ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – A Pakistani man who was released after 10 months at the U.S. detention center on Guantanamo Bay (search), Cuba is demanding $10.4 million for suffering he claims he endured at the hands of his American guards.
Mohammed Sanghir said he was caged in a tiny cell, kept in solitary confinement for days, and unwillingly given alcohol-laced drinks during his 10 months at the prison. He was freed last November, the first Pakistani released from the prison that now holds about 600 inmates.
"They said, 'You are innocent,"' Sanghir told The AP at the time at his home in northwest Pakistan. "They didn't say sorry. They just said, 'You can go home."'
Sanghir's legal notice, served by Pakistan lawyer Mohammed Ikram Chaudhry (search) in Rawalpindi to the U.S. Embassy, was seen Wednesday by The Associated Press.
It claims that Sanghir "suffered mental shock, financial loss, physical victimization, estrangement and religious victimization" while in American custody at Guantanamo.
He wants $10 million for mental agony and another $400,000 for debts incurred by his family while he was in jail and damage to his sawmill business, it said.
The notice demands a reply within four weeks. If he doesn't get any compensation, Chaudhry said a lawsuit would be filed in either a U.S. or Pakistani court or both.
Sanghir said after he was released that his U.S. captors promised him $2,000 in compensation when he got off the plane in Pakistan -- but that he received only $100.
For two months, he tried to get the rest of his money. In December, he threatened to go to court.
Chaudhry said he had mailed the legal notice to the U.S. Embassy in the capital, Islamabad, on Wednesday and that it named the State Department, Defense Department and Justice Department.
Sanghir was arrested in northern Afghanistan along with thousands of Taliban fighters. Sanghir said he was in northern Kunduz province preaching Islam when fighting broke out, and had arrived in Afghanistan three months before Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.
While being held in northern Afghanistan, Sanghir said he was herded into overcrowded prisons and denied food.
When U.S.-led forces gained control of southern Kandahar in Afghanistan, Sanghir and several others were transferred there.
Sanghir's notice says he spent "18 days ... in Kandahar where Americans were in complete charge of the camp. They shaved the head, beard and mustaches of all the prisoners."
It says he and others were not allowed to sleep or pray and were "kept in (an) inhuman environment."
"Others were made to stand in the cold winter outside and asked questions about Al Qaeda, Taliban and Usama bin Laden," it said.
Sanghir was taken to Guantanamo Bay in shackles and held there for about 10 months, the notice said.
He said his cell on Guantanamo Bay was 6 feet by 6 feet and about 7 feet high.
The notice accused U.S. personnel in Guantanamo Bay of adding alcohol to prisoners' drinks even though consuming alcohol goes against Islam.
Sanghir said he was initially in solitary confinement and not allowed to pray, until a hunger strike by inmates led to a relaxation of the rules.
He said he faced relentless questioning about Usama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda network.