Page last updated at 13:34 GMT, Friday, 13 March 2009

Binyam Mohamed: Key quotes

Binyam Mohamed
Binyam Mohamed returned to the UK last month

UK resident Binyam Mohamed, freed from Guantanamo Bay, has said he would not have faced torture or extraordinary rendition if it was not for British involvement in his case.

BBC News reporter Jon Manel spoke to the Ethiopian-born asylum seeker about his alleged detention at what he calls the "dark prison" in Afghanistan and his interrogation in Morocco. Here are the key quotes from the BBC Radio 4 interview:


"The dark prison - I was literally dead, I didn't exist. I wasn't there, there was no day, no night - music 24 hours a day, seven days a week for five, six months on end.

"There was literally music being played, or sound or horrible sounds or gunshots, or whatever they wanted to play and loud music, loud noise being played for the six months I was there. In this cell with no lights at high volume.

"They played Eminem for one month and then they went to horror music, horror noises for another month.

"We had a toilet inside the cell which was a bucket and you literally just had to crawl to it... and if you fell and they didn't clean it... then it's on your bed and you sleep on your bed, which actually is just the floor with a blanket - that was the bed.

"You were given food which I would say [was] inedible - you couldn't eat the food.

"I mean, there's people who've lost their teeth because of eating stones - they literally were feeding you stones in the food. And I've lost over 30kg from the time I went in to the time I left."


"All the questioning was done by the Moroccans. They would go out, talk to the Americans and then they would have all of their questions ready and most of the questions which I was asked could not have come from anywhere else but British intelligence.

"From issues of who my kick boxing trainer was, his name, where he lives, to questions of the road I'm living on, my grades in college.

"The American's don't have [those] kind of questions. These questions came from Britain."

Interrogators also had hundreds of photographs of Muslim men in the UK, he said.


"The torture was going on weekly, sometimes monthly.

"From my understanding and to my belief, if it wasn't for the British involvement right at the beginning of the interrogations in Pakistan, and suggestions that were made by MI5 to the Americans of how to get me to respond, I don't think I would have gone to Morocco.

"It was that initial help that MI5 gave the Americans that led me through the seven years of what I went through."


"Compared to the dark prison, I don't know if I should say this, but since I [got] out, it was like a five-star hotel. Literally it was a holiday."


"It literally closed me down. I was a person who usually would laugh a lot, mix with people. But after this experience I just pulled myself out of the world, I've just - like I told you - I don't exist. I don't feel the existence of life.

"From that experience, it hasn't worn off - that experience, the dark prison, is not something I can just shake off and I've tried and it's just not coming off.

"I think it will take some time to actually get back and feel alive. I didn't exist in the dark prison. I did not exist."


"I didn't believe I was free, even now I don't feel, I don't feel I'm free. I mean it's been seven years of... well literal darkness that I have been through.

"Coming back to life is taking me sometime - and literally I am dead.

"I don't have the regular person's feelings that people have - the feelings of happiness and sadness I still don't have them as far as I'm concerned. Nothing matters."


Mr Mohamed said he originally travelled to Afghanistan in 2001 after converting to Islam.

"I decided to take a journey to Afghanistan as any 21, 22-year-old would do. Just go and see a part of the world and learn about what's happening over there.

"I was trying to understand Islam and I was told that Afghanistan was where the real Islam was."


"Well it's not the fear, I expect that to happen at any time. It's gone past fear, I mean I already put it into my mind that Guantanamo is not over yet.

"And at any time I could be taken to wherever it is they want to take me and whoever it is who wants to take me."

Mr Mohamed's capture came at a time of increased concern that al-Qaeda might use so-called dirty bombs or attack installations such as gas storage depots.

But the former detainee said such claims were unrealistic and were made to frighten people.

"The amazing thing is - all these allegations - the US government themselves have said they could not be done, so they are allegations which look good on paper but in reality cannot happen.

"The Americans use it to terrorise their public into believing that there is another al-Qaeda attack just for the political interest. That's all it was."

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