentenced Khan to 26 years, the lowest allowed according to the court’s instructions.
Sentencing was delayed for nearly a decade after his guilty plea to give Khan time and opportunity to cooperate with federal and military prosecutors, so far behind the scenes, in federal and military terrorism cases.
In the intervening years, prosecutors and defense lawyers clashed in court filings over who would be called to testify about Khan’s abuse in CIA custody, and how.
The panel was provided with nine letters of support for Khan from family members, including his father and several siblings — American citizens who live in the United States — as well as his wife, Rabia, and daughter, Manaal, who was born in Pakistan and live there.