[Ppnews] New Torture Testimonies Released
Political Prisoner News
PPnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Jan 11 11:41:26 EST 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JANUARY 10, 2006
Embargoed Until 7:01 PM
CONTACT: Amnesty International
Sharon Singh. 202.544.0200 x 289 or x 302
New Torture Testimonies Released on 4th
Anniversary of First Arrivals to Guantanamo
WASHINGTON - January 10 - Marking the fourth
anniversary of the first transfers of detainees
to Guantánamo Bay in Cuba, January 11, 2006,
Amnesty International released new testimonies
alleging the use of torture and ill treatment
against prisoners in the U.S. detention center
and additional details on several detainee cases.
The testimonies include that of one of the first
detainees to be transferred to Guantánamo, Jumah
al-Dossari, a 32-year-old Bahraini national who
was taken to the U.S. Naval Base in January 2002
after being held by U.S. forces in the Kandahar airbase in Afghanistan.
Al-Dossaris testimony, corroborated by people
who have now been released from Guantánamo,
includes several allegations of physical and
psychological torture and ill treatment inflicted
by U.S. personnel both on him and on other
inmates in Afghanistan and Guantánamo.
Anniversaries usually represent milestones.
Todays milestone is a frightening and
disheartening one. The situation at Guantánamo is
not getting better in fact, it may be worse.
First, the Bush Administration wants all 186
pending habeas corpus petitions filed on behalf
of the detainees to be dismissed based on a new
law that was not meant to apply to cases filed
before the law went into effect. And now, after
Congress overwhelming passed the historic
Anti-Torture Amendment, President Bush is
asserting that he can waive the restrictions on
the use of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment
against detainees. When does the hypocrisy of
defending democracy around the world while
continuing to curtail fundamental due process
end? said Dr. William F. Schulz, Executive
Director of Amnesty International USA.
There are approximately 500 men who have been
treated with complete and utter disdain the
antipathy of the American value of recognizing
the basic human dignity of all people. It isnt
surprising that after years of uncertainty about
their fate, some of these men have expressed
their intention to die rather than remain in
Guantánamo indefinitely, added Schulz.
Amnesty International also revealed further
details on the cases of Al-Jazeera journalist
Sami al Hajj, transferred to Guantánamo in June
2002 after spending time in detention in Bagram
and Kandahar, and Abdulsalam al-Hela, a Yemeni
businessman, subjected to rendition and secret
detention before being transferred to Guantánamo.
Amnesty International is urging Congress to
create an independent commission to investigate
all aspects of U.S. detention and interrogation
policies including the dozens of reports of
torture and ill treatment that have taken place
since 2002 and to take measures to prevent
torture from recurring in the future.
TESTIMONY HIGHLIGHTS of Jumah al-Dossari
Below are highlights from testimony of Jumah
al-Dossari, which he wrote in July 2005 in the
U.S. detention facility at Guantánamo Bay naval
base, Cuba. The hand written testimony was given
to Amnesty International by Jumah al-Dossaris
civilian lawyer. At the date of publication Jumah
al-Dossari remains detained in Guantánamo Bay.
This testimony is Jumah al-Dossaris personal
account of his experiences in Pakistani and US
custody, and the views expressed in it are his own.
From here, from the depths of the degradation
that debase a persons dignity, attack his
religion, his person, his honour, his dignity and
his humanity, all in the name of fighting terror.
I am writing for those who will read my words. I
am writing the story of what I have suffered from
the day I was kidnapped on the Pakistani border
and sold to American troops until now and my
being in Guantánamo, Cuba. What I will write here
is not a flight of fancy or a moment of madness;
what I will write here are the established facts
and events agreed upon by detainees who were eye
witnesses to them, representatives of the
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
as well as soldiers, investigators and interpreters.
Arrest and treatment by Pakistani authorities
I passed through several small jails where
there was a lot of abuse. I had previously met
several people when I was on the border, they
were of different nationalities. They had left
Afghanistan and the Pakistani army abused us and
gave us the worst and most nasty kind of food.
They put me in a cell which was 4m x 4m in which
there were 59 prisoners without mattresses,
blankets or a bathroom; there was only one bucket
in the cell for everyone to relieve themselves in without a screen.
They stole many passports from the prisoners
who were of many nationalities and we were
abused. They abused me personally and beat me
several times during investigations. The worst
tribulation for us was when they transported us
from one place to another: they would tie us up
in the most savage way, so much so that some of
us got gangrenous fingers and our hands and feet
swelled and turned blue. They would tie us up for
long periods of time in military trucks,
sometimes from daybreak until night, in addition
to the hours that they spent transporting us in trucks.
When we reached the airport, an American
military plane, American soldiers and an American
interpreter who spoke Arabic were waiting for us.
They took one by one and handed us over to the
American soldiers. The deal was done and they
sold us for a few dollars and they were not
interested in us. US custody in Afghanistan
When we were all in the plane - there were
approximately 30 of us they closed the plane
door which from behind said "designed to carry
machinery". After they closed the door, the
soldiers started shouting, screaming and
insulting us with the most vulgar insults and
nasty curses. They started beating us and took
pictures of us on a camera; I could see the
flash. I had a violent pain in my stomach I had
had an operation on my stomach and there was a
piece of metal in it; when I complained about the
severity of the pain, a soldier came and started
kicking me in my stomach with his military boot
until I vomited blood. I do not know how many
hours I was in that state as we went from the
base in Kohat to Kandahar Airport where there is an American military base.
We arrived at Kandahar airport after midnight.
It was a Friday night at the beginning of January
2002. They started to wrap a very strong wire
around our right arms; each of us was tied at a
distance of about two metres from the person in
front of him. After they pulled this wire, they
started making us run towards the unknown. When
we approached the tents which had previously been
an instalment, they started to insult us
savagely. The prisoners started shouting and
crying because of their severe pain there were
many young people with us and the soldiers
increased their insults and beatings and those of
us who fell started to drag themselves on the
grounds on the asphalt of the airfield and the
others continued to jog. As I have already
mentioned, I still had the Pakistani shackle
which made it hard for me to walk, so I was one
of those who fell and was dragging himself along on the asphalt.
When they wanted to take one of us, they would
order us to lie on our stomachs on the floor, and
then they would tie our hands behind our backs.
When it was my turn, two soldiers took me. I was
barefoot and they beat me before I met the
investigator. They banged my head against the
metal building and made me walk on the barbed
wire. They raised my hands from behind my back so
high that my shoulders were almost dislocated.
When I entered the investigation tent, I found
that there were two Americans among the
investigators, one of whom was white and the
other was black. I said to them, "why are you
torturing me and you havent even started
questioning me? What do you want from me? Give me
a piece of paper and I will sign anything you
want". He said to me, "there is no torture here and there are no beatings.
During that time, I was moved to the camp
clinic because of the terrible state of my
health. They would take me for investigations
which were mostly held at night; they would beat
me severely and tell me to confess that I was a
terrorist!! Once, from the excessive and severe
beatings, one of my foot shackles broke. Once,
they poured boiling hot liquid on my head and the
investigator stubbed his cigarette out on my
foot. I said to him, "why are you treating me
like this?" He then took a cigarette and stubbed
it out on my right wrist and said, "in the name
of Christ and the Cross I am doing this". Once,
they had beaten me so severely that my clothes
were ripped and my genitals were exposed. I tried
to cover myself up but they started kicking me with their boots.
They started preparing to move us to Cuba.
When it was my turn and I was in approximately
the third group to be moved to Guantánamo, I was
moved to another tent with several people. We
were next to an empty tent in which they put
Afghans from the northern states and Shabarghan.
Transfer to Guantánamo Bay, Cuba
The third stage started on the day the plane
landed us in Guantánamo in Cuba; we did not know
where we were. The soldiers put us on a military
bus that had no seats in it. They made us sit on
the floor of the bus. A translator who was
Lebanese came and said, "you are at an American
base and you mustnt talk or move. You have to keep your heads down.
When I was put in the cage, a soldier told me,
"you mustnt talk, you mustnt touch the mesh,
you mustnt cover your head and your hands when
you sleep and you have to stay in the middle of
the cage". He also me that there was a toilet
outside the cage; if I needed to relieve myself,
I would have to ask one of the soldiers. In the
cage, there were two buckets, one had water in it
and the other was empty. The soldier said that the empty bucket was for urine.
It was then that my suffering started. If we
wanted to go to the outside toilet, a portaloo,
the soldiers would take us violently and would
look at our genitals; even the female soldiers
did that. They would stand outside the door which
was open while we relieved ourselves.
Torture and ill-treatment in Guantánamo Bay
During investigations, I was threatened with
rape, attacks on my family in Saudi Arabia, my
daughter being kidnapped, and my murder
assassination by their spies in the Middle East
if I went back to Saudi Arabia.
They went to a detainee and put his head in
the toilet. The toilets in Camp Delta are iron,
Turkish-style toilets and then they flushed his
head down the toilet until he almost died. They
went to a detainee and started beating his head
against the toilet rim until he lost
consciousness and he could not see for more than 10 hours.
One detainee, called Abdul Aziz Al-Masri, was
ill and was asleep in the hospital. These
soldiers went and beat him very badly in the
hospital in front of the doctors and nurses. His
injuries were excessive and caused his spine to
break. He is now hemiplegic. They are now trying
to operate on him but he is refusing out of fear
that they will play with his back and make it
worse rather than make it better as their
operations often do. These kinds of incidents
happen often. They would make sending them to the
detainees an excuse for incidents in which we
would suffer extensive injuries, severe
disfiguration and fractures as there was no one
monitoring or following up their actions. Rather,
their officers and officials gave them the orders.
At the end of 2003, a major incident happened
to me in the investigation room. The soldiers
took me to the investigation room and the
investigator who I only ever saw on this one
occasion had a Koran in his hand when he
entered the room. He put it on the table and
started talking and raving. Then he asked some
soldiers to come in so some soldiers came. This
investigator had brought the American and Israeli
flags in with him. He then ordered the soldiers
to wrap the flags around me tightly and then he
took the Koran, threw it on the floor and damaged
it with his shoe. Then he exposed his penis and
urinated on it. He said a lot of things to me,
such as, "this is a holy war between the star of
David and the cross against the crescent" and
"the whole world will submit to us and if any one doesnt submit to us.
This stage finished when they finished
building Camp 5 which was opened on 25 May 2004.
I went into this new camp to start a new stage of
misery, privation, humiliation and distress.
There was an order to move me to Camp 5 for me to
finish off the rest of my days in solitary
isolation there. All the cells in Camp 5 were
isolation cells and the whole building was made entirely of pre-cast concrete.
I return now to my story. In March 2005, I met
the lawyer who had taken on my case. I was
telling him about the torture, violations and
assaults I had faced and I do not know if they
were spying on us. When the lawyer left, a
soldier came and he had put on the military
[illegible] and he was angry. He said, "its best
that you forget everything thats happened to you
and dont mention it again to anyone if you want to stay safe"
My state of health has become very poor
recently. I fall and faint nearly every day. On
12 June 2005, in the evening, when my evening
meal was brought to me, there was a dead scorpion
on the plate. When I ate a little and saw the
scorpion, I gave the food back to the soldier and
showed him the scorpion. On that same night, in
the same meal, a Tunisian brother called Hecham
was also given a plate of food with a dead
scorpion on it. Since the day that they
threatened until now, I have been removing
insects and dung beetles from the food and
showing it to the soldier who then says, do you want another plate?
Today is the end of the second week and the
strike is still continuing. We have been in Cuba
for nearly four years, during which time we have
not faced any trial or charges. We are also on
hunger strike because of the medical abuse and
neglect we face and because they prevent us from
learning about our religion and about religious
issues. Two days ago, while I was writing these
memoirs, I became really ill; I fell and was
taken to the hospital. I spent two days there and
then they brought me back here. Here I am now; as
I try to write the last page of my memoirs, I am in a terrible state.
I would thus like to point out that NOT all of
the soldiers in Guantánamo tortured and oppressed
us. There were some soldiers who treated us
humanely, some of them would cry because of what
was happening to us and were embarrassed by the
style of management at the camp and even by the
American government, their lack of justice and
oppression of us. To give an example, when I was
in Camp India in Camp Delta and I was being
tortured, an Afro-American came to me. He said
sorry to me and gave me a cup of hot chocolate
and some sweet biscuits. When I thanked him, he
said, "I dont want your thanks. I want you to
know that we are not all bad and we think
differently". When I was talking to a soldier and
I told him what happened to me, he cried and had
tears in his eyes. He was clearly moved. He said
sorry to me about what had happened to me and he
also offered me some food. These are examples to
show the reader that there are some soldiers who
have humanity, irrespective of their race, gender or faith.
Juma Muhammad Al-Dossari
The Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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