[News] Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal Day 2

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed May 9 10:56:18 EDT 2012

Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal Day 2

by <http://www.laurenbooth.co.uk/>Lauren Booth
Tuesday, May 8th, 2012



Evidence from Jameela Abbas, Iraq.

57 years old. Former chief of the corporation of 
unions in Kirkuk. Now based in Damascus, Syria.

She was held at airport detention centre and then Abu Ghraib.

This is a partial transcript of her testimony to the Tribunal.

Jan 13 2004 in the early hours US military broke 
into her house with force in Kirkuk. The 
Americans rounded up the whole family including 
her 22 year old daughter, her son, 17, her nephew 
25 and female guest of 23 and herself. She was 
accused of providing monetary assistance to the 
resistance and they wanted the money. They 
searched the house and found only 150 dinars 
family expenses. They tied her hands behind her 
with wires very tightly. They dragged her by her 
hair into the garden in the rain. She was in her 
nightclothes. It was winter. They destroyed 
everything in the house – all the belongings 
including all electrical appliances. They 
searched the family car found a car battery 
charger and accused her of using it to make 
bombs, then sprayed the car with bullets 
rendering it useless. Her head was covered with a 
hood. She felt she could not breathe, that she 
would suffocate. She was pushed into a Hummer 
vehicle where she was ‘kicked like an animal’ by 
the US soldiers. After twenty minutes in the 
vehicle she was shoved onto the road. Then 
dragged along the paved road onto a cement floor. 
She was shoeless and in her nightclothes. She was 
in a hood all this time. When the hood was 
removed she was in a cement room with a window in 
the roof. She was asked her name and date of 
birth by a US soldier and she requested to have 
her hands untied as she was in pain. This was 
refused and she was kept with her hands tied 
standing in a corner of the room. She realised 
she was in Kirkuk military airport at that time. 
The hood was returned to her head and she was 
dragged to another room. The hood was removed and 
an American in civilian clothes was there along 
with an Arab man, a translator. She was sat in a 
chair. She requested her hands again be untied. 
Then she was told that if she continued to ask 
for this she would be slapped and thrown on the 
floor. The American then asked personal questions 
and about her relationship to the Ba’ath party. 
She was accused again of being a part of the 
resistance and of funding the resistance.

She told them that she was not. That nothing was 
found in her home. The Arab man then slapped her 
hard across the face. He said ‘this is just the 
beginning if you do not cooperate. You will face 
worse things than anyone has ever heard about.’ 
She was very concerned for her daughter and her 
young female guest. She was refused water and the 
use of the toilet. Three days later on the 16th 
the hood was put again on her head and she was 
dragged into the open air from her cell. It was 
very windy and hood flew off and she saw the rest 
of her family. She became emotional because she 
felt all that they were enduring was because of 
her. Her family tried to comfort her. The Iraqi 
interpreter was there. She said ‘look on me as if 
I am your mother. Care about this young female 
here and please contact her family. Then two 
helicopters came with American soldiers. Her son 
and nephew went with her in one the girls in 
another. The helicopters windows were open it was 
cold winter. She asked for the doors to be 
closed. The soldiers refused citing the potential 
attack of residence in which case if shots were 
fired it would be her who would be killed and not 
them. She says ‘they were afraid of the 
resistance.’ They were taken far away. She saw US 
soldiers who expressed surprise to see her 
shoeless and in only her nightclothes. She met 
her daughter and the female guest at the same 
place. The three were placed in a cell together 
and their hands untied. She had not been fed for 
two days nor had she been allowed to use the 
toilet at all. Her hands were tied again and she 
was asked more questions. She was taken to a 
wooden cell 2x2m with no facilities. She was tied 
again and she was taken for a full body search by 
a female soldier. This was at Baghdad airport 
facility. She had not been fed. She was not 
allowed to sit she was dizzy and asked again and 
again who were comrades in the resistance and 
accused of being in the resistance.  Then one of 
the interrogators took her to see something she 
had never seen before. Details were spared for 
the witness here so she did not have to relive them.

She was taken to a room hung with two pictures of 
Saddam Hussein. They grabbed her hair dragged her 
by the hair and threw her from one wall to the 
other continuously, many times. She lost 
consciousness many times. When she regained 
consciousness she was aware of blaring music. 
Inside the room was a radio. She was dragged to 
another cell and dropped. She was exhausted. An 
American soldier came but she could not stand for 
long so she leaned or tried to sit. Each time she 
did so she was hit with a stick. A bag containing 
food she did not recognise and water was thrown 
at her. In the night she heard music, dancing and 
shouting. Then her cell was opened and a large 
dog was brought in which barked at her and 
frightened her. After a while the cell door was 
closed but whilst opened she realised the same 
thing was being done in all the other cell inmates too.

The second day in that prison: Hood on head, 
questioning. She was told again ‘confess!’ if not 
they said they would throw her son in prison and 
rape her daughter. She begged with them saying 
she did nothing with the resistance that she 
would swear on the Quran on the Bible.

‘The Americans said I am the Devil himself’ she 
was a black American. Icy water was poured on her 
and she was forced to crawl from one side of the 
wall to the other again and again. Then they hit 
here with a plastic tube with wood inside. When 
she fell to the floor they kicked her. She began 
bleeding, shoulders, arms and legs. This 
continued for many hours. She was taken to the 
cell told to stand straight and beaten if she 
leaned. Her bleeding wounds were not tended. The 
translator came and asked for her to be allowed 
to rest but was told by the Americans that this was her punishment.

Back in the cell her hands were tied she was 
dragged by the Afro-American soldier and sobbed 
‘Allah take me.’ Somehow her hands became free 
and she lashed out at the soldier and she was 
smashed against the wall in anger by the female 
soldier. She was then left without interrogation for two days.

On the third day she was taken again and hooded. 
When it was removed she saw her daughter. Her 
hair had been cut short. She was told to confess. 
Her daughter was a university student – she felt 
she should not go through this. She became ready 
to confess to anything just to end the suffering of her daughter.

She adds; I was feeling guilty that I was the 
reason my daughter was there. But her daughter 
said strongly ‘Iraq is for us all not just for 
you.’ So she decided not to sign anything the 
Americans asked her to. She was hooded and then a 
shot was fired and she was told; ‘We have killed 
your daughter.’ They told the daughter that she had been killed.

At this point she ‘lost her mind’ and began to 
shout. IN this condition she was taken back. 
Later in the day she was taken to the hamam and 
she saw her daughter to her great relief.

When she was next taken to the black room and 
there was her nephew before her completely naked. 
She was in only her underwear. They said we will 
beat you until you confess. Then they beat and 
kicked them both. Loud sounds were being played. 
They were beaten with plastic chairs to the 
degree that part of the plastic chairs they used 
became imbedded in her feet. This went on for 
hours. Then they brought a machine and said this 
would be used to harm her. She would have her 
head chopped by this machine. Her nephew who was 
naked was beaten in his privates. The interpreter 
later told her daughter had been released. This 
was a lie. The had released the female guest but not her daughter.

She was taken in a helicopter and she asked for 
medical assistance  for the part of the chair 
embedded in her foot this was refused. She was 
taken back to Kirkun and taken to a house chained hand and feet.

Next day after the first real food she took a 
piece of bread but the interrogator took it off 
and asked again about the resistance fighters. 
She was slapped and her hands re-tied and she was 
put into a pick up truck and taken to a large 
house converted into a prison. There were friends 
and colleagues in side who recognised her and 
threw some food by hurling it into her cell.

After 3 days she was taken back to Bagdad airport 
prison. She was told her son and nephew had been 
released but again this was a lie. She was 
getting a fever from an infection due to the 
piece of chair embedded in her feet. The next day 
surgery was performed – without anaesthetic. The 
plastic was surgically removed from her feet which was very painful.

2 days later she was taken to Abu Ghraib by 
truck. She was given a wristband and a number 
which was to be her name – 157574. She no longer 
had a name. A hood was again placed on her head. 
She was examined by a doctor who said she had 
serious injuries the interrogator dismissed this 
and refused treatment. Back in the cell medicine 
was given just once and no follow up medicine. 
The cell was 2x2m. In front of the cell was a 
bath where men were tortured with cold showers 
and threatened with dogs. She was barefoot from 
the day she was taken and without proper 
clothing. She was told to co operate and then she 
would be released. It was winter and at around 
ten pm every night cold water was poured into her 
cell which made it very cold and damp. This cold irritated her injuries.

Jameela Abbas was in Abu Ghraib for six months 
and approximately 20 days in Kirkuk and Baghdad airport.

One day, after Abu Ghraib conditions were 
revealed to the world the press were allowed in. 
The prisoners shouted and the press was surprised 
to hear women’s voices as the US military had said no women were held there.

‘There were around 120 members of the press on 
that visit. Before that time they had visited the 
head of the prison and told there were no women 
or children in the prison. At the same time the 
women were being beaten elsewhere. We called it 
‘the scream of Abu Ghraib.’ We were about five women there in fact’.

For alerting the press to their existence in Abu 
Ghraib the women were denied proper sustenance.

Abu Ghraib had a department for complaints called 
the CID. She lodged a complaint there about ill 
treatment and her situation. Unknown to her, her 
sister had also complained about her detention. 
Afterwards a US committee visited and she made 
her statement to them. They acknowledged her as a war victim.

About one month later she was released on the 
June 22 2004. Jameel Abbas produces an exhibit of 
her release letter from Abu Ghraib and from the ICRC confirming her detention.

Released without charge.

Jameel Abbas makes it clear that this statement 
is just a small part of the suffering she endured and witnessed.

Her daughter stayed about 35 days and the female 
guests. The nephew stayed about six months 
despite having no relation with any resistance at 
all. What hurt her most was to see the children 
in Abu Ghraib. Some twenty five of them aged from 
5 to 12. What could they have done she asks? Some 
of the children stayed for a year and half. She 
heard some of them killed themselves. What you 
hear and see from the media is just a drop in the 
ocean to what went on in Abu Ghraib. My cell was 
in front of the interrogation cell. I never 
imagined anything like this in my life – not in horror movies.

‘They actually have no conscience. They are not 
human they have humanity inside them. She becomes 
emotional and raises her voice.

All the time in Abu Ghraib I wore the same 
clothes with no shoes. They were trying to 
negotiate – get me to confess for food and shoes. 
I refused because I knew nothing. There was no 
real interrogation about me as such just 
questions generally about Iraq and the people. 
The accusations were made to everyone the same 
things – you are against the soldiers, you are 
resistance. There was no intelligence about her 
she is inferring. This was a general round up of 
civilians – innocent or not – who cared?

I asked why my name came up to one soldier. She 
said – we are using you to scare the women of 
Kirkuk and beyond. Women of influence rounded up 
and tortured to terrorise others.

I asked the same soldier if she felt what she was 
doing was wrong – destroying my house, my family. 
As a single mother whose husband had died I had 
responsibility for the home and children’

Even on her release she was told by a US General 
– ‘if you stay in Iraq we will arrest you again.’ 
Later on she heard there was a second letter of 
arrest issued for her. So she left for Syria. Her 
friend who was with her in the prison was re- 
arrested and spent another two months there.

To this day she cannot return to her country.

To this day Jameela Abbas endures physical 
suffering as a result of the beatings she 
received and the conditions she was kept under by 
the US army. She cannot move her left leg freely 
which cannot support her. Her left arm is 
affected and does not work properly – she suffers 
continual aches in her limbs. She still cannot 
wear shoes that cover her feet due to the 
injuries. She must wear only surgical/open shoes. 
She cannot endure cold or air conditioning. 
Injuries to her lower back need further treatment which she cannot afford.

Jameela Abbas is just one thousands, tens of 
thousands, who have suffered as war victims. She 
has, she says seen so much suffering at the hands 
of the American forces. Women have suffered in 
Iraq terribly. Many have been raped.

The female soldiers that tortured her beat her 
especially in the neck and the back continuously. 
They used some tools to do this. The same was for all prisoners.

This is her solemn declaration by virtue of the 
provisions of the Statutory Declaration Act 1960.

The prosecutor Francis Boyle draws attention to 
the use of Jameela and her family as ‘human 
shields’ in the apache helicopter incident. This 
is illegal under the Geneva Convention. He adds 
it was  a ‘cowardly despicable act.’

He raised the point too that for two months Mrs 
Abbas was not registered with the ICRC for two 
months. He states that this was common practise 
in Iraq not to register civilians with the ICRC

‘The better to allow them to be tortured, 
murdered or disappeared’ known as ‘keeping them off the books.’

This victim was a victim of torture and a crime 
against humanity. Francis Boyle asks the judges to take this into account.

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