US waterboarded anti-Gaddafi Islamists
The United States waterboarded Libyan Islamists opposed to Muammar Gaddafi and handed them over to his regime for further torture during the Bush administration, a rights group said yesterday.
A new report by the New York-based Human Rights Watch said a former detainee claimed to have been waterboarded and another described a form of water torture, indicating wider use of the method than is officially claimed.
"Not only did the US deliver Gaddafi his enemies on a silver platter, but it seems the CIA tortured many of them first," said Laura Pitter, the author of the report.
"The scope of Bush administration abuse appears far broader than previously acknowledged and underscores the importance of opening up a full-scale inquiry into what happened."
The report said a number of members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) -- a movement with alleged links to al-Qaeda which joined the 2011 Nato-backed uprising that overthrew Gaddafi -- were rounded up in several countries in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks and held without charge.
Other abuses included being chained to walls for weeks or months, being beaten and slammed into walls and being kept awake for long periods with loud Western music.
The LIGF fought with Nato-backed rebels in last year's uprising and many members now hold key positions in the emerging government and armed forces.
Human Rights Watch said one of the detainees, Khalid al-Sharif, is now head of the Libyan National Guard.