Waterboarded Prisoner Has Drowning Nightmares Two Decades Later, Doctor Testifies

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Lawyers called a torture adept successful a bid to spare a suspect a nauseating commute from situation to tribunal by having him walk nights astatine Guantánamo Bay’s tribunal compound.

The defendant, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, is accused of being the mastermind of the termination   bombing of the destroyer Cole successful  2000, which killed 17 U.S. sailors.
Credit...Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Carol Rosenberg

Dec. 14, 2021, 7:09 p.m. ET

GUANTÁNAMO BAY, Cuba — A Saudi suspect successful the destroyer Cole bombing lawsuit who was subjected to waterboarding and a mock execution by the C.I.A. successful 2002 inactive has nightmares of drowning, sleeps with a airy connected successful his compartment and tin ablution lone successful a trickle of water, a doc who specializes successful treating torture victims testified connected Tuesday.

When helium has been driven to tribunal successful a modular windowless detainee transport van, the defendant, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, 56, besides gets nauseous and vomits from flashbacks to a play erstwhile agents confined him nude and shivering wrong a chilled, cramped box, portion of the “enhanced interrogation” programme astatine the agency’s concealed sites.

Defense lawyers elicited the grounds from Dr. Sondra S. Crosby, a Boston internist who has been evaluating and treating torture victims since the 1990s. Mr. Nashiri is accused of being the mastermind of the termination bombing of the vessel disconnected Aden, Yemen, successful October 2000 that killed 17 U.S. sailors.

His lawyers are seeking a tribunal bid to fto him walk the nighttime earlier a proceeding astatine a specially equipped holding compartment astatine the court, arsenic a disabled captive successful different lawsuit has done. The travel from situation to court, they argue, is traumatic and interferes with his quality to ore connected the death-penalty proceedings and cooperate with his defence squad of Navy and civilian lawyers.

The grounds highlighted however Guantánamo Bay, a Pentagon cognition that turns 20 connected Jan. 11, inactive has nary ceremonial programme for providing attraction to torture victims. Dr. Crosby was testifying arsenic a Pentagon-paid advisor to the defence team, a relation she has held since 2012.

Mr. Nashiri “was subjected to galore horrific torture methods portion helium was successful the achromatic sites,” the doc said. His clip successful the “small box,” she said, was “really distressing and horrible” due to the fact that it was done repeatedly.

Dr. Crosby said Mr. Nashiri had irritable bowel syndrome, which is not antithetic for a rape unfortunate oregon idiosyncratic with post-traumatic accent disorder. She cited once-classified records that showed that Mr. Nashiri, portion held by the C.I.A., was sodomized with a brushwood and, separately, done a process she formed arsenic bogus to “rectally provender him,” was raped with “an object.” Another detainee precocious described that entity arsenic a plot hose.

In 2013, a subject committee made up of 3 Army officers, 1 psychiatrist and 2 psychologists, diagnosed Mr. Nashiri with PTSD and depression, and besides called him an antisocial narcissist.

A prosecutor, Lt. Cmdr. Cherie Jolly of the Navy, suggested connected Tuesday that Mr. Nashiri’s intelligence and wellness problems predated his seizure successful Dubai successful October 2002. She attributed a teardrop successful the prisoner’s rectum to a mediocre fare and constipation successful his youth.

She besides suggested that traumatic encephalon wounded discovered connected an M.R.I. of Mr. Nashiri astatine Guantánamo was the effect of his relation arsenic “a battlefield participant” with Osama bin Laden, alternatively than Dr. Crosby’s mentation that helium was repeatedly punched successful the caput portion successful C.I.A. custody, and for a clip mislaid his hearing.

One of Mr. Nashiri’s defence lawyers, Annie W. Morgan, who is simply a Defense Department employee, described Tuesday’s grounds arsenic the archetypal open-court airing successful item of immoderate of the torture helium underwent arsenic a C.I.A. prisoner, some successful Afghanistan and astatine a concealed tract successful Thailand.

Mr. Nashiri knew successful beforehand what would beryllium discussed, and “wants radical to cognize what America did to him,” Ms. Morgan said. Still, due to the fact that of the material, she said, helium voluntarily stayed distant from the courtroom during his team’s “first accidental successful an unclassified mounting to archer his story.”

His nausea connected trips to tribunal has been a root of quality since earlier the coronavirus pandemic stalled proceedings. Military doctors person formed it arsenic run-of-the-mill question sickness. Dr. Crosby said it was triggered by memories of the confinement container erstwhile Mr. Nashiri was transported successful a windowless van. It affects him little so, she said, erstwhile the situation unit members are “kind” and transport him to tribunal successful a tiny schoolhouse autobus with the windows uncovered.

To spell to court, situation doctors person been giving Mr. Nashiri some an antihistamine, Meclizine, which makes him sleepy, and Adderall, to perk him up. On questioning from the prosecutor, Dr. Crosby said she would similar to sermon the antithetic operation with his situation doctor, the latest successful a bid of Navy officers connected impermanent duty to the detention operation.

The authoritative noted that, successful court, Mr. Nashiri sometimes appeared to swagger. At his first tribunal quality successful November 2011, helium turned and waved toward the gallery, wherever reporters and household members of victims of the Cole onslaught were watching.

But Dr. Crosby said that helium was often fearful of some existent and imagined things, and cited examples. He is acrophobic that a tsunami oregon a hurricane volition deed the basal successful southeast Cuba and that his guards volition wantonness him successful his compartment to drown. He besides reported being assaulted by different erstwhile C.I.A. captive this year, which has near him “hypervigilant and frightened that thing mightiness hap to him.”

As Dr. Crosby was expanding connected the episode, a tribunal information serviceman pushed a mute button, replacing audio to the nationalist with achromatic noise, suggesting that the grounds strayed into classified information. The censorship occurrence was brief, and the tribunal was backmost successful unfastened league wrong minutes.

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