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A Story of Outsourced Torture

Reported by Deborah - October 16, 2004 -

This is the story of Ahmed Abu-Ali, told by his sister during a congressional hearing on Civil Rights and Liberties since 9-11. Abu-Ali is a US citizen, age 23, who was born in Texas and raised in the D.C. metro area. He was arrested in 2003 while studying at Medina University in Saudi Arabia and although he has been cleared by both US and Saudi governments, he remains in prison. Recently, his family has learned that he has been consistantly tortured, as they had feared. The full story of his ordeal and our government's involvement is atrocious. 10/16/04 C-SPAN 11AM

Abu-Ali's father holds a high level position in the Saudi Embassy and his attempts to learn about his son's situation were unsuccessful because the FBI had ordered the arrest and the U.S. had total control even though Ahmed was being held in a Saudi prison. There was no word from Ahmed for 3 months until he called to tell them to "forget about him " indicating that he was being hurt but was unable to go into detail.

Ahmed's friend, who had been arrested about the same time, was released some months ago and told of torture they had endured using methods that were identical to Abu Ghraib accounts. They were stripped, blindfolded, photographed and humiliated by Saudi prison guards indicating that these methods were not isolated Iraqi incidents.

The family had heard that their son was suffering with severe pain in his hands and unable to write. They then read, in three different news sources, that the U.S. prosecuter close to his case, Gorden Cromberg, had said with a smirk." He won't be needing to clip his fingernails anymore."

A U.S. Court hearing cleared Ahmed Abu Ali after lengthy investigations and interviews. Abu-Ali was an honors student and class valdictorian. He was active in community service projects and well liked by his neighbors, who have come to his defense. Yet, he still languishes in prison forcing his family to file a suit.

A lawyer working on their case has recently informed them that Ahmed's fingernails were ripped out, as they had feared, but they were not told because it would have been too upsetting. Gorden Cromberg has made a another statement that" he isn't much good to us without fingernails."

The panel hearing this story was horrified and determined to take immediate action but nobody seemed optimistic about the outcome.