Archive for the ‘Secret Prisons’ Category

Gitmo Detainee Says He’ll Commit Suicide

22 May 2007

Juma Mohammed Al-Dossar, a detainee at Gitmo, says he’ll commit suicide if he gets the chance, according to USA Today. He’s been held since January of 2002 without charges there, and is 33 years old, meaning he’s spent around 15% of his life there. Assuming detainees are not tortured, apparently indefinite confinement for reasons you’re not told makes you feel suicidal. Who would have guessed.

Currently about 380 people are held at Guantanamo,80 of which have been cleared for release but are waiting for agreements to be made for countries to accept them.

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Secret Prisons in Ethiopia

5 April 2007

An investigation by the Associated Press has found that the US interrogates suspects from 19 countries in Ethiopia, a country known for human rights abuses. Human rights groups, lawyers, and several Western diplomats say that hundreds of people, including children, have been transferred secretly and illegally from Kenya and Somalia to secret prisons in Ethiopia. The people include refugees, Canadians, an American, French, and Swedes.

John Sifton of Human Rights Watch describes it as a “decentralized, outsourced Guantanamo.”

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British Detainee Released from Gitmo

2 April 2007

A British resident who was released from Guantanamo Bay this weekend made his first statement since then, according to the State. Bisher al-Rawi, 37, said within his statement that “The hopelessness you feel in Guantanamo can hardly be described. You are asked the same questions hundreds of times… Allegations are made against you that are laughably untrue, but you have no chance to prove them wrong. There is no trial, no fair legal process.”

Al-Rawi, who had been held for five years, was never given a trial. He and his friend, Jamil el-Banna, were arrested in Gambia when trying to return to Britain with what officials said was suspicious electronic equipment. According to his lawyer, it was a battery charger. El-Banna is still in Guantanamo.

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Court Says Yeah You Were Tortured…

27 March 2007

But you’re not Americans, and he’s Donald Rumsfeld.

A court has acknowledged the abuse of nine detainees filing suit against Donald Rumsfeld, but threw out the case anyway, according to BBC News. None of the five Iraqis and four Afghans was ever charged with a crime, but they were hung upside-down and slapped until they lost consciousness, stabbed with knives, subjected to electric shocks, deprived of sleep by loud noises and bright lights, grabbed by aggressive dogs, and subjected to sexual humiliation.

The court says that the abuse was “horrifying,” but that they did not have US constitutional rights and that Donald Rumsfeld is immune to such suits.

This is outrageous.

The court detailed the torture in its 60-page ruling, but since they’re not Americans and Rumsfeld used to be Secretary of Defense, the nine can’t do anything about it.

No worries though, officials say we’re a “leader” in human rights, and says “Our policy is based on core values that uphold human rights through democracy and the rule of law.”

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Stare Kiejkuty Confirmed as CIA Site

8 March 2007

A former Polish intelligence training school outside Stare Kiejkuty was used as a site for short-term interrogations by the CIA, according to the Raw story. It is possible that these interrogations were in violation of the United Nations Convention against Torture, which both Poland and the US are signatories to.

Apparently most of the sites in the rendition program are only temporary ones, making them difficult to identify.

US intelligence officials confirmed that the site at Stare Kiejkuty had been used in the past, though one former CIA official says that : “We never tortured anyone, we sent them to countries that did torture, but not on this scale.”

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Torture Outsourcing Prevention Act

7 March 2007

Ed Markey (D-MA) has introduced the “Torture Outsourcing and Prevention Act,” according to the ACLU. If passed, it would close the loopholes that allow the US government to send detainees to other countries to be tortured.

The bill will also prevent sending detainees to other countries who in turn send them to a third country to be tortured. In addition, it will require review of the possibility of torture in cases of treaty-based extraditions.

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“State Secrets” Cited in Dismissal of Case

5 March 2007

Khaled El-Masri, a victim of the CIA’s rendition program, will have his case dismissed, according to the ACLU, on the basis of protection of state secrets. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has dismissed the case despite its worldwide discussion and investigation, including by the European Parliament.
El-Masri was kidnapped by the CIA and taken to a CIA black-site in Afghanistan.  Several months later he was released in Albania without charges or explanation.

The ACLU is considering an appeal to the Supreme Court.

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No, We Don’t Torture Here…

28 February 2007

That’s what Pakistan is for. According to SFGate, an accused jihadist named Marwan Jabour says that he was beaten and tortured while he was held in Pakistan for over two years. Last summer he was taken to Jordan, then handed over to Israelis in September, and released in the Gaza Strip six weeks after that.

US officials say that they will not confirm his account, but that he is one of the most dangerous al-Qaeda members, which is probably why he was released.

Human Rights Watch is currently pressing for Bush to say where 38 detainees are.

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Man Behind the Hood

21 February 2007

The Heathlander published an excerpt from this yesterday. It is the testimony of Ali Shalal, known as the “man behind the hood,” who was tortured at Abu Ghraib and whose picture became more or less the face of the Abu Ghraib prison abuse. He was arrested on October 13th, 2003 and transferred two days later to Abu Ghraib. The below is part of his testimony to the War Crimes Commission.

In the morning, an Israeli stood in front of me and took the bag from my head and told me in Arabic that he was an Israeli had interrogated and tortured detainees in Palestine. He told me that when detainees would not cooperate, they would be killed. He asked me repeatedly for names of resistance fighters. I told him that I do not know any resistance fighters but he would not believe me, and continued to beat me.

This Israeli dressed in civilian clothes tortured me by inserting in turn first with a jagged wooden stick into my rectum and then with the barrel of a rifle. I was cut inside and bled profusely. During this time, when any guard walked past me, they would beat me. I had no food for 36 hours.

I was electrocuted on three separate sessions. On the first two sessions, I was electrocuted twice, each time lasting few minutes. On the last session, as I was being electrocuted, I accidentally bit my tongue and was bleeding from the mouth. They stop the electrocution and a doctor was called to attend to me. I was lying down on the floor. The doctor poured some water into my mouth and used his feet to force open my mouth. He then remarked, “There is nothing serious, continue!” Then he left the room. However, the guard stopped the electrocution as I was bleeding profusely from my mouth and blood was all over my blanket and body. But they continued to beat me. After some time, they stopped beating me and took me back to my cell.

Throughout the time of my torture, the interrogators would take photographs.

Shalal was released March 2004, when it was finally decided he had been wrongly arrested.

Donald Rumsfeld’s testimony to the Senate after the torture had been revealed included the following:

We’re functioning in a — with peacetime restraints, with legal requirements in a wartime situation, in the information age, where people are running around with digital cameras and taking these unbelievable photographs and then passing them off, against the law, to the media, to our surprise, when they had not even arrived in the Pentagon.

One wonders what would have happened, or continued to happen, if the media had not learned of what was happening.

In, hopefully, but not necessarily, completely unrelated news, swissinfo reports that the US will not be allowing Swiss senator Dick Marty (who is investigating possible abuse of prisoners on behalf of the Council of Europe) to ask Gitmo detainees if they had been held in secret prisons in Europe.

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Egyptian to be Released

16 February 2007

Mohammad Mahjoub, who has been held in Canada since 2000 without charges, will be released on certain conditions soon, according to the Herald Sun. He will have to wear an electronic monitoring device, live with his wife in Toronto, and post a bond of 32, 500 Canadian dollars (about 28,000 US dollars), among other conditions.

Mahjoub was one of six men detained on the basis of security certificates, which allow Ottawa to detain foreigners for years without charges. The security certificates, which have been part of Canada’s immigration law since 1978, also allow secret court hearings, undisclosed evidence, and infinite incarcerations. Canada’s Supreme Court is currently reviewing their use.

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