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A man accused of helping finance the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks was subjected to "excessive" abuse at the hands of CIA interrogators who used him as a training tool for employees learning the agency's torture techniques.
That's according to testimony Thursday from a psychologist who helped design the torture program. James Mitchell, who co-owned a company that was paid $80 million by the U.S. government to develop what the CIA called "enhanced interrogation techniques," said the prisoner, Ammar al-Baluchi, became an instructional aide for student interrogators.
Al-Baluchi, the 42-year-old nephew of alleged mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, is facing criminal charges in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
During a May 2003 interrogation at a secret overseas CIA prison in Afghanistan known as a "black site," al-Baluchi was slammed into a wall, doused with water, and slapped multiple times in the face and stomach, according to an unclassified CIA document presented in court. He was also put in stress positions — forced to lean at an angle against a wall using only his forehead and also to kneel backwards to an extreme degree — for nearly an hour.
Before his interrogation, al-Baluchi was kept in a "standing sleep deprivation position" for about a day, and afterward he was returned to his cell naked and again placed in a standing sleep deprivation position, where he remained until his next interrogation the following day, the document shows. He was also denied solid food and given a cold-water bath afterward.
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