Saad Iqbal Madni, a 33-year-old former detainee at the Guantanamo Bay detention center, opened up to NBC News regarding his experiences as a prisoner at the famous facility. Madni says he still wakes up every morning screaming and crying.
There have been allegations of torture, otherwise identified as enhanced interrogation techniques, and other human rights abuses. Though the United States government hasn’t admitted to any wrongdoing, some former detainees are speaking out of their experiences.
The story of Saad Iqbal Madni
This week, Pakistani Islamic scholar, Saad Iqbal Madni spoke to NBC News to discuss what he calls a “nightmare,” what transpired during his six-and-a-half years of imprisonment and what he now suffers from on an almost daily basis.
“There are a lot of times I start to cry. I still feel like I am in Guantanamo,” said Madni, who was released two years ago after being a suspected Islamic terrorist but not was convicted or provided an explanation of why he was detained. “I have memorized the torture. I wake up in the middle of the night screaming.”
How did Madni get arrested? He says that Indonesian authorities picked him during a visit to Jakarta back in 2002. When asked why they were taking him, they said that they were acting on specific instructions from the CIA.
The CIA alleges that Madni told an Islamic group that he knew how to construct a shoe bomb, but Madni denies all of those allegations.
Following his transportation from an Indonesian jail cell to the airport, Madni felt like his life was coming to an end: “A person from Egyptian intelligence come, kicked and grabbed me and threw me against the wall. That's when I got a perforated ear drum and started bleeding from my ear, nose and throat.”
He described his captors as Egyptian because of their accent – Madni speaks nine different languages. He went onto describe severe and harsh treatment: “They stripped me naked, beat me and kicked me.”
“I was shackled from my neck to my feet and taken to a plane. They put me inside a wooden box, on top of the box is a plastic sheet. My legs were up on my chest and I had to stay like that for an 18-hour flight to Diego Garcia. They didn't allow me to go to the bathroom. They put me in diapers and said, 'your bathroom is with you'.”
According to Madni’s physician in Pakistan, Mohammed Burki, he now suffers from depression, migraines, panic attacks, paranoia and temper tantrums: “Before I could treat any of those, I had to try and get him off the morphine” because the U.S. “made an addict out of him.”
Some are convinced, others are not
Although it is quite difficult to independently verify Madni’s intense story, many human rights representatives in the international community say Madni’s testimony is consistent with many others.
“His account is so precise and so detailed and there are enough documents to back up everything he says,” said Sultana Noon of the UK-based charity, Reprieve.
However, others, including Thomas Joscelyn of the Weekly Standard, do not believe this is news and feel that NBC News was “biased and one-sided” because they did not “scrutinize Madni’s claims.”
Joscelyn cites the same story was published in the New York Times two years ago, where Josceyln also believes that they did not investigate Madni’s claims and took the entire ordeal at face value.
“Similarly, Madni’s claims of torture were not scrutinized in any way,” wrote Joscelyn. “Madni’s tale often takes a turn into the bizarre and is completely unsupported by any independent evidence. But NBC accepted Madni’s torture story at face value even though parts of it, at the very least, are quite obviously fabricated.”
But Pakistani human rights activist, Amina Masood believes that anyone who is wearing a beard is a “vulnerable target” for various intelligence agencies around the world and that the war on terror has instigated “gross violations of human rights.”
“We are dealing with human beings here.”
The future of Guantanamo Bay
The U.S. government, military and CIA have not responded to any media requests from organizations all around the world in regards to Madni’s detention.
During President Barack Obama’s inauguration two years ago, he ordered that Guantanamo and other CIA detention centers to be shutdown. However, two years later, the Gitmo facility and other CIA camps are still operating
According to Democracy Now, the Obama administration is reviewing renewing the military tribunal system at Gitmo. The New York Times calls the move “open for business."