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Guantanamo detainee says CIA tortured him

  • Story Highlights
  • Majid Khan's attorneys say he endured an "aggressive" interrogation program
  • Khan's allegations of torture redacted in court documents
  • Bush administration: Khan worked for 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed
  • CIA: The United States does not conduct or condone torture
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Attorneys for a "high-value" terror suspect who says he was tortured while being held at secret CIA prisons have requested that a judge bar the agency from destroying evidence of the alleged torture.

One of 14 "high-value" detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, alleges he was tortured.

The motion, filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights attorneys on behalf of Majid Khan -- who is being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba -- is dated November 29.

That is a week before CIA Director Michael Hayden acknowledged the agency destroyed videotapes it made in 2002 of interrogations of al Qaeda suspects using newly approved "alternative" interrogation techniques.

Khan -- a native of Pakistan who attended high school in Baltimore -- was held for more than three years at the secret CIA prisons and "subjected to an aggressive CIA detention and interrogation program notable for its elaborate planning and ruthless application of torture," attorney Gitanjali S. Gutierrez claims in the court documents.

Details of Khan's torture claims are redacted in the filing -- a whole page is blacked out -- but Khan's attorneys say he suffers "severe physical and psychological trauma from which he is unlikely ever to recover fully" as a result of his ordeal.

Asked about Khan's claims, CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano told CNN, "CIA's terrorist interrogation effort has always been small, carefully run, lawful and highly productive. Fewer than 100 hardened terrorists have gone through the program since it began in 2002, and of those, less than a third required any special methods of questioning. The United States does not conduct or condone torture."

Khan's attorneys claim he was taken into custody in 2003 and "forcibly disappeared" before his transfer to Guantanamo, "where he remains imprisoned without charge or trial."

He filed a legal challenge to his detention in September 2006 and appeared before a Combatant Status Review Tribunal in April, the court documents said.

He was found to have been properly detained as an enemy combatant, but filed a challenge to that on August 14. He was not allowed to meet with an attorney, however, until October, the document said.

The Bush administration contends Khan was an operative working for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, mastermind of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Khan researched how to blow up gas stations and poison reservoirs in the United States, the administration has said. He is among 14 "high-value" detainees held at Guantanamo.

Gutierrez and another CCR attorney, Wells Dixon, also released declassified notes of their meetings with Khan, saying he has been on hunger strikes while in Guantanamo, is "painfully thin and pale" and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

In detention, he has been able to communicate with Abu Zubayda, an alleged lieutenant for Osama bin Laden, they said in the notes. A government official with knowledge of the destroyed CIA tapes has said that Zubayda was one of the two al Qaeda suspects whose interrogations were videotaped.

While undergoing interrogation and torture by the CIA, "Khan admitted anything his interrogators demanded of him, regardless of the truth, in order to end his suffering," the documents said.

Without a court order requiring the preservation of evidence, "there is substantial risk that the torture evidence will disappear" and that may affect the challenge to his detention, the attorneys claim.

The motion was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Hayden has said the CIA stopped videotaping in 2002, while Khan was not taken into custody until the following year.

"The careful, professional and lawful questioning of hardened terrorists has produced thousands of intelligence reports, revealed exceptionally valuable insights on al Qaeda's operations and organization, foiled terrorist plots and saved innocent lives," Gimigliano said.

"The information developed by the detention and interrogation program has been irreplaceable, and the program has operated in strict accord with American law." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Gary Nurenberg contributed to this report.

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