||Guantanamo Britons were 'chained to the floor and beaten'
By Sandra Laville and Nick Britten
Colin Powell, the US secretary of state, was last night forced to address allegations that the American military subjected British prisoners to psychological torture and beatings during their two years of detention at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
Speaking for the first time since his release this week , Jamal Udeen, 37, from Manchester, outlined a brutal regime of oppression including being chained to the floor during 12-hour interrogations and having an unknown drug administered by injection.
In a separate statement, Tarek Dergoul, 26, from east London, said he had been interrogated at gunpoint, beaten and subjected to "botched medical treatment" thought to involve amputation.
The men were seized in Afghanistan in late 2001 and transferred to Cuba in hoods, blindfolds and chains that shackled them to the floor of the aircraft. Challenged about the allegations that they were beaten in the camp, Mr Powell said: "I think that unlikely . . . we don't abuse people in our care. Now it is not a resort . . . in Guantanamo Bay, but at the same time we did not abuse the individuals."
He said there were visits from the International Red Cross and the charges levied at America were not warranted.
Lt Cdr Barbara Burfeind, for the Pentagon, said all the interrogation tactics used at Guantanamo were within the standards of international law.
The allegations surfaced after a week in which the men had been released from Guantanamo, flown home, questioned by anti-terrorist police in Britain and finally reunited with their families.
Dergoul described his treatment at Guantanamo Bay as "horrific". Louise Christian, his solicitor, said the process of talking about his experiences was proving painful and difficult.
"Tarek Dergoul has started to try to give his family . . . an account of the horrific things that happened to him during detention at Bagram, Kandahar and Guantanamo Bay," she said.
"This has included an account of botched medical treatment, interrogation at gunpoint, beatings and inhuman conditions.
"Tarek finds it very difficult to talk about things and his family believe his mental health has been severely affected by the trauma."
In interviews with ITV's Tonight with Trevor McDonald and The Daily Mirror, Udeen claimed prostitutes were taken to the camp and used to degrade and insult the detainees' religious beliefs.
He alleged that men who were known to be devout or were younger and unmarried were taken from their cells to a separate unit and forced to watch the women strip.
"I knew of these practices happening about 10 times," said Udeen, from Manchester. "It seemed to be those who were very young or known to be particularly religious who would be taken away. The Americans obviously knew we wouldn't be shocked by seeing Western women, so they didn't bother.
"It was a profoundly disturbing experience for these men. They would refuse to speak about what had happened."
He also described a unit in the camp known as Extreme Reaction Force - ERF - and claimed they beat him with batons, fists and feet, shouting, "Comply, comply, comply" when he refused to have an injection of an unknown drug.
He said he was then moved to the isolation cell where bright lights were kept on throughout the night to stop him sleeping.
The father of three was discovered in a Taliban prison in Kandahar after the militia retreated from the southern Afghan city following the American bombing campaign in late 2001. He said he had been travelling in Pakistan and was in Quetta when he realised war was imminent.
Heading for Europe, he hired a local driver to take him through Iran to Turkey, not realising that the route involved crossing the border into Afghanistan.
On the Kandahar road the lorry was stopped by Taliban soldiers and he was thrown into prison in the southern city and held for three months.
When the Americans arrived in the city he was moved to an airbase, interrogated and from there transferred to Guantanamo Bay in chains.
He told the programme he was chained to the floor during 40 interrogations by the CIA, FBI and MI5 that lasted up to 12 hours a time and involved them repeatedly demanding he admit to being a terrorist.
Martin Bashir challenged him: "Have you ever had any connection with a terrorist organisation?"
"No, I think I've been asked that question for two years. The answer's still no," he replied
"Are you a terrorist yourself?" Mr Bashir said.
"Obviously not," he replied. "Or else I'd be arrested, I'd still be in Cuba or the Brits would have arrested me."
Asked if he wanted revenge, Mr Udeen said no. What he wanted was for America to acknowledge the treatment was wrong and apologise, he said. "I'd like them to be in court and admit it."