A doctor examined Auld and declared him fit for interrogation. For at least seven days and nights he was subjected to what became known – in reports by Amnesty International and other organisations – as the five techniques: the stress position, hooding, white noise, deprivation of sleep and little food and drink. When Auld moved from the stress position he was beaten. Occasionally the hood was removed and lights were shone into his eyes.
Several of the men, including Auld, were bundled on to a helicopter and thrown out, thinking they were high up. They were a few feet from the ground.
Auld assumed he would eventually be killed so tried to end his suffering by hurling himself at heating pipes to break his neck. “But I just hurt my head. That, for me, was the worst because I couldn’t die. That sense of helplessness and isolation was horrendous.”
Auld was eventually transferred to a prison, then a mental health hospital, before returning home. He was not charged with any offence.
In a case taken by the Irish government, the European court of human rights ruled in 1978 that the treatment of the “hooded men” was inhuman and degrading but not torture. Auld received £16,000 in compensation. After 9/11 the Bush administration cited the ruling to defend its “enhanced interrogation” policy.