[News] Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal Day 2
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 Baath 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 womens 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.
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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