WASHINGTON – The International Committee of the Red Cross produced in 2007 a secret report, in which it concluded that the treatment of al-Qaeda captives by CIA interrogators "constituted torture," The Washington Post reported Monday.
The newspaper quotes the ICRC report as saying that the treatment of inmates at secret prisons run by the US Central Intelligence Agency amounted to "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment," which is prohibited by the Geneva Conventions.
The findings were based on conclusions by ICRC officials who were granted exclusive access to the CIA's "high-value" detainees after they had been transferred in 2006 to the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the report said.
The 14 detainees gave uniform accounts of abuse that included beatings, sleep deprivation, extreme temperatures and, in some cases, waterboarding, the paper noted.
The Post said that at least five copies of the report had been shared with the CIA and top White House officials in 2007, but barred from public release by ICRC guidelines intended to preserve the group's policy of neutrality in conflicts.
The paper quotes an unnamed US official familiar with the report as saying that "it is important to bear in mind that the report lays out claims made by the terrorists themselves."
The report says prisoners at the secret jails were routinely beaten, doused with cold water and slammed head-first into walls, according to The Post.
Between sessions they were stripped of clothing, bombarded with loud music, exposed to cold temperatures, and deprived of sleep and solid food for days, the paper says.
Some detainees described being forced to stand for days, with their arms shackled above them, wearing only a diaper, it adds.
"On a daily basis . . . a collar was looped around my neck and then used to slam me against the walls of the interrogation room," the report quotes detainee Walid bin Attash as saying.
Later, he said, he was wrapped in a plastic sheet while cold water was "poured onto my body with buckets."
ICRC officials did not dispute the authenticity of the report, but a committee spokesman expressed dismay over the leak of the material, The Post said.
"We regret information attributed to the ICRC report was made public in this manner," the paper quotes spokesman Bernard Barrett as saying.
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