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The 50-year-old Saudi-born Palestinian was detained in March 2002 on suspicion of being a senior member of al-Qaeda.
An inmate at Guantanamo Bay claims he was tortured by his American captors after the 9/11 attacks and plans to file a complaint with the United Nations over his continual 19-year detention, his lawyer said.
Helen Duffy, lawyer for Abu Zubaydah, said Friday that the complaint will be filed with the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention against the United States and six other countries, requesting intervention in the case.
Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn, a 50-year-old Palestinian born in Saudi Arabia, was detained in Pakistan in March 2002 on suspicion he was a senior member of al-Qaeda who helped plan the 9/11 attacks.
His lawyer says he was then given to the CIA, which moved him through numerous secret units in a handful of countries before being brutally interrogated.
He was the first of dozens of detainees to experience waterboarding and other now-banned techniques as U.S. intelligence agencies tried to force information from him about others in the group.
In 2003, Abu Zubaydah was transferred to Guantanamo, where he has been ever since. U.S. officials have since admitted he was never a member of al-Qaeda or even an important figure among outlawed groups.
Even more, an FBI agent who interrogated him has said that he cooperated easily before being tortured, and so had nothing to add upon being subjected to the CIA’s extreme interrogation methods, including 83 instances of waterboarding.
Like almost all of the last 40 detainees in Guantanamo, Zubaydah has never been charged and faces indefinite imprisonment.
Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn, better known as Abu Zubaydah, wants to subpoena James E Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, the two CIA contractors https://t.co/6RcjYNS1JG
Duffy said in a statement: "His detention has no lawful basis in international law [and] offends all principles of due process."
The petition asks the UN agency to find that the U.S. is obliged to release him, and also demands that six other countries involved in his disappearance – the United Kingdom, Thailand, Afghanistan, Lithuania, Poland and Morocco – use their powers to secure his release and relocation.
“After 19 years of arbitrary detention, the only appropriate legal remedy for Abu Zubaydah is release and rehabilitation,” Duffy said.
Diuffy added that how Biden's administration responds to the complaint “will be a test of its newly stated commitment to international rule of law and human rights."
In a separate case, the U.S. Supreme Court said Monday it would review Zubaydah’s petition to subpoena two CIA consultants who oversaw post-9/11 torture operations.
That petition is related to an investigation in Poland into torture conducted by the CIA at a black site in the country, including on Zubaydah.