10 June 2008

Locked up alone

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 2:21 pm by lilithhope

Guantanamo detainees who have not even been charged with a crime are being warehoused in conditions that are in many ways harsher than those reserved for the most dangerous, convicted criminals in the United States,” said Jennifer Daskal, senior counterterrorism counsel at Human Rights Watch. “Security measures don’t justify locking people in windowless cells 22 hours a day, for months and years on end, with almost no opportunity for human interaction, physical exercise or mental stimulation.”

Human Rights Watch has issued a report today condemning the treatment of inmated in Guantanamo prison. Here are a couple liver-wrenching extracts to whet your appetite:

“In April, Huzaifa Parhat, another Uighur who was reportedly determined eligible for release over four years ago, described his daily routine to his lawyer, who wrote:

Wake at 4:30 or 5:00. Pray. Go back to sleep. Walk in circles—north, south, east, west—around his 6-by-12 foot cell for an hour. Go back to sleep for another two or more hours. Wake up and read the Koran or look at a magazine (written in a language that he does not understand). Pray. Walk in circles once more. Eat lunch. Pray. Walk in circles. Pray. Walk in circles or look at a magazine (again, in a foreign language). Go back to sleep at 10:00 p.m.

The next day is the same except that the detainee may leave his cell for two hours of recreation in a slightly larger pen or for a shower.73

A Uighur named Abdusemet described days on end of doing nothing other than eating, praying, pacing, and sitting on his bed.  “I am starting to hear voices, sometimes.  There is no one to talk to all day in my cell and I hear these voices,” Abdusemet told his lawyer, worriedly.  “What did we do? Why do they hate us so much?” he asked.”[…]

Truly the forgotten child in Guantanamo, El Gharani, a now-21-year-old Chadian who was born and raised in Saudi Arabia, was arrested in a mosque in Karachi, Pakistan and eventually brought to Guantanamo in early 2002. Although he was just 15 upon arrival, he was wrongly classified as 25 and held as an adult.

El Gharani has been in Camp 5 and Camp 6 for the best part of two years.

He has tried to commit suicide at least seven times.  He has slit his wrist, run repeatedly headfirst into the sides of his cell, and tried to hang himself.  On several occasions, he has been put on suicide watch in the mental health unit, given the green suicide smock, and placed in a single cell with no other items other than toilet paper.  Each time, he has been moved out of the suicide unit and back into Camp 5 or Camp 6.

El Gharani, who is described by his lawyers as extremely bright, has taught himself English.

He claims that the first English word he learned was “nigger,” and that he has been subject to repeated racial harassment since he arrived in Guantanamo.