Guantanamo Justice Centre
Inside Guantanamo Prison Camp
" Some of the detainees’ hands were chained; others were not. In each case, though, their ankles were encircled by large heavy metal cuffs attached to large chains that were then attached to these steel rings bolted into the concrete floor.
It was the first thing I noticed their ankles chained to that ring bolted into the concrete floor. Most of the detainees were small and emaciated.
Many looked as if they had not eaten for days. At that point they had been at Guantanamo for three years. None had had a hearing. Most had not even been told why they were there.
And there they were chained like animals to the floor."
Tom Wilner, Lawyer defending Guantanamo detainees
Guantanamo Tribunal -" We Are Not Concerned with International Law"
On July 12, 2006 the magazine Mother Jones provided excerpts from the transcripts of a selection of the Guantanamo detainees.
Feroz Abbasi was one of the detainees profiled his transcript contained the following exchange:
Abbasi: So, you are telling me I am an enemy combatant. I am telling you by special Geneva Conventions, I am a non-combatant….
Tribunal president: Once again, international law does not matter here. Geneva Convention does not matter here. What matters here and I am concerned about and what I really want to get to is your status as enemy combatant based upon the evidence that has been provided and your actions while you were in Afghanistan. If you deviate from that one more time you will be removed from this tribunal and we will continue to hear evidence without you being present….
Abbasi: I know, but I have the right to speak….
Tribunal president: No, you don’t.
Abbasi: And the personal representative told me I can say whatever I like.
Tribunal president: He was mistaken if he told you that…. Once again…international law….
Mr. Abbasi, your conduct is unacceptable and this is your absolute final warning. I don't care about international law. I don’t want to hear the words “international law” again. We are not concerned with international law.
More than 85 percent of detainees at Guantanamo Bay were arrested, not on the Afghanistan battlefield by US forces, but by the Northern Alliance fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan, and in Pakistan at a time when rewards of up to US $5,000 were paid for every 'terrorist' turned over to the United States.
"We have captured 689 and handed over 369 to the United States. We have earned bounties totalling millions of dollars. Those who habitually accuse U.S. of not doing enough in the war on terror should simply ask the CIA how much prize money it has paid to the Government of Pakistan," says Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf in his recently published memoir In the Line of Fire.
Prior to President Musharraf's revelations, Pakistan officials denied that they were financially rewarded for handing over suspects to the US.
"Guantanamo Bay is like hell on Earth, I don't feel normal yet but I thank Allah for keeping me alive and free from the physical and mental sufferings of some of my friends. I was in prison for about eight years and two months without being guilty. Some of my colleagues in the prison lost their sight, some lost their limbs and others ended up mentally disturbed, I'm OK compared to them. At Bagram and Kandahar, the situation was harsh, But when we were transferred to Guantanamo the torture tactics changed.They use a kind of psychological torture that kills you mentally.Some of the inmates face harsher torture, including with electricity and beating.Praise be to Allah, I'm free now and back home, wishing to overcome the ordeal."
Mohamed Saleban Bare
Mohammed al-Qahtani was interrogated for 18 to 20 hours a day for 48 of 54 days. He was doused with water and kept in a room air-conditioned to induce hypothermia.
He was hooded and menaced by a dog, he was injected with fluids and forced to urinate on himself.
All of these "interrogation methods" (a.k.a torture ) were personally approved by then–Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
Many are driven to the brink of insanity through years of soilitary confinement, torture and degredation, some have lost their minds, accused of crimes they have never comitted and kept in conditions and in tiny cells that you could not legally keep an animal caged in.
" In 2004 and 2005 we were told that we were innocent, however, we are being incarcerated in jail for the past 6 years until present. We fail to know why we are still in jail here…. Being away from family, away from our homeland, and also away from the outside world and losing any contact with anyone, also being forbidden from the natural sunlight, natural air, being surrounded with a metal box all around is not suitable for a human being."
-Excerpted from a December 12, 2007 letter by Abdulghappar Turkistani, a young Uighur man.
Many detainees at Guantanamo spend 22 hours a day alone in small cells with little or no natural light or fresh air exposed to constant bright fluorescent light. They are allowed out only twice a week for two hours a day , often at night, to exercise in small outdoor pens. Isolated confinement is not a time limited punishment for a disciplinary infraction, but something they have face day in day out, for years on end.
None of the prisoners currently held at Guantanamo has ever been allowed a visit from a family member during the years they have been illegally detained.
" I was in extreme pain and so weak that I could barely stand. It was freezing cold and I was shaking like a washing machine. They questioned me at gunpoint and told me that if I confessed I could go home. They had already searched me and my cell twice that day, gone through my stuff, touched my Koran, felt my body around my private parts. And now they wanted to do it again, just to provoke me, but I said no, because if you submit to everything you turn into a zombie.
I heard a guard talking into his radio, ‘ERF, ERF, ERF,’ and I knew what was coming - the Extreme Reaction Force. The five cowards, I called them - five guys running in with riot gear. They pepper-sprayed me in the face and I started vomiting; in all I must have brought up five cupfuls. They pinned me down and attacked me, poking their fingers in my eyes, and forced my head into the toilet pan and flushed. They tied me up like a beast and then they were kneeling on me, kicking and punching. Finally they dragged me out of the cell in chains, into the rec yard, and shaved my beard, my hair, my eyebrows."
Tarek Dergoul - a British citizen born and brought up in east London and released without charge after almost two years at Guantanamo Bay, describing one of many assaults he suffered in American custody.