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Guantanamo prisoner suffering 'humiliating' medical problems: Amnesty

Rights group says 9/11 suspect may have suffered torture at hands of CIA investigators and needs medical treatment
Campaigners have urged the US government to close its detention facility in Cuba for years (AFP)

One of the alleged 9/11 ringleaders being held at Guantanamo Bay is in desperate need of medical care after government mistreatment, an advocacy group said in a letter made public Wednesday.

Mustapha al-Hawsawi - one of the "9/11 Five" accused of plotting attacks that killed around 3,000 people - is suffering "painful and humiliating" rectal problems as a result of what Amnesty International has described as torture.

The advocacy group, in a letter to the Pentagon health affairs chief, demanded better care for the Saudi detainee.

Amnesty said Hawsawi's problems "may well be the result of torture by US government personnel: namely sodomy with a foreign object while in CIA custody”.

The letter, which became public a week after it was written, added that Hawsawi's lawyers determined he had "received only minimal symptomatic treatment, such as over-the-counter pain medicine, for many of his conditions”.

Pentagon spokesman Gary Ross declined to comment on the specifics of Hawsawi's case.

However, he assured AFP that "all detainees are provided medical and dental care equivalent to that received by US service members" at Guantanamo Bay. 

Amnesty’s letter, which was signed by the group's interim US executive director Margaret Huang, said that "failure to ensure appropriate and continuing medical treatment and rehabilitative care for those deprived of their liberty, including those who have been subjected to torture or other ill-treatment, contravenes US international legal obligations”.

Hawsawi has claimed in the past that he suffered damage to his rectum during aggressive CIA body cavity searches and has been denied surgery to correct it.

His lawyers have argued that the violence of the searches amounts to sodomy.

More than 14 years after the September 11 attacks, Hawsawi and his four co-defendants are still mired in endless military court proceedings.

Countless motions by the defence and the logistical headache of transporting the legal staff and other personnel for each hearing has prevented major progress.

Hawsawi was charged in 2008 with 2,973 individual counts of murder as well as a string of other offences.

However, he has yet to stand trial.

Also among the "9/11 Five" is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who has publicly admitted to being the principal planner of the September 11 attacks, although he too was subjected to waterboarding 183 times and other forms of abuse amounting to torture while being interrogated by the CIA.

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