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Last Updated: Sunday, 13 February, 2005, 15:33 GMT
Fresh Guantanamo torture claims
By Phil Mercer
BBC News, Sydney

Australian Guantanamo Bay detainee Mamdouh Habib steps off a chartered jet as he arrives in Sydney, Australia, Friday, Jan. 28, 2005
Mr Habib spent nearly three years in Guantanamo Bay

An Australian freed from Guantanamo Bay last month has claimed he was tortured and abused during his detention at the US prison camp in Cuba.

In his first interview since returning home, Mamdouh Habib has strongly denied any links to terrorism.

He alleged he was sexually assaulted and smeared with the menstrual blood of a prostitute during interrogation.

The former Sydney taxi driver was freed when US officials said they did not have enough evidence to charge him.

For the first time Mr Habib has publicly revealed what he insisted have been the horrors of the past three-and-a-half years.

He said he suffered constant abuse, before and after his transfer to Guantanamo Bay in May 2002..

On one occasion - the date was not specified - he claimed he was beaten by more than a dozen men, who stripped and sexually assaulted him before making him wear nappies.

Mamdouh Habib, undated photo
Born in Egypt, but has lived in Australia since 1980
Arrested in Pakistan after September 11 attacks
Flown to Egypt, where his lawyer says he was tortured
Transferred to Guantanamo Bay in May 2002
Released January 2005

Mr Habib has insisted that such mistreatment was common.

The 48-year-old said that he endured electric shocks, long spells in isolation and had menstrual blood from a prostitute thrown into his face during questioning.

He said he signed confessions to save himself from further abuse.

The former taxi driver has categorically denied any involvement in terrorism.

US officials alleged he trained with al-Qaeda and had prior knowledge of the attacks in New York and Washington on 11 September.

Mr Habib was arrested in Pakistan a month later.

The decision to release him from Guantanamo Bay took the Australian government by surprise.

It still regards Mr Habib with suspicion. It has placed him under constant surveillance and has taken away his passport.

Senior government figures have raised doubts about his story. Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has said no evidence has been found to prove that torture has been used at the camp.

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28 Jan 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Profile: Mamdouh Habib
28 Jan 05 |  Asia-Pacific
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25 Jan 05 |  Asia-Pacific
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12 Jan 05 |  Asia-Pacific

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