CIA sent me to be tortured in Afghan prison, says Algerian

Testimony by an Algerian national caught up in the CIA's extraordinary rendition programme, held for 16 months in secret prisons and later released without charge, has revealed how he was chained by the wrists and ankles and left hanging from the roof of a torture chamber for hours on end.

Laid Saidi said he was rendered by US officials from Tanzania to Afghanistan in May 2003 and kept in a prison outside Kabul for more than a year before being returned to Algeria via Tunisia.

In an interview with The New York Times, Mr Saidi, 43, told how he was kept in a cell "not even suitable for animals" and regularly tortured by guards, some of whom spoke English, which he understands slightly. "They beat me and threw cold water on me, spat at me and sometimes gave me dirty water to drink," he said.

The revelations will add to pressure on the United States to explain its use of rendition, which has been condemned by human rights groups as "torture by proxy" and strained relations between America and its allies.

The US government has refused to comment on Mr Saidi's case, but the Algerian seems to have raised suspicions through his work in Tanzania for al-Haramain, a Saudi-based international Islamic charity, suspected by the US of funding terrorism. He was also working on a fraudulent Tunisian passport at the time of his arrest. He denied having any terrorist links, and said he lost his original passport and was afraid to go to the Algerian embassy in the midst of a civil war against Islamists in his home country.

Mr Saidi's accounts of being hung from the ceiling and his rendition bear a striking resemblance to previous testimonies by detainees believed to have been abducted and held within similar secret prisons in or near Kabul.

His presence in an Afghan prison has been corroborated by Khaled el-Masri, a German citizen who was wrongfully rendered to Afghanistan and held for five months. "At the beginning of our time together, I was in the last cell and he was two cells away from me," Mr Masri told The New York Times. "Whenever I wanted to go to the toilet or was taken for questioning I had to pass his door."

Mr Saidi said he was arrested by Tanzanian police officers on 10 May 2003, and handed over to English-speaking men wearing jeans and T-shirts at the Malawi border. He says he was blindfolded, had his clothes cut from his body and suppositories placed in his anus, and was made to wear a large nappy before being placed on an aeroplane.

He was then allegedly flown to Afghanistan and held in a "dark prison" filled with deafening Western music before being sent to a second prison, where he met Mr Masri.

Two Egyptian nationals, Muhammad al-Zery and Ahmed Agiza, who were rendered from Sweden to Egypt in December 2001, described an almost identical procedure in preparing them for rendition. Similarly, numerous ex-detainees of Afghan "black sites" have described a dark prison near Kabul where Western rap music was played at deafening volume.

Mr Saidi has never been charged or told why he was arrested. "Sometimes I cry and shake when I think about this," he said. "I didn't think I would ever see my family again."

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Life and Style
tech

Apple has been hit by complaints about the 1.1GB download

Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff
tv

News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Arts and Entertainment
tv

News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife
film

Matt Smith is set to join cast of the Jane Austen classic - with a twist

Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmWhat makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
Life and Style
i100

Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Data Analyst / Marketing Database Analyst

£24000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Business Analyst – 2 year fixed term contract – Kent – Circa £55k

£45000 - £55000 Per Annum 31 days holiday, pension, healthcare, annual bonus: ...

**SEN Primary Teacher Serf Unit **

£110 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Preston: We are looking for an experie...

Experienced Foundation Teacher

£100 - £222 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: We are currently recruiting f...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week