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Wednesday, November 28, 2001

Incident: "Tipton three" detained

Britons Rhuhel Ahmed, Asif Iqbal and Shafiq Rasul are detained in northern Afghanistan. They are later transferred to Guantanamo Bay, where they will detained for 2 years and 4 months. When released, they will claim to have been mistreated. They will claim that they were:
  • kicked and beaten;
  • given "so-called" cavity searches, which were very painful and seemed to serve other objectives;
  • deprived of sleep;
  • given a reduced food diet;
  • shackled in painful positions;
  • sexually humiliated;
  • subjected to loud music, strobe-lights, and temperature/weather extremes;
  • beaten during interrogations;
  • not treated for infected wounds caused by leg-shackles;
They also claim that the following things occurred to other detainees:
  • Severe beatings: "Eight soldiers repeatedly punched Mr Dousari, smashed his face into the concrete floor until his nose was broken, and kicked him in the stomach. When they took him out they hosed the cell down and the water ran red with blood."
  • One detainee became brain damaged after a beating.
  • Detainees were sexually molested.
  • Many detainees suffer from severe mental problems.
  • There are many suicide attempts amongst detainees.

Rasul (top) and Ahmed (bottom) before their detention.
According to a BBC report (04 August 2004), the torture caused the trio to falsely confess to appearing in a video with al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden and Mohammed Atta, one of the 11 September hijackers. This was despite the fact that they were in Tipton at the time.

In February 2006, The Independent will write an article about Michael Winterbottom's new film The Road to Guantanamo, based on interviews with the three and reconstructions of their experience (IMDb entry). it will win the Silver Bear for Direction at the 56th Berlin International Film Festival, and will be shown on UK Channel 4 in March, 2006. It may be downloaded for a very small price here.

The film reveals that, before their release, the three young men were asked if they would become spies for their former torturers. Their responses was unanimous and unequivocal: "fuck you".

Sunday, November 04, 2001

Incident: Kurnaz beaten, electric shocks

In the middle of this month, a young man born and raised in Germany of Turkish descent named Murat Kernaz will be arrested during a visit to madrassas (Islamic schools) in Pakistan. He will be held in US custody in Kandahar, and transferred to Guantanamo Bay in January of 2002. He remains detained.

He will allege that the following things occurred. In Kandahar:

  • interrogators repeatedly forced his head into a bucket of cold water for long periods;
  • interrogators gave electric shocks to his feet;
  • he was held for days shackled and handcuffed with his arms secured above his head;
  • on one occasion, a military officer loaded his gun and
  • pointed it at Murat Kurnaz' head, screaming at him to admit to being an al-Qa'ida associate;
  • he witnessed other detainees being beaten, one of whom apparently died as a result.
At Guantanamo Bay he claims he suffered sexual humiliation and taunting by young women in the interrogation room where he was shackled to the floor. When one of them began to caress him from behind, he jerked his head back, hitting her head. A response team of guards in riot gear entered the room, beat him and sprayed him with pepper spray. He was subsequently taken to an isolation cell, where he was left on the floor with his hands tied behind his back for about 20 hours.

Rabiye Kurnaz holding a photo of her son Murat. AFP. Taken from AI website.

Thursday, November 01, 2001

Incident: Murbati abused

This month, a Barhraini named Isa Ali Abdulla Al Murbati will be seized in Pakistan and taken into US custody in Kandahar. He will claim to lawyers that for a week while there, he was shackled to a pole each night in the freezing cold, and had water poured on him each hour. In 2002, he was moved to Guantanamo Bay, where he claims that the following things occurred:
  • He put his shackled hands through the slot in the cell door so that the shackles could be removed per the usual procedures. The sergeant grabbed the belt that is attached to the shackles and pulled it violently, even putting his foot against the cell door to create greater leverage. This caused his hands and forearms to be pulled through and against the small metal slot, causing significant injury.
  • He was subjected to loud music for 12 hours at a time, and loud unexpected sounds
  • He was violently shoved against a wall
  • He was dragged by the shackles on his ankles, and has a scar there now
  • His head was forced into a toiled and flushed
  • He was forced to sit shackled in the urine of another detainee
  • He had a mop soaked in the urine wiped all over his body and face
  • He was played Arabic-language music with lyrics that praised Jesus
During the lawyers' visit with Mr Al Murbati, in October 2004, he was wearing a cast due to the injuries he suffered.