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Former Pak Guantanamo prisoner hopes to win US compensation


 Islamabad, July 20, IRNA -- Former Pakistani prisoner in Guantanamo   
Bay Mohammed Sagheer Sunday said he is hopeful to win legal battle for
$10.4 million in compensation from the US government.                 
    Sagheer was freed from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, last November -- the 
first Pakistani released from the prison currently holding about 600  
inmates.                                                              
    His legal notice, served by Pakistani lawyer Mohammed Ikram       
Chaudhry in Rawalpindi, on July 9, has given one month to reply.      
    "I had no option but to sue the American government as my illegal 
detention has caused sufferings for my family and I have lost         
everything and my business is destroyed," Sagheer told a news         
conference in the presence of his lawyer.                             
    Lawyer Chaudhry told reporters that he had sent the legal notices 
to US State Department, Defense Department and US Justice Department. 
    He said he has also discussed the issue with legal experts in the 
United States to pursue the case.                                     
    Sagheer told reporters that he was kept in a small cell in        
solitary confinement and being caged and was served alcohol-laced     
drinks, forbidden by his religion, Islam.                             
    Sagheer said he was arrested by Dostam militia men in Kunduz in   
November 2001 and was then shifted to Shiberghan prison in a          
container. Later his American captors flew him to Kandahar airport and
then to Guantanamo in Cuba.                                           
    He said US officials in Guantanamo promised to pay him equal to   
the salary of American soldiers but when he was brought to Pakistan he
received only dlrs 100.                                               
    He said he was also promised by Pakistani officials a payment of  
dlrs 2,000 but he has not received more than dlrs 100.                
    Sagheer's legal statement charges maltreatment by his Afghan      
captors and later by the Americans.                                   
    Sagheer said he was taken to Guantanamo Bay in shackles and held  
there for about 10 months.                                            
    He said he was initially in solitary confinement and not allowed  
to pray, until a hunger strike by inmates led to a relaxation of the  
rules.                                                                
    He said he faced relentless questioning, almost entirely about    
Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaeda network.                             
    The notice said that for 10 months while in American custody at   
Guantanamo, Sagheer suffered mental shock, financial loss, physical   
victimization, estrangement and religious victimization.              
/MMZ/AH/AR                                                            
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