MOSCOW, June 28 (RIA Novosti) - A Russian citizen who was kept at the U.S. Naval base Guantanamo Bay has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government, claiming his rights were violated while he was detained there after being imprisoned in Afghanistan. Airat Vakhitov, 27, announced at a press conference Tuesday that prisoners had been tortured and kept in small cells with a toilet and plank bed. The prisoners were allowed to take showers and go for walks twice a week. "The food was more or less tolerable, though we doubted its quality," Vakhitov said. He said the hardest trial for the prisoners was a flight from Kandagar to Cuba, when all the accused were forced to wear glasses, masks and chains that left scars.
"Many people fainted due to a lack of oxygen [and] some went crazy during the flight," Vakhitov said.
He said prisoners were psychologically tortured by not being allowed to sleep and that guards had mocked the Koran.
"The Koran was thrown in a toilet in our presence. Such provocations took place regularly to arouse protests among the prisoners," he said.
This caused the prisoners to grow indignant, mass revolts and disorder, Vakhitov said. Three hundred people went on a hunger strike in the summer of 2003, he said.
Formerly an imam at a mosque in Naberezhniye Chelny, in Tatarstan, Vakhitov said he was brought to Afghanistan after being kidnapped by militants from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and imprisoned for being accused of contacts with Russian special services.
After a new Afghan government came to power in 2001, American secret service officers announced a $5,000 reward for each foreign prisoner, he said.
Vakhitov was taken to Guantanamo Bay in the summer of 2002, where he was kept until February 2004. It was then that he was extradited to Russia along with six other Russian prisoners.
Vakhitov was later acquitted in Russia.