Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Archival Rescue 38 ~ Outsourced torture

Torturers had Australian accents;

'They pulled out my fingernails'
May 25, 2005 - 5:05pm AAP Sydney Morning Herald

An Australian facing the death penalty after being charged with being a member of a terror group has told a Kuwaiti court his fingernails were pulled out by state security officers.

Sydney businessman Tllaal Adrey has proclaimed his innocence after being charged with being a member of the Peninsula Lions terrorist group.

The group, believed to be linked to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network, was allegedly involved in four shoot-outs in Kuwait in January in which nine Islamists and four security personnel were killed.

It is also suspected of links to militants in neighbouring Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

Prosecutors have demanded the death penalty for Adrey and 20 others who also appeared in court.

Adrey told the Kuwait City criminal court he was innocent.

He also claimed he was tortured after his arrest.

"They pulled out my fingernails at state security," he told the court.

Adrey's mother and brother told ABC television through an interpreter last week that Adrey believed two of his torturers had Australian accents, but the government has rejected the claim.

Adrey has also declared his innocence in a letter written to Australia's Islamic leader, it emerged today.

Islamic Friendship Association of Australia president Keysar Trad said he had received a fax of the letter from Adrey, written in Arabic to his mother, on Monday.

Adrey, who moved to Kuwait three years ago with his wife and five children, all Australian citizens, asks for help from the Mufti of Australia, Sheikh Taj Aldin Alhilali.

Adrey said "government agents" came to his Kuwaiti home and took him away.

"(They) took me away from my children and wife without mercy or humanity, covered my eyes whilst my wife and children remained behind in tears," said the letter, translated by Mr Trad.

"They took me and imprisoned me, then they beat me and tortured me and detained me in segregation."

Adrey, who moved to Australia in 1997 and became a citizen, said he did not know why he had been imprisoned, and had received no help from Australia.

"It is most unfortunate that Australia and the Australian Embassy have ignored my plight and have not intervened," the letter read.

"I have not been visited by any Australian officials."

Mr Trad said he had passed the letter onto the federal government and hoped it would act soon.

"It's really atrocious that an Australian citizen can be treated this way," he said.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs said an Australian diplomat would meet with Adrey in jail on Saturday.

Six of Adrey's co-accused also told the court in Kuwait they had confessed under duress, with four taking their shirts off to display scars on their backs they said were inflicted by state security investigators.

Others on trial included Jordanians, Saudis, a Somali, Kuwaitis and stateless Arabs who have lived in Kuwait without becoming citizens.

The men who appeared in court today wore prison uniforms, with heads shaven and long unkempt beards marking them as extremist Muslims.

Eleven of the 37 suspects charged in the case are still at large. The defendants were shackled and guarded by masked and armed special forces.

The hearing was adjourned until June 11 to allow lawyers to read the 4,000-page documents in the case.

Police reportedly found chemicals and bomb-making instructions in one of the group's safe houses near the Saudi border earlier this year.

Under Kuwaiti law, it is normal procedure for a charge to be laid against the group in the first instance before a judge hears individual cases.


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