News & Commentary written by Mohamed Farag Ahmad Bashmilah

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Mohamed Farag Ahmad Bashmilah



NEW YORK — On October 21, 2003 Mohamed Farag Ahmad Bashmilah was taken into custody by the Jordanian General Intelligence Department and tortured and interrogated for days. On the morning of October 26, 2003 he was turned over to agents who beat, kicked, diapered, hooded and handcuffed him before secretly transporting him to the U.S. Air Force base in Bagram, Afghanistan. Flight documents indicate that Bashmilah was taken aboard a Gulfstream V aircraft registered with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as N379P. Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc. provided logistical and flight support for the aircraft, which was used for a CIA clandestine interrogation and detention program run outside of the United States known as “extraordinary rendition.”

Bashmilah was placed in solitary confinement and subject to intense torture and interrogation for six months. In April 2004 he was flown to a secret CIA “black site” where he was tortured. Trapped in horrific conditions, Bashmilah tried to commit suicide three times, once slashing his wrists and writing “I am innocent” with his blood on the walls of his cell. After having been told he would not be freed without first agreeing to never discuss his kidnapping, torture or captivity, he was flown secretly to Yemen in May 2005 where he was imprisoned once again. Bashmilah was finally freed on March 27, 2006, never once having faced any charges related to terrorism.


Mohamed Farag Ahmad Bashmilah is a 38-year-old Yemeni national who lived with his wife Zahra in Indonesia, where he ran a small clothing store with his uncle. In October 2003, the couple traveled from Indonesia to Jordan to visit Bashmilah’s ailing mother. Upon arrival in Amman, Bashmilah’s passport was seized after officials questioned its failure to reflect his entry into Indonesia or his exit from Yemen. Despite his explanation that the passport had been lost and replaced while in Indonesia, he was told to report to the Jordanian General Intelligence Department where it would be returned.

On or about October 21, 2003 after he told GID officials that he had visited Afghanistan three years prior, Bashmilah was handcuffed, taken into custody and tortured by Jordanian intelligence. After four nights and five days in custody he was turned over to agents who beat him and then flew him to a secret U.S. interrogation and torture facility at the Bagram air base.

For six months, Bashmilah was subjected to 24-hour solitary confinement, torture and interrogation. He was moved through a series of three different cells involving different methods of sensory manipulation, sleep deprivation and shackling in painful positions. One cell was filthy and pitch black with only a bucket for a toilet. Another was bathed in light and loud music 24 hours a day, where Bashmilah hung chained to a wall. A third, the interrogation room, had bright lights a video camera, a desk and wall manacles that prevented him from sitting down. He was denied materials he needed for prayer and he was only allowed to see sunlight for a brief time once a week, while under heavy guard.

During this time he was not allowed to contact his family, his government, a lawyer or any humanitarian organization such as the International Committee of the Red Cross.

On or about April 24, 2004 Bashmilah was then diapered, shackled, hooded and flown to a secret CIA “black site” for another round of torture and interrogation. For over a year, he was held in two different cells while shackled at the ankle and subject to months of sensory deprivation, blaring loud music and endless interrogation about his activities in Afghanistan and Indonesia. The psychological torment became so great that he used a piece of metal to slash his wrists in an attempt to bleed to death. He used his own blood to write “I am innocent” and “this is unjust” on the walls of his cell. On another occasion, Bashmilah went on a hunger strike for ten days. Prison personnel strapped him down and force fed him through his nose. His mental state was so poor that psychiatrists were called in to consult with him.

On May 5, 2005 he was again bundled into an aircraft and transported for seven hours to Yemen. After a brief stop he was transported to yet another detention center in Aden, Yemen. Nine months later he was sentenced to two years in prison for using a false identity document in Indonesia. He was ordered released immediately because the time he spent in detention, inside and outside of Yemen, exceeded his sentence.

Around midnight on March 27, 2006 Bashmilah was freed, never once having faced any charges relating to terrorism.

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