Abou Elkassim Britel can’t sleep, or he sleeps too much; it varies. He backs out of commitments. The Islamic website he wants to publish from his Italian home remains unfinished.
“I would add,” he said through translation, “that I cannot think of the future.”
The doctors tell Britel that he has post-traumatic stress disorder, after a decade-long ordeal of imprisonment without charge or transfer and abuse. It began in 2002, when the United States packed him onto a contractor’s Gulfstream V in Pakistan and flew him to Morocco.
Britel survived what the US calls rendition, an extrajudicial process of transferring a detainee for “interrogation” in a foreign country. Allies of the US beat Britel with a cricket bat, shoved a bottle into his anus, denied him access to lawyers and Italian diplomats and unceremoniously released him in 2011, as if nothing ever happened.
“Rendition is a series of shocking events, one worse than the other,” he said.