( AP ) - A suspected "high-value" terrorist taken to Guantanamo last year alleges he was tortured in overseas CIA prisons and is now suffering physical and psychological trauma as a result, one of his attorneys said Saturday.
Lawyers for Majid Khan have sought a federal court order for the government to preserve any evidence of torture, arguing that evidence of harsh interrogation techniques is key to their client proving he has no ties to al-Qaida. The motion was filed prior to Thursday's announcement that the agency had destroyed videotapes of the interrogations of two top terror suspects.
Khan, the only U.S. resident among 15 so-called high-value detainees, described the alleged abuse in October during his first meetings with attorneys at the Guantanamo Bay Navy base in Cuba.
He was the first high-value detainee to meet privately with an attorney at Guantanamo.
Wells Dixon, who was not authorized to share details of his client's account, said Khan had a lot to say about his treatment in CIA custody. "He was subjected to state-sanctioned torture," Dixon alleged.
A Central Intelligence Agency spokesman denied allegations that it tortured Khan or any others as part of its terror interrogation effort that began in 2002.
Khan, a 1999 graduate of a Baltimore-area high school, was seized in Pakistan in March 2003 and held until last year in secret CIA custody. In September 2006, U.S. authorities transferred him and other high-value detainees to Guantanamo, where they may be charged and face prosecution under a new military tribunal system.
After hearing Khan's account of his time in CIA custody, his attorneys sought the court order for the government to preserve evidence of torture.
"Khan admitted anything his interrogators demanded of him, regardless of the truth (redacted) in order to end his suffering," according to the attorneys' filing.
The U.S. has alleged that Khan plotted attacks in the U.S. and Pakistan with one of the group's most dangerous operatives, 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, including a plan to bomb American gas stations.
Dixon said Khan, 27, shows symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and is unlikely to recover fully from the effects of an interrogation style that aimed to "intentionally and systematically inflict suffering."
CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano said the agency's interrogation program that used "special methods of questioning" on a small number of suspects has provided valuable insights into al-Qaida's operations and foiled terrorist attacks.
"If the CIA, with its profound counter-terror knowledge, had not stepped forward to interrogate hardened terrorists, people would be right to ask why," Gimigliano said. "Our country is safer for it."
The military recently declassified a small portion of 500 pages of the notes from the lawyers' conversations with Khan and they provide a rare glimpse of life for men considered among the most dangerous terror suspects.
Dixon said Khan, who has been on hunger strikes at Guantanamo, was extremely thin, a contrast to the burly young man he had seen in photographs. "I thought they got us the wrong prisoner," said Dixon, one of two attorneys with the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights who met with Khan.
Khan has scars including one on his left arm where he chewed through an artery in his elbow shortly after his transfer to the isolated military outpost. He also showed signs of memory loss and had difficulty concentrating, according to the notes.
The attorneys said Khan is held in an area known as "Camp 7," apart from the prison camps that journalists visit on tours, and is allowed to communicate with another high-value detainee, Abu Zubaydah.
A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon, said the military does not disclose the location of individual detainees, partly because of security concerns. He said all the roughly 305 detainees at Guantanamo are treated humanely.
Military prosecutors have said they expect to charge as many as 80 prisoners. Only three detainees are currently facing charges at Guantanamo, where men suspected of links to terrorism are held as "enemy combatants" without the same rights as traditional prisoners of war.