Thailand on Wednesday denied a news report that it had allowed the United States to set up a secret prison where a top al-Qaida suspect was allegedly mistreated during interrogation. ABC News reported Tuesday that Thailand was the first country to allow the CIA to set up a prison to interrogate terror suspects. It was established in 2002 following the capture in Pakistan of Abu Zabayda, who was whisked to a disused warehouse on an air base in Thailand, ABC said. "I guarantee there isn't one," Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Minister Chitchai Wannasathit told reporters Wednesday, while also denying that any prisoner was brought to Thailand from Pakistan in 2002. "We don't have anything more to point out on this matter either domestically or abroad. I ask that Thai people be confident that this information can be trusted," he said.
Capt. Monton Sucharkorn, spokesman for Royal Thai Air Force, said there was no such warehouse on any air base in the country. "These days Americans can no longer freely walk in and out of Thai airfields," he said, referring to the Vietnam War era when the U.S. maintained a string of air bases in the country.
The ABC report said that Zabayda was kept in a small warehouse on an "active air base" where he was treated by a CIA-dispatched doctor for wounds sustained in Pakistan. Once healthy, he was slapped, made to stand long hours in a cold cell, then handcuffed, strapped to a board and submerged in water, the report alleged.
An earlier report by the Washington Post about secret CIA prisons in Thailand as well as Eastern Europe has also been denied by the Thai government. The United States has come under fire from critics in Europe over allegations that it violated human rights and European law by running clandestine jails on the continent, reports the AP. I.L.