Islamabad, Jan 05 (Agencies): The family of Gul Rahman is still trying to recover his remains for burial, months after learning that he was stripped naked, doused in cold water and then left to die in a CIA-run Afghan prison known as the Salt Pit.

Suspected of links to al-Qaida, Rahman was picked up in the early morning hours of October 29, 2002 from a home in Islamabad and taken with four other people to a CIA black site called the Salt Pit near the Kabul Airport.

Rahman died on November 20, 2002, but his death was not known until revealed by an Associated Press investigation in March. Since then, appeals by his family—Afghan refugees living in Pakistan since the 1980s—for his remains have gone unanswered.

"It has been a mental torture for his family," said Gharat Baheer, who was picked up with Gul Rahman.

"His wife and his mother are in agony," said Baheer. "They want to have a religious ceremony."
The CIA on Monday declined to comment on the return of Rahman's remains. The agency has said that its detention and interrogation programme is over and it is focused on preventing future terrorist attacks.

The Rahman family has sought the help of the International Committee for the Red Cross both in Peshawar and in Afghanistan.

"But the Red Cross isn't able to get anything from the Americans," Baheer said.
Former CIA officials say Rahman was acting as a conduit between Hekmatyar and al-Qaida. Hekmatyar's insurgent group is believed to be allied to al-Qaida.

The former officials said the CIA had been tracking Rahman's cell phone at the time of his capture and were hoping the suspected militant would provide information about Hekmatyar's whereabouts.

But Rahman never cracked under questioning, refusing to help the CIA find Hekmatyar. Former CIA officials described him as one of the toughest detainees to pass through the CIA's network of secret prisons.

So far no CIA officer has been formally punished for the death of Rahman, who died of hypothermia. But federal prosecutors are re-examining his death, along with a small number of other cases involving CIA detainee abuses.