Guantanamo prisoner had surgery to fix damage caused by sodomy, lawyer says
An alleged accomplice in the 9/11 terrorist attacks underwent reconstructive surgery for decade-old damage from sodomy in CIA custody and was to be returned to prison to recuperate, his attorney said on Saturday.
“All they said is there was minimal bleeding and he is recovering,” attorney Walter Ruiz, a Navy Reserve commander, said Saturday.
His client, Mustafa al Hawsawi, 48, was scheduled to begin surgery at 9pm on Friday and Ruiz said he was informed that it was over by 10.45pm.
Hawsawi, a Saudi, and four other men are awaiting a death-penalty trial for allegedly orchestrating the September 11, 2001, attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, Pennsylvania and outside Washington. He voluntarily missed Friday’s hearing.
An unclassified portion of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the CIA’s black site programme included allegations that Hawsawi was subjected to rectal exams with “excessive force” before his 2006 transfer to Guantanamo, and that at one point he had a “medical emergency” that the agency considered having treated in a foreign hospital.
On Saturday, the military said nothing about the outcome of Hawsawi’s Guantanamo surgery. Ruiz said he received few other details, aside from the fact that, once the aneasthesia wore off, the Saudi was to be returned to Camp 7, Guantanamo’s prison for former CIA Black Site captives – including five others awaiting death-penalty trials.
The detention centre spokesman, Navy Captain John Filostrat, provided no information on Saturday about the medical procedure carried out at the naval base hospital, a five- to 10-minute drive from the Detention Centre Zone.
He said by email that it was prison policy “not to discuss detainee medical issues”.
Detention Centre commanders have for years briefed reporters that their captives get medical care like that provided to soldiers and sailors, and that the Navy routinely brings in specialists to carry out some procedures.
Hawsawi was captured in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, in March 2003 with the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, and was held by the CIA until his delivery to Guantanamo in September 2006. He is alleged to have helped the hijackers with money, Western clothing, travellers’ cheques and credit cards.
Hawsawi’s lawyers had been litigating over conditions at the remote prison and sought medical intervention to treat a rectal prolapse that has caused Hawsawi to bleed for more than a decade.
“Mr Hawsawi was tortured in the black sites. He was sodomised,” Ruiz said this past week, advising them to “shy away from terms like rectal penetration or rectal re-hydration because the reality is it was sodomy”, he said. Since then, he said, he has had “to manually reinsert parts of his anal cavity” to defecate.
“When he has a bowel movement, he has to reinsert parts of his anus back into his anal cavity,” Ruiz said, which “causes him to bleed, causes him excruciating pain”.
Earlier in the week, Army Lieutenant General Jennifer Williams, one of Hawsawi’s attorneys, asked the trial judge, Army Colonel James L. Pohl, to order the prosecution or CIA to give them the Saudi’s complete medical records from more than three years in CIA custody.