Libyan Whose “Confession” Facilitated Iraq War Dead
13 May 09 | PTV
The United States says it is probing into the suspected suicide of a former Guantanamo detainee and alleged al-Qaeda operative in a Libyan prison.
Ali Mohammed al-Fakheri, alias Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi, 46, who was jailed for life in Libya after his transfer from U.S. custody in 2006, is said to have committed suicide, but there has been no mention of when he is supposed to have taken his own life.
“We’re looking into the situation, but we’re not in any kind of position right now to comment or report on it,” State Department spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters on Tuesday.
“I really have to refer you to the government of Libya. But I’m just not aware if we’ve specifically addressed this issue,” Kelly said when asked if the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli had discussed the case with the Libyan authorities.
The Libyan newspaper Oea said Fakheri took his own life in his prison cell but gave no other details of his death.
The New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on the Libyan authorities to “carry out a full and transparent investigation” into Fakheri’s death, adding its researchers spoke briefly with him on April 27 at the Abu Salim prison in Tripoli.
“He refused to be interviewed, and would say nothing more than: ‘Where were you when I was being tortured in American jails,’” HRW said in a statement posted on its website on Tuesday.
HRW stated that under the procedure known as “extraordinary rendition”, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) sent Fakheri to Egypt in 2002 following his arrest in Pakistan at the end of 2001. The US has delivered many terrorism suspects to countries such as Egypt to be questioned under “enhanced interrogations techniques”, which are not permitted on US territory.
While being interrogated under torture in Egypt, Fakheri came up with the false allegation about connections between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein that was used by President Bush in a speech in Cincinnati on October 7, 2002, just days before the U.S. Congress voted on a resolution authorizing the president to go to war against Iraq, in which, referring to the supposed threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s regime, Bush said, “We’ve learned that Iraq has trained al-Qaeda members in bomb making and poisons and deadly gases.”
Human Rights Watch said the CIA later held Fakheri in a network of secret prisons in Afghanistan and other places.