[Ppnews] New Torture Testimonies Released

Political Prisoner News PPnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Jan 11 11:41:26 EST 2006


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-Dossari’s 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. 
Today’s 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 isn’t 
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.



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-Dossari’s 
civilian lawyer. At the date of publication Jumah 
al-Dossari remains detained in Guantánamo Bay. 
This testimony is Jumah al-Dossari’s 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 person’s 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 haven’t 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 mustn’t talk or move. You have to keep your heads down.
• “When I was put in the cage, a soldier told me, 
"you mustn’t talk, you mustn’t touch the mesh, 
you mustn’t 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 doesn’t submit to us.

Camp 5

• “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, "it’s best 
that you forget everything that’s happened to you 
and don’t 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 don’t 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
(415) 863-9977
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