“The International Committee of the Red Cross says in a confidential report that the American military has used psychological and sometimes physical coercion ‘tantamount to torture’ on Guantanamo prisoners.
The finding came after a visit by a Red Cross inspection team to Guantanamo Bay in June.
Lawyers for the two Australian detainees, David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib, said the Red Cross report corroborated their claims that they had been tortured.
Habib’s lawyer, Stephen Hopper, said his client had been tortured in Egypt, where he had been badly beaten and nearly died, and in Guantanamo Bay, where he had been deprived of sleep for four days and was seen by British detainees collapsed and bleeding from the ears.
Mr Hopper said Habib was also told his wife had been murdered and was shown pictures of his children’s heads superimposed on the bodies of pigs and donkeys.
He said the Australian Government could no longer hide the fact that Habib had been tortured, and that it must act to protect an Australian citizen. ‘This is the sort of treatment we expect the Gestapo to deal out to people – not an enlightened, modern first-world democracy,’ he said.
Hicks’ lawyer, Stephen Kenny, said the claims in the report fitted with Hicks’ description of his treatment. ‘It’s not acceptable for Australian captives to continue to be held in this manner,’ Mr Kenny said.
The Australian Government has insisted that the two men have not been tortured.”