August 28th, 2003


(no subject)

You know, to read CNN or even Reuters, you'd think that Guatanamo Bay is a veritable paradise of ocean views for people who've never seen the ocean, happy meals to entice prisoners to talk, and other assorted luxury resort accomodations (the analogy has even been made in one article).

However, not according to Amnesty International:

The USA has variously used hooding, blindfolding, handcuffing, and shackling of detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantánamo. Ill-treatment of detainees reported to Amnesty International delegates in Iraq include prolonged sleep deprivation, prolonged restraint in painful positions, sometimes combined with exposure to loud music, prolonged hooding, and exposure to bright lights. The organization has reported on this separately.

If you don't want to go through the fifty zillion paper that is the main source, there is a succinct summary provided at Amnesty International Australia:

It contains allegations of abuse from people recently released from detention on Guantánamo Bay.


One released prisoner interviewed by Amnesty International was Sayed Abassin, a taxi driverarrested en route from Kabul to Khost in April 2002, despite explaining that he was just a driver and did not know his passengers.

An apparent victim of circumstance, he spent more than a year in US custody, first in Afghanistan and then in Guantánamo.

He says that at Bagram Air Base he was held in handcuffs and shackles, kept in 24-hour lighting, deprived of sleep, not given enough food, not allowed to talk or look at other detainees, and forced to stand or kneel for hours. He was finally released from Guantánamo in April 2003, having never had access to a lawyer, court of law or other legal process. He has received no compensation for his ordeal.

There are many other stories like that in the main source. And confirmation of my deepest suspicion, mentioned in a previous LJ post:

At home, meanwhile, the families of the detainees suffer the distress of not knowing the fate of their loved ones. Arbitrary or indefinite detention, too, has its "collateral damage". Muhammad Naim Farooq recalled the case of Juma Khan, from Jalalabad, whose family members thought he was dead until Muhammad Naim Farooq, himself released, could tell them that he was being held in Guantánamo Bay.

Their families might not know where they are.

I know I keep harping on this, but we just plain cannot forget the people stuck down there. That prison is shameful. Absolutely, unequivocally shameful. If the people were truly terrorists, we should be able to accuse them, try them with representation, and prosecute them according to our own justice system. If we cannot trust our justice system to do this, then we can have no trust for it at all. In the meantime, these people have access to none of those rights, not even the accusation, much less the representation or fair trial. And there is evidence they are or have been mistreated, and that at least some are innocent.

The whole thing makes me so sick.