Ahmed has described in detail his suffering while in US detention. He doesn’t know exactly how long he was held in the CIA dungeon known as the Dark Prison, but he believes it was around seven months, from January 1, 2003. Overall, the CIA has told the US Senate they kept him for some 545 days in various dreadful places. The Dark Prison gets its name from the complete darkness in which the prisoners are kept and tortured.
He describes many horrors in his time there. For example, he was subjected to the medieval torture called, by the Inquisition, strappado. In his own words:
Then, they took me to a room and hung me by my hand to an iron shackle where my toes hardly touched the ground. They removed the mask away from my face and left me hanging from one hand, naked, thirsty, and hungry.
All my weight was hung from the iron shackle until my hand was about to be cut off and the blood was going down to my feet. All my body parts were shaking because of cut off blood circulation and my pulled and beaten body began hurting all over and my head, nose and mouth started bleeding. Although I was not able to see anything due to the darkness, I was able to smell and taste the blood that was falling down my throat.
Soon enough I felt that the world is closing in on me as I was waiting for them and for their non-existent mercy. Hours and hours will go by and nothing but: pitch-black darkness; loud music; the smell of alcohol and blood; pain from hunger, beating, and thirst.
After they left me the third day, they never returned to me until the seventh day and of course I have used up the water because I was extremely thirsty. Also, because I was not able to move from my spot the first seven days, I was urinating in place until the place was filled with the smell of urine and feces; however, I didn’t know where the smell of feces was coming from since I don’t think I was able to take care of this need while in this situation.
After the seven days during which I lost consciousness several times, I was sometimes hitting my hand against the wall. The pain became excruciating to a degree that I could no longer take, I think I must have been hoping to break the shackle or break the wall so I can take my hand out or even cut my hand off so I can be relieved from standing like this and get rid of these pains which cannot be described. The blood had rushed in my feet and the lower half of my body was feeling numb and the blood stopped reaching my head and crippled my thinking completely since day one, let alone how I would feel on the seventh day!
As I was suffering, death became all I hoped for, and desperation killed all my thoughts.
Who is Ahmed Rabbani?
Former taxi driver mistaken for a known extremist. Endured 545 days of extreme torture in the CIA’s Dark Prison. ‘Forever prisoner’, hunger striker and artist in Guantanamo since 2002. No charge or trial.