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CIA’s Secret Romanian Prison

2011 December 9
by Ben Achtenberg

Code Name “Bright Light” – the
CIA’s Secret Prison in Romania

Despite denials that continue even today, the CIA for years utilized a basement prison under a Romanian government building in Bucharest to hold and interrogate “high value” detainees including Khalid Sheik Mohammad before they were transferred to Guantánamo Bay. According to the Associated Press and German Public Television, the facility was not in a remote location but only a few blocks off a major boulevard in the Romanian capital. 

The basement consisted of six prefabricated cells, each with a clock and arrow pointing to Mecca, the officials said. The cells were on springs, keeping them slightly off balance and causing disorientation among some detainees. The CIA declined to comment on the prison.
            During the first month of their detention, the detainees endured sleep deprivation and were doused with water, slapped or forced to stand in painful positions, several former officials said. Waterboarding was not performed in Romania, they said.

The AP article does not further elucidate the boundary between dousing with water and waterboarding. The prison was in operation between 2003 and 2006, when the prisoners were transferred to Guantánamo. Romanian officials continue to claim that “no such activities took place on Romanian territory.”

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