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Suleiman should be in jail not dead: Habib

Sat July 21, 2012 6:05am

FORMER Guantanamo Bay inmate Mamdouh Habib says he would have liked to see Egypt's former vice president and long-time spy chief Omar Suleiman go to jail, rather than die.

The official MENA news agency reported that Mr Suleiman - spy chief to deposed president Hosni Mubarak - died in the United States in the early hours of Thursday.

"He was undergoing medical tests in Cleveland," Mr Suleiman's aide Hussein Kamal said, adding that arrangements were being made to return his body to Egypt for burial, AFP reported.

Under Mubarak, Mr Suleiman served as a negotiating partner for the United States, Israel and the Palestinians, orchestrating a series of short-lived truces.

Mr Suleiman was then appointed vice president during the uprising that toppled the deposed president but left Egypt after a failed bid to run in the country's first ever free presidential elections in May.

Mr Habib told AAP on Friday Mr Suleiman had "harmed a lot of people" and "abused his power in order to help people".

"He really is the devil, he was an American devil," Mr Habib said on Friday.

"I would have loved to see him suffering in jail ... but now I think he is in hell."

Egyptian-born Mr Habib was detained in Pakistan as a suspected terrorist in October 2001, before being held in Egypt, Afghanistan and then Guantanamo Bay.

His Australian passport was cancelled after his 2005 release from the US military prison and returned to him in May last year, after the Sydney father of four was no longer deemed a security threat.

Mr Habib alleges that he met Mr Suleiman during the six months he was detained in Egypt, and says he was "beaten and drugged" while in the country.

"Everything you think could be done to me has been done to me."

Mr Habib says he is currently suing the Egyptian government for compensation, after allegedly being kidnapped and tortured there.

The first hearing for the civil case is scheduled for October, he says.

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