There are still 34 prisoners in the US prison camp at Guantanamo. The 35th was allowed out of prison after serving 16 years, according to the Pentagon. The Pakistani Majid Khan survived the torture methods of the CIA, renounced al-Qaeda and now wants to start over.
The United States has released a Pakistani who had been held in Guantanamo Bay for 16 years after causing a stir with allegations of torture by the CIA. Majid Khan will now live in the Central American state of Belize, the US Department of Defense announced. The 42-year-old was arrested in Pakistan in 2003. He was tortured by the CIA during interrogations for years and later taken to Guantanamo. In October 2021, he was sentenced to 26 years in prison for supporting the Al-Qaeda terrorist network.
However, he was promised an early release in connection with an earlier admission of guilt. Khan had pleaded guilty to involvement in an ultimately failed plot to assassinate former Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf and later serving as a money man for an Islamist attack on a hotel in Indonesia. At the sentencing hearing in 2021, Khan gave harrowing testimonies about his torture at the hands of the CIA. It was the first public exposure of the methods of torture used by a detainee transferred to Guantanamo following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Khan recounted being raped, beaten and water tortured by CIA interrogators. He was held in dark cells for days, some hung by chains, without food or clothing, while loud music blared and guards poured ice water on him. He confessed to his actions but continued to be tortured: "The more I cooperated and told them, the more I was tortured."
The Pentagon has now said that Khan has fulfilled his obligations under a cooperation agreement and has therefore received a reduced sentence. Belize has agreed to accept the Pakistani. "I was given a second chance in life and I intend to make the best of it," Khan said in a statement distributed by his lawyers. "I deeply regret what I did many years ago and have accepted responsibility for it." According to Khan, he now wants to open a restaurant or a food truck in Belize. "I am a great cook and would love to introduce Pakistani food to everyone in my new country."
The US government set up the Guantanamo detention center at a US military base in Cuba after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. There are currently 34 prisoners in the highly controversial camp.