Ex-Gitmo Australian sues former Egyptian officials

Sydney–An Australian formerly detained in Guantanamo Bay said Friday he is suing Egypt's former vice president and a son of ex-leader Hosni Mubarak over his alleged torture while in Egyptian custody.

Mamdouh Habib said he would take legal action in Egypt against former Vice President Omar Suleiman and Mubarak's son Gamal over his treatment after he was taken there under the CIA's controversial "extraordinary rendition" program.

Egyptian-born Habib has claimed he was tortured, beaten and shackled to the floor after his rendition to Egypt following his arrest in Pakistan in late 2001 in the wake of the 11 September attacks on the United States.

He said he would seek compensation over the abuse, in which he said both Gamal and Suleiman–who was the country's intelligence chief for over 15 years before a brief stint as vice president–were involved.

"Omar Suleiman, the first (time) I saw his face, I was blindfolded and he give me the biggest smack in my face. The folders came off of my face and I seen his face," he told ABC Radio.

Habib called for both Suleiman and Gamal Mubarak to be jailed.

"These people have to learn a big lesson through the law to understand how big (the) pain (is) when you kidnap people and put them in torture for no reason and (are) abusing power and do (it) because you are in a position you can do whatever you have," he said.

Before he was appointed vice president, Suleiman headed the feared General Intelligence Service.

But it is not clear how Gamal, a 47-year-old former investment banker who pushed through economic reforms after he rose in the ruling party's ranks, would have been involved with an intelligence service interrogation.

Habib, an Australian citizen, settled his claim against the Australian government–which he had claimed was complicit in his abuse–last year after reaching a confidential out-of-court settlement.

He has long said he would use the money to pursue his case in Egypt.

Habib confirmed the details of his latest case to AFP, saying his Egyptian lawyer was pressing the case but that he was unable to attend in person because Australian authorities refused to return his passport to him.

"I was tortured in Egypt, I was tortured in Pakistan, I was tortured in Guantanamo Bay," he told AFP.

The married father of four has claimed he suffered electric shocks, burning, sleep deprivation and drug injections while in Pakistan, Egypt and at Guantanamo Bay.

Habib was released without charge from Guantanamo in January 2005.

He has worked as a taxi driver, cleaner and cafe owner since coming to Australia in 1980 and has said he was visiting Pakistan at the time of his arrest for business reasons.

Suleiman was briefly appointed Egypt's vice president in January, but quit the post in February when Hosni Mubarak resigned following weeks of mass protests against his 30-year rule.

The country is currently under the rule of a caretaker military government ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections planned for later this year.

Mubarak and his two sons were detained Wednesday for 15 days as part of an investigation into violence against the protesters who brought about his ouster.

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