The ACLU is suing the CIA on behalf of the family of an Afghan torture victim desperate to discover what exactly happened to his body after being kept in the dark for more than a decade.
Gul Rahman was was living as a refugee in Pakistan with his loved ones when he was kidnapped by Central Intelligence officers during a medical checkup in November 2002.
“Over the next two weeks, CIA personnel subjected Mr. Rahman to extensive and systemic torture and abuse: they stripped him naked, shackled his hands above his head, and forced him to stand for days with out sleeping,” according to a suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday.
“They deprived him of food and drenched him in freezing water until he showed signs of hypothermia. They subjected him to repeated physical assaults.”
Rahman spent his final days in the CIA prison, where he died of hypothermia on Nov. 20, 2002. His body was found early that morning, still shackled and partially nude.
Unaware of his death, Rahman’s family for years sought answers in his disappearance. They wrote to several governments, including the United States government, to inquire on Rahman’s whereabouts but were never successful.
They did not receive official word until Dec. 9, 2014, when the release of a declassified executive summary of a 6,000 page report — titled “The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Study of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program — confirmed Rahman died in CIA custody.
Government officials did not, however tell Rahman’s family what happened with his remains.
“No grieving family should be forced to wait 16 years to have a funeral,” said ACLU National Security Project Staff Attorney Dror Ladin. “The CIA can’t hide Mr. Rahman’s body forever, and it’s long past time for the agency to come clean.”
The lawsuit, filed in federal district court for the District of Columbia, demands that the “CIA immediately produce all records” regarding Rahman’s death and his remains.