Pakistan anti-drone activist freed after kidnap, torture

Pakistan anti-drone activist freed after kidnap, torture
Sat Feb 15, 2014 08:11:54

A Pakistani man known for his vocal opposition to the US drone program has returned home after being interrogated and tortured following his kidnapping last week, his lawyer said.

Shahzad Akbar, Kareem Khan’s lawyer, said on Friday that his client has safely returned home after he was tired up and beaten on the soles of his feet. Akbar said Khan was first tortured by men wearing police uniforms and others wearing civilian clothing.

“He was questioned about so many people he had no idea about. He was also questioned about drone victims by name,” Akbar said Friday. “He was told not to go near media when he was released. If you speak with media, they said, we will come back for you.”

Khan was last seen in the early morning hours of February 5th outside his home approximately nine miles from Islamabad. He was reported abducted by 15 – 20 men, some of whom were wearing police uniforms, and taken away.

The kidnapping, which happened as his wife and children were also at home, came just days before Khan was scheduled to testify to lawmakers in Europe about a drone strike that killed his father, brother, and a suspected man.

Khan was also the first man to sue both the Pakistan government and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) over the deaths of his loved ones. Islamabad has publicly condemned the drone strikes yet has failed to convince much of the international community it is not complicit.

When Khan was first kidnapped the police denied any involvement, with a spokesman telling reporters that no raid had been scheduled. However Khan was freed less than two days after a Pakistani court ordered the authorities to release him by February 20 or provide a reason for his imprisonment.

“After being abducted in the early morning hours of February 5 ... Khan was taken to a cell in an undisclosed location,” the lawyer said. “Later in the day, he was blindfolded and driven for approximately 2-3 hours to another undisclosed location where he remained until his released.

“While detained, Khan was interrogated, beaten and tortured. He was placed in chains and repeatedly questioned about his investigations into drone strikes, his knowledge of drone strike victims and his work advocating on their behalf.”

The US continues the drone attacks on Pakistani people, defying Pakistan’s opposition to the lethal act, claiming that it tries to kill al-Qaeda and Taliban terrorists, while people and government in Pakistan say the attacks leave civilians dead.


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