Bush may be out of office next week, but the torture issue isn't going away. In an interview with Bob Woodward, Susan J. Crawford, the official charged with deciding whether to bring Guantanamo Bay detainees to trial, says that the United States tortured Mohammed Al Qahtani, the so-called "20th hijacker" from September 11. "His treatment met the legal definition of torture," she says. The techniques used against Al Qahtani included sustained isolation, sleep deprivation, sexual humiliation, and prolonged exposure to cold. Twice, he was hospitalized with bradycardia, a potentially deadly condition where the heart rate falls below 60 beats per minute. "The techniques they used were all authorized, but the manner in which they applied them was overly aggressive and too persistent," Crawford said. "You think of torture, you think of some horrendous physical act done to an individual. This was not any one particular act; this was just a combination of things that had a medical impact on him, that hurt his health. It was abusive and uncalled for."
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