Here is the text of the letter in English from a translator hired by the Chicago Tribune. It is a complete text except for a few edits and missing words that are noted in brackets.
This is how they kidnapped me from Italy … and how they tortured and imprisoned me in Egypt
I / Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr known by the name “Abu Omar” the kidnapped Islamist off the Italian streets of Milan on 17-02-03 by U.S. intelligence agents as well as agents of other countries and the currently imprisoned in the Torah reception jail in Cairo.
I record my testimony from within my tomb and gravesite: and my body has weakened and my mind has become distracted and my illnesses have increased and the signs of my death and termination have appeared.
I record my testimony from within my tomb and gravesite: and my facial features have been altered by the screams of the tortured and the sounds of the whips and the hell of the jail cells.
I record my testimony from within my tomb and gravesite: and I am powerless to do anything other than give the highest thanks and loyalty and appreciation to all who have lit a candle light of hope on the road leading to the uncovering of the mystery of my kidnapping from Italy and my imprisonment and torture in Egypt.
Before I start telling my testimony, I regard it as my duty to give some important pieces of information that may reveal the mystery of my kidnapping and the parties involved in it:
1. One of the Egyptian security officials who was interrogating me told me, as I was blindfolded with my hands secured behind me, and dispossessed of all my clothes, naked as the day my mother had given birth to me, hanging from my feet, my head down, I say this interrogator told me that he visited Italy a little while prior to my kidnapping and he told me and described to me the Mosque in which I pray as well as the Mosque of the Islamic Cultural Institute on [Jenner] Street, he also described to me the streets leading to my home and the home building number as well as the floor that I live on; i.e. the Egyptian regime was aware of the kidnapping operation and the Egyptian authorities may have been involved with the U.S. intelligence and others and I cannot describe this interrogator or identify his name as I was blindfolded.
2. One day after my kidnapping, as I heard from trusted sources in Italy, the Austrian security authorities subpoenaed Sheikh/ Shawky Mohamed who is an Austrian citizen and who works in the field of Da’wa [missionary work] and they asked him about everything with regards to a person called Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr (me), and none of my friends, or my wife or anyone had knowledge [missing words]. So did the plane that transported me above Austrian lands.
3. I ask that the Italian judiciary listen to the testimony of Mr. Nabil El Tounsi who is currently imprisoned in Milan for he has information that may be important regarding my kidnapping.
4. Approximately one month prior to my kidnapping, I used to receive phone calls on my cell phone and someone would ask: “Is Abu Omar there?” Or “could I speak to Abu Omar?” and when I would tell him that I am Abu Omar he would hang up, i.e. my cell phone was being monitored all day and night as well as my private computer, I would receive many emails which when I opened would result in causing defects to my computer.
5. One of the security officers in Egypt told Sheikh Mohamed Reda El Badry that there was a video camera inside Abu Omar’s apartment in Milan and he was videotaped for a period of time that was not small. And now I begin to describe my kidnapping:
I was walking from my home on (Conti Verdi Street A18) in the middle of the day on Monday 17.02.2003 to perform my noon prayers at the Mosque of the Islamic Cultural Institute on [Jenner] Street, and I had left my job at the Mosque of the Islamic community on road 95 a few months prior to my kidnapping and all connections between me and those who prayed there had been severed.
I say: As I was going to perform my noon prayers, I had in my pockets the following items:
A. 450 Euros, I was going to pay 400 Euros, the rent amount for the apartment in which I resided with my wife.
B. My Italian passport (the political asylum passport)
C. The Italian Residency (the Sigorno).
D. My cell phone.
E. The social security card.
F. My medical card.
G. A watch that was in my hand.
H. My apartment keys (Conti Verdi Street A18).
And these items are present at the headquarters of the Egyptian Intelligence in Hadayek Al Quba across from the Republican Palace and I have not gotten them back to this date and they ordered me to write a declaration that I had come to Egypt without any possessions.
And I witnessed while outside the doorway of the building in which I reside, I witnessed a white van (about 2 ton) and completely closed, the van passed in front of me and I did not pay attention to it and as I walked on the street next to the mosque and across from a public park and a few meters away from uninhabited apartment buildings and a security kiosk at the bottom of the buildings, I saw a red Fiat 127 that stopped near the sidewalk where the gate to the public park is and the driver of the car rushed towards me and took out of his pocket a card and passed it in front of my face and told me police and asked for my Sigorno papers and so I took out my Italian passport as well as my Sigorno and showed them to him. He took out his phone and called a number that I don’t know and began to give out my details and he was standing on the sidewalk where the buildings were and he was facing the public park while I had my back to the public park and was facing the officer and the features of this person who stopped me suggested that he was an American: His hair was blonde with a bald spot in the front and his face was white with a reddish tint and he was about 169 cms in height and my entire focus was on this person and so I did not pay attention to the car that kidnapped me and which is the same car that passed in front of me as I left my home (the white van) and I think that this van arrived as this person was speaking to me and parked by the sidewalk on which I stood. Suddenly, I was being lifted off the ground so I turned my head and saw two Italian-looking people each of whom was at least 187 cms tall or maybe more and who seemed to be in their thirties, as for the American, he was probably in his forties.
And an Egyptian woman who was walking witnessed my kidnapping and she resides on the same street that I was kidnapped off and she was the one who informed the Arabs in the mosque on [Jenner] Street-the cultural institute.
I say: I saw myself lifted into the van so I tried to resist but I was severely beaten in my stomach and the rest of my body and was forced down onto the floor of the car and my face was then masked and the van was dark inside after the door was shut and my hands and feet were then tied and the car sped away while I was in pain from the severity of the beating and as the car drove on, my physical power began to collapse and sounds came out of my mouth that resembled the death gurgle and liquid came out of my mouth (white foam) and my body began to stretch out and both my legs began to stretch out strongly and unawares a few drops of urine fell from me without my will and then I heard the screams of one of these two persons who kidnapped me and they both began to tear at my clothes quickly and one of them began to compress on my heart (massage) and the other removed the mask on my face and pointed a small light onto my eyes and then after he was reassured that my eyes were following the light he covered my face again and spoke with his partner and they both left me.
The car drove on for many hours, I don’t think I would be mistaken if I said around 4 hours approximately and then the car stopped and some people carried me by the arms and legs after removing my shoes and taking them and I don’t know whether they were other than the two people who were with me in the car and who kidnapped me off the streets of Milan. And was I transferred to another car or onto a small plane? I’m not sure. But what I can say is that I felt no air bumps or shortness of breath the way it happens to those who ride a plane. At the same time I felt no shaking or the presence of bumps as those who ride a car might feel.
And I don’t think that they sedated me for I was self-aware and aware of those around me although the awareness was not full perhaps because of the beatings and the pain I was feeling or maybe they did lightly sedate me, all conjectures are possible.
The car or the plane went on for a short while, about an hour or slightly longer and then they took me out and put me somewhere while I was still blindfolded and with my hands and legs still tied, this place where they put me is an airport, I recognized that from the sounds of the air conditioners or the sounds of engines or maybe both. They left me alone for a while or maybe they were with me but I heard after a short while the sounds of many feet maybe 7 or 8 sets. After that they stood me on my feet and began to cut the plastic restrictions binding my feet and they removed my clothes and they definitely cut off my clothes with tools that they had for I did not feel their hands and they did the same with the restrictions on my hands and they dressed me in other clothes and in a sudden moment they removed the blindfold that was on my eyes and I saw many men or shadows in front of me, for I could not see very well because of the length of time that I was blindfolded; these people were wearing the same clothes like the ones worn by special units and I saw in the many pockets in their clothes tools such as those carried by men of special operations such as knives and screwdrivers … etc. I saw all of this in just a few seconds in which they photographed me and then they bound my whole head and face with wide adhesive tape (wide Sellotape as it is called in Egypt) and they left an opening for my nose and one for my mouth and they tied my feet and hands from behind with plastic binds and then they lifted me into an airplane, I realized that it was a plane after it flew for I felt what a passenger may feel at takeoff as in shortness of breath and a narrowness in the chest. Inside the plane, I felt an extreme chill to the extent that I thought that I was inside a fridge as the temperature was under zero and as the plane took off the temperature in the plane began to rise.
When I went on the plane I heard the sounds of soft classical music and I was lying down maybe on the floor and there was a mattress beneath me or maybe I was lying across more than one seat but I did not move left or right during the cruise and as the plane took off they placed earphones in my ears so I didn’t hear anything other than music and the movement of feet of those on the plane. Were there others with me on the plane, passengers or other abductees? Was the plane a civilian plane or a military one? I know nothing.
I forgot to mention that they tied my right toe with wire I believe it was attached to an instrument that was measuring my heartbeats. And maybe they placed other wires on my body, I don’t remember because I’ve been living in a state of terror, fright, fear and shock since I was kidnapped off the street and until the moment that I am writing these papers (the testimony) for I am absolutely certain that I will be physically eliminated after this brutal torture that I am experiencing day and night.
The plane flew for many hours, approximately 7 hours. I wasn’t aware of our destination and I wasn’t presented with any food from the moment of my abduction off the street. I experienced on the plane extreme difficulty breathing but nobody cared except after they were certain of my impending death then I felt a respirator invade my nose and they hit me several times on the face after which I felt that we had arrived at our desired destination as I felt the plane circling about the airport waiting for permission to land
Sure enough, it was only a few minutes before the plane began its descent and a little while later I felt someone tying my feet and hands with more plastic binds in addition to the ones already there, I screamed from the severity of the pain as if knives were cutting into my hands and feet and sure enough I was bleeding and I think they feared that I would do something as I was descending from the plane even though I was in a very bad health condition.
They removed the earplugs that were in my ears and I heard the sounds of airplane engines and the voices of people but I was unable to distinguish the language that they were speaking in. Then, I heard the sound of feet coming towards me and they carried me and stood me on my feet and they began to walk me and I saw myself go down about 3 or 4 steps and became certain that the plane was not a civilian plane or that it was a small military plane as the stairs to civilian planes are not less than 20 steps. As soon as my feet touched the ground, I heard someone speaking in Arabic with an Egyptian accent and say to me, “come up”–although he could see the bindings on my feet, so they helped me up, and it must have been a mini-bus. They seated me in the back seats and someone sat next to me and I think he saw the bleeding from my hands for I felt a knife cutting through the plastic binds and replaced by metal cuffs. I was scared to ask him to do the same with the plastic binds on my feet for I am dead dead for sure, so there is no harm in me being patient for the remaining hours before I meet the angel of death.
The mini-bus sped through the streets of Cairo and it was little under a half hour later when the vehicle stopped and the door was opened and they ordered me out. I didn’t know where am I? What’s the name of the place they were taking me to? I entered a building and in a room they removed the binds on my feet or to be more exact they cut the plastic binds on my feet and they directed me towards and facing a wall and they removed the tape on my face as I screamed in pain as the tape took out some of the hairs of my beard and mustache as well as my eyelashes and eyebrows and my face bled. They ordered me to open my eyes and close them very quickly and a few minutes later they began to completely undress me and they replaced the clothes and dressed me in blue garb (prison clothes) and I saw the faces of three Egyptian men of course and a photographer came and began to photograph me from all angles and then they bound my hands and feet and blindfolded me and took me to an office and I was in a terribly ill state. They sat me on a chair and I heard the voice of someone say to me, “We will begin interrogations with you now,” and he began to ask me my name, age and everything about my job and family and my travel outside Egypt and then he said to me, “In the room there are two great Pashas and one of the Pashas will speak to you,” (and the word Pasha in Egypt currently means someone of extreme importance either politician or military) and the great, great Pasha said to me, “Do you hear me well?” So, I answered, “Yes.” Then he said to me, “I will ask you one question and I want a brief response from you without excess, actually no, just a one-word response. Do you accept to work with us in exchange for your safe return to Italy?” So, I said no and I wanted to continue but he said, “Be quiet, don’t speak at all.” [Brief passage redacted to remove unconfirmed speculation about Egyptian interrogator's identity.] After this, they took me to a cell approximately 2 meters by 11/2 meters and which had no toilet and it had a simple light and a very small opening in the ceiling for penetration of air and they removed the bindings on my hands and feet as well as the blindfold on my eyes and I slept the first night or more correctly the first day, for it was approximately 5 or 6 a.m. since I had heard the call to dawn prayers when I first arrived at the building. I slept for a few hours out of extreme pain, worry, despair, fear and terror and then someone wearing a military uniform opened the cell door, I later learned that I was in the National Security and Egyptian Intelligence headquarters building, and he tied a blindfold around my eyes and took me to a bathroom and instructed me, “Do not remove the blindfold until after you enter the bathroom and the door is closed and knock on the door when you are done so that I may come and blindfold you again.” Then they presented me with some food and about an hour later they opened the cell door and blindfolded me and tied my hands and took me to an office and the interrogations and torture began, they removed all my clothes and removed the binds on my hands and replaced them with other binds that were like three binds; 2 binds on my hands behind my back and one bind which they tied around one foot so that I was standing on one foot and I would fall to the floor naked as they laughed and lifted me back up and again and again and the electric shocks began as well as the hand beatings and the threats to rape me if I refused to talk and if I held back anything I knew and then they gave some paper and a pen and asked me to write everything about my life and to the day that I departed Egypt and what I did outside Egypt. The interrogations were repeated a number of times and they showed me many pictures of people in Italy (Egyptians, Tunisians, Algerians, Moroccans, etc.)
The atmosphere inside the cell was really bad despite the presence of lighting and despite leaving me without a blindfold but the size of the cell was like hell in the summer with the temperature approaching half boiling point (50 degrees Celsius) and as for the winter the temperature was close to 5 degrees below zero which led to my suffering from rheumatism and weak bones and pain in my chest.
The interrogation with me lasted a complete 7 months, I entered on 18-02-03 and left on 14-09-03. I managed one time to see an Islamist leader at night as the bathroom was outside the cells and each of us would bang on the door for a guard to open and take us and the guard took this leader and I looked through a tiny hole in the cell door and saw him.
Seven months passed as if seven years. I experienced pain and torture and reading papers and magazines was completely prohibited as well as radio and television or seeing family members, everything was prohibited, an unbearable hell and I kept myself busy by telling myself that my Italian government would not let me down and that the Italian ambassador will come and release me by force for I am an Italian citizen by law and hold an Italian passport, but none of this happened. During the interrogations, they asked me about some of the words written in my Italian passport and in the Sigorno and what they meant in Arabic and they asked about the phone numbers stored on my cell phone and then they told me that I was going to be moved to another place and they gave me two papers. One paper stated that I had been well treated and that I was never tortured and they forced me to sign it under the threat of further torture until I signed. As for the second paper, it stated that I had no belongings in their custody, so I refused and told them that I brought with me from Italy a few items that were on me and I listed them but he said to me that the people who brought me from Italy stole them and took them and I responded, “The things are here and they asked me during the interrogations about them,” so they tortured me until I signed that I had no belongings.
I took off the clothes they had dressed me in (the blue clothes) and they gave me the clothes I had worn coming in from Italy, the clothes that the people who kidnapped me had dressed me in; a training suit (pajama style) the sleeves were torn as well as the legs of the pants were cut at the bottom down to the legs. They then bound my hands behind my back as well as bound my feet and blindfolded me and then they placed me on a mini-bus and I was very happy as I imagined that I was returning to my country, Italy, after the intervention of the Italian government. They asked me, “Do you know where you are going?” I responded, “To the airport to return to Italy,” and they left me and did not respond. The vehicle drove for approximately half an hour and then it stopped and they opened the door and ordered me to step down and they took me to a building and I heard footsteps coming towards me and take me to a room and suddenly I saw many hands beating me all over my body as well as feet and curses from many mouths and then they asked me my name and my age and job and about my family and they told me, “You are now in a place that even blue flies cannot get to,” and they put me in a cell while my hands and feet were still bound and I was still blindfolded and they warned me against taking off the blindfold or moving it even a little and they told me that “there is a guard at the door who will be watching you and if he sees you moving the blindfold you will undergo a torture campaign.”
I asked them about the “Qibla” [direction for prayer] and where the bathroom was so that I could use and wash for prayer and they said, “You are in a bathroom,” and they moved the blindfold slightly to the top and said, “Look at this place where you will urinate and defecate,” there was an extremely small hole, “and this is that water that you will use for drinking and for washing after urinating and defecating,” the same water container. The cell had no electricity and one cannot tell night from day and has no openings for ventilation and there was one blanket. How can I sleep in a bathroom that smells so disgustingly rotten, that cattle would be embarrassed to urinate or defecate in, let alone a human being? The cell was approximately the same size as the cell in which I stayed for about seven and a half months at the Egyptian National Security & Intelligence building near the Republican Palace in Hadayek El Quba. As for this new place, I found out later that it is called the State Security Apparatus and is in Nasr City in Cairo. And although I do not wish to recollect this place which every time I remember, I remember what I experienced in brutal torture and sexual abuse and I am overtaken with [unclear word] and uncontrollable and continuous weeping. But I will tell of some of what happened to me there.
1. The size of the cell, as I mentioned is 2 meters long by 1 and half meters wide. It has no openings whatsoever for ventilation except for an air filter with a motor that resembles, in sound, the sound of a tank’s engine, and there is one blanket that I sleep on and that is extremely dirty and exudes a terrible rotting smell. I believe that dozens of other people have slept on it before me. And the cell is underground where you cannot distinguish between night and day and the cockroaches and rats and insects walk all over my body night and day.
2. I didn’t know the times for prayer and was not allowed to wash for prayer, so I would pray in any direction and the beatings and kicking and the electric baton if the guard opened the door and found me sitting or sleeping, I had to get up quickly when I heard the key in the cell door, so I would stand up, face to the wall and my hands lifted high up and would rest on my knees afterwards and they gave me a number in place of my name, number 27 and it was the same number on my cell, so he would say, “Hey number 27!” and I would respond and if I didn’t respond, he would brutally beat me. This in regard to the number in the cell as for when they take me for interrogations, they call me by a woman’s name or by vagina or male or female asshole.
3. The food presented to me is a kind of rotting hard (like stone) bread that if I eat a piece of, the gums become torn and causes pain to the teeth, the percentage of dirt in this bread is higher than the percentage of flour, one must first wet it in water to be able to chew and swallow and they sometimes present rotten food and very little of it as the policy is to not fulfill the prisoner and to just keep him barely alive merely bones covered in a little meat (a skeleton) or (a semi human being).
4. I stayed in this place “State Security Apparatus” for about 7 and a half months spent in interrogations. And interrogations are held twice a day. The first is at 11 noon [noon prayers are sometimes performed at 11 a.m.] up to afternoon prayers approximately (3:30-4:30 pm) and from 9 p.m. until slightly before dawn. The interrogations are conducted in rooms close to the cells and the prisoner hears in his cell the screams, the howling and the weeping.
When I was first kidnapped in Italy, I had maybe 4 or 5 white hairs in my head and in my beard, but after going to Egypt and after the brutal torture the hair on my head and beard has turned white.
I will try to relay quickly some of what would happen in the interrogation rooms:
1. In the preliminary times, they would curse Italy and its government for giving me political asylum and they would say to me, “It is Italy that gave you to Egypt, and no one will come to rescue you from this torture.” And they ordered me to write a waiver of my political asylum which I obtained in Italy .
2. At the beginning of the interrogation process, the guard opens my cell door and makes sure to blindfold me tightly and changes the position of my bound hands to behind my back out of fear that I would remove the blindfold and witness the officer that is interrogating and torturing me. My feet remain bound and then I’m dragged to the interrogation rooms. They then remove all my clothes (naked as the day my mother gave birth to me) and they let me into where the interrogators are who order them to play with my genitals in order to humiliate me and then the brutal torture begins and which continues throughout the time that one spends in this “State Security Apparatus” seven and a half months.
3. I was hung like slaughtered cattle, head down, feet up, hands tied behind my back, feet also tied together, and I was exposed to electric shocks all over my body and especially the head area to weaken the brain and paralyze it and in the nipples and my genitals and my penis and I was beaten in my genitals with a stick and they were squeezed if I refused to answer or lied to the interrogator.
4. I was exposed to all forms of crucifixion. They crucified me on a metal door, and on a wooden apparatus which they call “El Arousa” or “the bride” hands up high, behind my back, to the sides as well as the feet tightly together and spread apart and torture during crucifixion by means of electric shocks and by being kicked and beaten with electric cables, water hoses and whipped.
5. Newspapers, magazines, radio, television, paper, pen, talking with the guard and even the Koran are all absolutely prohibited; it would be easier to ask for my release than to ask for the Koran. I dared once to ask the guard for the Koran and it turned into a day that was blacker than night; they told me, “So you can see through your blindfold and you have the strength to hold the Koran in your hands and you have the patience to bear the pains of torture.” So, they multiplied my torture many times more than what I used to endure and had they brought me the Koran, I wouldn’t have been able to read it for the room is dark black and you can’t see your own hands but I had hoped to kiss the Koran with my lips and to hug it to my chest even for just a few minutes so that some of the humiliation and torture and pain that I`ve been through would depart from me.
6. They beat me severely on both ears until I lost hearing in one ear.
7. I underwent torture through what they call “the mattress” and it is a mattress that is placed on the tiled floor of the torture chamber and it is wet down with water and attached to electricity. My hands were tied behind my back and so were my feet and someone sat on a wooden chair between my shoulder blades and another sat on a wooden chair between my legs and the electricity was switched on and I find myself raised from the strength of the electricity that is touching the water but the wooden chairs are keeping me from rising high and then the electricity is switched off and the interrogator tortures me by electric shocks to my genitals while cursing me and telling, “Let Italy be of benefit to you.”
8. Depriving me of any long periods of sleep and leaving me standing for hours and not allowing me to bathe except once every 4 months and they left the hair on my head and beard without cutting it until they released me in April 2004 and returned me to my home and family and I saw myself in the mirror and found myself resembling Saddam Hussein when they captured him in the famous hole.
9. I was placed near the torture chambers for long periods of time to hear the screams of the tortured and their moans and their howls so that I would collapse psychologically and sure enough I experienced episodes of epilepsy and passing out.
10. I was sexually abused and sodomized twice and this was the worst thing that I went through for signs of physical torture eventually go away and the pain goes away but the psychological repercussion and the bitterness and scandal of sexual violation remain. This sexual violation occurred twice where my hands were restrained behind my back and so were my feet and they lay me on my stomach, naked, and someone lay on top of me and began to try to rape me and I screamed so hard and so loud that I passed out and I don’t know whether he raped me or he was just intimidating and threatening.
11. When they took me to the State Security Prosecution in March and April 2004 they tortured me before going to the prosecutor and they would say, “Memorize what we say to you to repeat to the chief prosecutor, tell the chief prosecutor that you came to Egypt of your own free will and that you bought an Egypt Air ticket and upon descending into the Cairo airport you went to the security office at the airport and gave them your Italian passport and explained to them your story and that you want to reside in Egypt. Every time I returned from the State Security Prosecutor they question me and ask about what I’d said and they would say to me, “We will know if you are being honest or are lying.” Sure enough I said to the prosecutor what they told me to say and the prosecutor never asked me why my face was swollen or the reasons behind the wounds on my face or for the reason for leaving my hair, moustache and beard so long.
I can no longer continue to write about the conditions of brutal torture that I experienced. All I care about with regards to my presence at the State Security Apparatus in Nasr City is death. But there are no means or tools that I can use to do so, for it is the crime of suicide, but I had lost my mind after the electric shocks to my brain and head.
I obtained, later in April 2004, a release from the State Security Prosecution after several interrogations and I was released and they brought me back to the State Security Prosecutor and some investigators sat with me and told me that I was going home to my family and siblings but that I should beware of opening my mouth and telling anything about what had happened to me from my kidnapping in Italy to my torture in Egypt. And I returned to my home and family in Alexandria and I stayed with them for approximately 20 days, and during those days I called my wife and children in Europe as well as my friends and told them everything in detail beginning with my abduction to my torture in Egypt; and they arrested me again. I forgot to say that after I was released, I was transported from the State Security Appartus in Cairo to its branch in Alexandria where I stayed for about 3 days and where I was met by state security officers and they gave me what is known as “the Holy Nos” and they told me, “Don’t you dare, don’t you dare go against these holy nos:
“1. Do not go the mosques of the Islamic Jama’a and don’t pray there.
“2. Do not call Europe at all and do not go to the Italian Embassy or Consulate.
“3. You are prohibited from any form of travel.
“4. Do not go to human rights groups nor contact them.
“5. Do not speak at mosques or teach.
“6. Do not mention what’s happened to you to anyone.
“7. Do not travel outside Alexandria without prior authorization not even to nearby governorates.”
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