Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Detainee says he confessed to stop torture

The terrorism suspect contends he was forced to admit to a role in the Cole bombing. A military law expert isn't surprised.

WASHINGTON — A detainee accused of being Al Qaeda's Persian Gulf operations chief said in court that his U.S. captors tortured him for years and forced him to falsely confess to the bombing of the U.S. destroyer Cole and to many other terrorist plots, according to a Pentagon transcript released Friday.

Abd al Rahim al Nashiri , a Saudi of Yemeni descent, told a military board at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, that he had nothing to do with the bombing of the warship in Yemen in 2000 — or with any other terrorist activity.

Speaking under oath, he said he made up a long list of Al Qaeda plots and attacks so his captors would stop torturing him, even telling interrogators that Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had a nuclear bomb.

"I just said those things to make the people happy. But when they freed me, I told them all, 'I only told you these things to make you happy,' " Nashiri said at a March 14 hearing held by military officials to determine if he should be designated as an enemy combatant and tried before a military commission.

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