Damning evidence from an Egyptian intelligence officer that names an Australian official who witnessed the torture of Sydney man Mamdouh Habib in Guantanamo Bay has been revealed as the trigger for a hushed-up government payout to Mr Habib and a high-level investigation.
The explosive 840-word statement, released exclusively to The Sun-Herald, was shown to government solicitors three days before they suddenly paid Mr Habib an undisclosed amount to drop his lawsuit claiming Australia was complicit in his CIA-engineered kidnap in 2001, transfer to Egypt and subsequent torture.
In his statement, which is yet to be tested in court, the intelligence officer says Egyptian guards routinely filmed terrorism suspects in their jails. He says there is footage and photographs of Mr Habib and an Arabic-speaking Australian called George who witnessed his degradation.Advertisement: Story continues below
”He has rounded face aged 35-40 and bald (no hair) his height is about 170 fat without moustache with beard, hazel eyes big nose, fat neck. George was present during the medical check on Habib who was handcuffed and tied feet. His eyes were closed and he was unable to see.
”He [Habib] was naked of any cloths [sic] even his underwear. He was hysterical, almost crazy, drugged. The hand down of him and his belongings and the medical check was before the Australian official [George]. Habib constantly was fighting with the guards and wanted to escape outside.
”During Habib’s presence some of the Australian officials attended many times and some of them were women. The same official who attended the first time, George, used to come with them and Habib was tortured a lot and all the time as the foreign intelligence wanted quick and fast information.”
The statement from the intelligence officer was taken by Mr Habib’s Egyptian lawyer, Hisham Mahmoud Ramadan, who told Mr Habib yesterday that the overthrow of the Mubarak regime would make it easier to get more information about his torture.