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Rendition Circuit: 24-30 October 2003

 

Rendition of Mohamed Bashmilah, Jordan to Afghanistan

 

On 26 October 2003, Mohamed Bashmilah was rendered from Jordan, where he had been detained and tortured for five days by Jordanian intelligence, to Afghanistan, where he was detained in two further secret prisons alongside numerous other detainees. Bashmilah was transferred onboard the CIA-owned Gulfstream V jet with registration number N379P, which then flew onto Iraq (potentially transferring interrogators or further detainees).  

 

 

Analysis

 

N379P left its home base of Johnston County Airport (KJNX) in the afternoon of 24 October 2003, flying to Washington Dulles International Airport (KIAD), where it stopped for just over two hours before flying on again to Prague (LKPR), landing in the early hours of 25 October. The aircraft stayed on the ground in Prague for the day, leaving in the evening for Romania, where it stopped at both Mihail Kogalniceanu International Airport (LRCK) and in Bucharest (LRBS). From Bucharest, it flew to Amman, Jordan (OJAM).

Mohamed Bashmilah has testified that he was held and repeatedly tortured in October 2003 by Jordanian intelligence in Amman. Then, in the early hours of 26 October, a guard told him that he was being released, and he was taken to a room in order to retrieve his possessions. However, at that point he was blindfolded and his hands were tied behind his back. He was led down a corridor, and could hear an American accent. He then had ear defenders placed on his head, and was driven to the airport. At this point, Bashmilah was subjected to the standard CIA renditions procedure.

Bashmilah’s account of his rendition from Jordan to Afghanistan

I was driven for about thirty minutes to the airport. At the airport I was pulled from the car and placed in a room. I was seated on a chair with my hands still in cuffs and my blindfold still on. Very shortly thereafter, I was taken violently to another room where my clothing was rapidly cut off until I was entirely naked. My blindfold was taken off and strong light beams were directed at my face while someone put their hand over my eyes. I was not able to see clearly because of this, but I could see some things in the room by peeking through the fingers of the hand over my face. There were at least three people there. One of them was the one holding me from behind and covering my eyes with his hand. I didn’t see the person holding me, but the other two that I did see were dressed head to toe in black, with black masks covering their faces and surgical gloves on their hands. They beat me and kicked me, roughing me up badly. Another person took pictures of me, and then one of them forcefully stuck his finger into my anus. I was in severe pain and began to faint.

After this ordeal I was put in a diaper like a baby and dressed in a blue shirt and pants that came below the knee, to about the mid-shin. Both the shirt and the pants had been cut to be about three-quarters length and were made of sweatshirt material. I was forced to go without shoes. They stuffed my ears with spongy material and taped all around that before putting headphones on. They blindfolded me by putting dressing, like you would on a wound, over my eyes and then taping over it. Later this tape was painfully removed, and with it clumps of my hair. They tied my legs together and chained them to my waist. Then they tied my hands together and also chained them to my waist. I was also hooded. I was in a lot of pain at this time, but I was mostly worried about my mother and wife because I did not know what was happening to them.

I was taken up six or seven steps to get on board a plane where I was forced to lie on my back. I was then strapped across the chest and legs to a metallic board, which was like a hospital gurney. This plane travelled for about four hours before landing. During the flight, I suffered pain in my head, sides, and knees from blows and kicks from the men who prepared me for the transfer and forced me onto the plane.

Flight data confirms Bashmilah's account. N379P left Amman at 04:15 GMT, flying for just over four hours direct to Kabul, Afghanistan (OAKB), landing there in the morning of 26 October. Bashmilah was taken off the aircraft at this point, and subjected to continued secret detention and torture at a CIA facility in the country. The aircraft appears to have stayed on the ground in Kabul for three days before taking off in the morning of 29 October and flying to Baghdad (ORBI) and then Porto, Portugal (LPPR). It then stayed overnight, likely for the crew to have some 'rest and relaxation', before heading back to Washington and then Johnston County, landing late in the evening of 30 October 2003.

 

Rendition Research Team - © University of Kent
University of Westminster University of Kent E.S.R.C