Former CIA Detainee Majid Khan’s Torture Finally Public

Details Go Beyond Senate Torture Report to Include Waterboarding, Further Sexual Assault, Threat with Tools

June 2, 2015, New York – Today, unclassified information detailing the CIA’s torture of Guantánamo prisoner Majid Khan was made public for the first time by Reuters, including the fact that he was waterboarded on two separate occasions. Khan’s attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), J. Wells Dixon, commented:

“Majid Khan’s personal experiences, notes of which were cleared by the government for release, confirm that the CIA has repeatedly and continuously lied about the torture program. As layers of secrecy have been peeled away throughout the Obama administration, we see more and more evidence of CIA savagery and treachery. There must be greater transparency and accountability for what happened in the CIA torture program:

•    CIA Director John Brennan should be fired;

•    The full Senate torture report and the Panetta Review should be disclosed publicly; and

•    The Justice Department should reopen its criminal investigation of the CIA torture program, including how it was authorized and carried out, as well as new questions raised by Khan’s recollections and the continuing cover up and minimization by the CIA about what actually happened in the black sites.

This is the only way to ensure that the U.S. never again resorts to torture, and the only way to move the country forward.”

Khan’s torture, according to the declassified notes, included the following:

Khan was waterboarded on two separate occasions, in May and July 2003

“Guards and interrogators brought him into a bathroom with a tub. The tub was filled with water and ice. Shackled and hooded, they placed Khan feet-first into the freezing water and ice. They lowered his entire body into the water and held him down, face-up in the water. An interrogator forced Khan's head under the water until he thought he would drown. The interrogator would pull Khan's head out of the water to demand answers to questions, and then force his head back under the water, repeatedly. Water and ice were also poured from a bucket onto Khan's mouth and nose when his head was not submerged.”

Khan was raped while in CIA custody (“rectal feeding”) and sexually assaulted

“As described in the Senate Intelligence Committee Report, Khan was raped while in CIA custody (‘rectal feeding’). He was sexually assaulted in other ways as well, including by having his ‘private parts’ touched while he was hung naked from the ceiling.”

Khan was hung on a wooden beam for days on end

“Interrogators and guards at a black site hung Khan by his hands from a wooden beam for three days. He was naked and shackled. He was provided with water but no food.”

Khan spent much of 2003 in total darkness

“Majid had an uncovered bucket for a toilet, no toilet paper, a sleeping mat and no light…. For much of 2003 he lived in total darkness.”

Khan was held in solitary

“Khan was essentially held in solitary confinement from 2004 to 2006.”

Khan’s family was threatened by interrogators

“They also threatened to harm his family, including his young sister. He was told, ‘son, we are going to take care of you. We are going to send you to a place you cannot imagine.’”

Khan experienced repeated beatings and threats to beat him with tools, including a hammer

“They would come in with a bag of tools and set them down next to Majid. They would pull out a hammer and show it to Majid. One of them threatened to hammer Majid’s head. They sometimes smelled like alcohol.”

Doctors were among Khan's worst torturers; Khan was hung on a metal bar

“When a physician came to examine him, Khan begged for help. In response, the physician instructed the guards to take Khan back into the interrogation room with the metal bar and hang him. Khan remained hanging there for another 24 hours before being interrogated again and forced to write his own ‘confession’ while being filmed naked if he wanted some rest. He was finally placed in a cell, where he remained numb and immobile for several days.”

The Center for Constitutional Rights has represented Majid Khan since he was transferred to Guantánamo Bay in 2006 after being held in secret overseas CIA “black sites” for more than three years. After he was transferred, CCR had to fight the government for a year to meet with our client, and Khan’s own memories of his torture remained classified until May 2015.

For more information, please visit Majid Khan’s case page.

CCR has led the legal battle over Guantanamo since 2002 – representing clients in two Supreme Court cases and organizing and coordinating hundreds of pro bono lawyers across the country to represent the men at Guantanamo, ensuring that nearly all have the option of legal representation. Among other Guantánamo cases, the Center represents the families of men who died at Guantánamo, and men who have been released and are seeking justice in international courts. In addition, CCR has been working through diplomatic channels to resettle men who remain at Guantánamo because they cannot return to their country of origin for fear of persecution and torture.

The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, the Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach. Learn more at


Last modified 

June 10, 2015