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Torture

At around 8 in the morning on 6 August 2010, Matt DeHart crossed the border from Canada into the United States. He had enrolled and was waiting to attend college in Canada. According to an unclassified FBI report, his crossing triggered an alert that he was wanted for questioning related to an espionage matter. Border patrol agents rushed Matt and detained him. He was handed over to the custody of local FBI agents. Matt was then taken to a basement medical room in a detention center. At the direction of the FBI he was intravenously drugged with the contents of a small plastic pouch. Then the FBI began its interrogation.

An unclassified FBI report of his interrogation confirms that the government detained Matt for “national security” reasons. The FBI interrogated Matt about his military unit, Anonymous, WikiLeaks and visits he made to the Russian and Venezuelan Embassies before going to Canada. Agents asked him nothing about teenage pornography, but presented him with a Criminal Complaint and Arrest Warrant that was not filed until the afternoon of his border detention. It alleged he solicited nude photos from a minor two years prior. Matt denies the allegations, which three judges in two countries have openly expressed scepticism about.

According to Matt, the FBI told him they knew he was innocent of the charges. Matt’s mother Leann says the lead detective on the case, Detective Brett Kniss, said the same thing to one of Matt’s lawyers and a private detective hired to work on the case.

After the FBI drugged and began interrogating Matt his memory is intermittent. “The next thing I remember is I’m laying in an ambulance looking up at the ceiling of an ambulance. What happened is, at some period while I was at the jail, I don’t know what was going on, I had collapsed,” he told the National Post.

At 1am on August 7th, 2010 Matt was admitted to the Emergency Room at the Eastern Maine Medical Centre in Bangor, Maine. The attending ER doctor diagnosed Matt as suffering from “acute psychosis associated with [] tachycardia and tremors… consistent with possible drug-induced psychosis.” Inexplicably, amphetamines were present in his urine. He was released into the custody of the government later that day.

“Something bad happened that day and they kept interrogating me,” Matt said. “I absolutely felt tortured. They aren’t attaching electrodes to you but it’s more insidious. It’s much more insidious.”

The FBI would keep interrogating Matt until 20 August 2010, when he was finally sent down south to face trial on the Criminal Complaint. At first the local Bangor, Maine FBI office handled Matt’s interrogation. But early in the week of 8 August 2010, two FBI Agents from FBI Counterintelligence arrived in Maine from Washington, D.C.

In early September, when Matt arrived at a Kentucky, where he was held awaiting trial on the Criminal Complaint, one of the inmates commented to Matt’s mother that Matt had burn marks on his arms when he arrived. When questioned about this, Matt told his mother that the burn marks were the result of a torture session that occurred in Bangor, Maine, during which he was stripped naked, had a hood placed over his head, was doused with a liquid and then tased.

Given their treatment by the United States government Matt and his family sought refugee status in Canada. The DeHarts supplied the Canadian authorities with two encrypted thumb drives and hundreds of pages of documents in support of their claim.

A Canadian immigration court denied their application, even though the court found there was no “credible or trustworthy evidence” to support the child pornography charges. Despite this, the court found that Matt could get a fair trial in the United States and denied the DeHart family’s refugee request.