Gitmo Prisoner Releases "Torture Diary"


Torture -The Guantanamo Guidebook

"When he gets out I fear he will not be normal Omar. I'm sure he will have changed," said Deghayes' mother, Zohra Zewawi.

CAIRO — The family of a British resident being held at the US Guantanamo Bay prison camp have released a graphic diary detailing abuse he faced at the hands of his captors, the Guardian reported Saturday.

"I worry that something has happened to his mind. He is being tortured. I read his diary. When he gets out I fear he will not be normal Omar. I'm sure he will have changed," Zohra Zewawi, the mother of Libyan national Omar Deghayes, told the Guardian.

Deghayes, 37, is one of five men who Britain asked the United States to release from the controversial camp in Cuba last week.

Deghayes was arrested in Pakistan after the US invaded Afghanistan in late 2001 in the wake of the 9/11 attacks before being taken to Bagram in Afghanistan and then to Guantanamo.

His family says he had gone to Pakistan to start a business exporting dried fruit to a leading supermarket.

He grew up in Brighton and studied law at Wolverhampton University and then studied in Huddersfield.

Deghayes's case drew international headlines in 2005 after his lawyer revealed that he was left blinded in one eye after a soldier plunged his finger into it.

But this released diary, which he gave to a lawyer who visited him in prison, contains far more graphic details than previously made public.

Torture Journey

"It is very distressing and sad to go through and remember again," Deghayes says in his diary.

Deghayes's nightmarish experience began long before Guantanamo when he was arrested in Pakistan where he says sadistically tortured by electric shocks.

"The more I scream they will laugh and do it again ... my screams all in vain," he said.

He was then handed over to the Americans, who took him hooded to the US military base in Bagram on one of the notorious rendition flights. "Two soldiers locked their arms into mine and lifted me off the ground. All my [weight] borne by my arms which were shackled behind my back.

"I was thrown in the plane. There were many others in the torture position," he said in his diary.

In Bagram, Deghayes says, he was chained in a cage "with hands stretched above [my] head ...causing suffocation."

He was subject there to a miscellany of torture techniques, the lesser of which were electric shocks.

"They hold me naked in the night, freezing cold, and throw buckets of water and fill the bucket and throw [it] again. I shiver and shake badly and try to sit down to gain warmth. They kick and punch and say stand up until I fall to the ground in weakness," he said.

Deghayes further witnessed two prisoners being killed by American soldiers.

The first one was shot dead after he had gone to the aid of a prisoner, who was being beaten and kicked by the guards. The second was beaten to death.

"One by the name of Abdaulmalik, Moroccan and Italian, was beaten until I heard no sound of him after the screaming. There was afterwards panic in prison and the guards running about in fear saying to each other the Arab has died. I have not seen this young man again," Deghayes says.

Other prisoners were luckier that they did not die, but left paralyzed and mentally damaged after rounds of beating, he noted. Deghayes also faced starvation in Bagram, going without food for 45 days, which caused him hallucinations.

Forget About Law

In Guantanamo, US guards welcomed Deghayes with beating on his first day and he came to realize that the kicks and assaults were a fixed routine.

The Guantanamo prisoners, he says, were also given mystery injections. Deghayes further confirmed that US guards threw a copy of the Noble Qur'an in a toilet, which provoked him and his colleagues to revolt. As a punishment his head and beard were shaved.

In Guantanamo, he says, "sexual abuse did occur", but says he can not bear to relive the details until he is freed.

"It is very distressing and sad to go through and remember again." Deghayes says he was told by FBI interrogators law does not apply to Guantanamo.

"Many times one FBI interrogator by the name of Craig said, 'Omar, it is nothing like the law you studied in the UK. There will never be a proper court and lawyers etc, it would be only a military tribunal to determine your future and your life. Your best choice is to cooperate with me," he said.

Parts of Deghayes' counts are consistent with those from former detainees, the Guardian said.

They further challenge US President George Bush's repeated claims that the US does not use torture.


Mauritanian Guantanamo detainee details abuse, says Americans desecrated Quran

The Associated Press

Friday, October 5, 2007

NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania: A Mauritanian man who spent nearly five years incarcerated at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay on Friday accused American soldiers of desecrating the Quran by urinating and stepping on it.

Though never tortured himself, Mohamed Lemine Ould Sidi Mohamed compared his detention to torture, telling The Associated Press in an interview: "Humiliating words against religion and against Muslims were a kind of currency they used every day."

U.S. authorities handed Mohamed to Mauritania last week, and he was briefly detained here. He was released Tuesday by Mauritanian officials.

During his incarceration by the Americans, Mohamed said he witnessed the abuse of the Muslim holy book.

"The soldiers urinated on the holy Quran to humiliate us. They stepped on the holy book and told us we are a nation that does not understand civilization," Mohamed said in Mauritania's desert capital, Nouakchott.

Afterward, he and other inmates he claimed witnessed similar incidents went on a hunger strike, and U.S. officials force fed him, he said.

The inmates decided thereafter not to take Qurans into their cells to protect the book, relying instead on memorized passages, he said.

Following media reports that sparked protests around the world, a U.S. inquiry in 2005 found nine incidents in which Guantanamo civilian and military personnel had mishandled the Quran. They also found 15 cases of abuse of the book by detainees. Officials say guards are trained not to show disrespect to the Quran and are careful not to do so.

"We respect and support the detainees' right to worship," a Guantanamo spokesman, Navy Cmdr. Rick Haupt, said Friday, adding that the military provides the men there with prayer rugs and prayer along with Qurans in multiple languages.

"Allegations from detainees is common behavior and in keeping with tactics taught to al-Qaida members through their training guide," he said.

In Mauritania, Mohamed said he did not know why he was arrested and said he had never had any connection to al-Qaida. He was returned to Mauritania on Sept. 26 after being cleared for release by a U.S. military review panel.

Mohamed said earlier this week that he had been attending an Islamic school in Pakistan when he was arrested by Pakistani police in 2002 and handed over to U.S. authorities.

"I spent five years in Guantanamo, but I don't know anyone in al-Qaida and I have no relations with those people," Mohamed said.

Mohamed said he was not abused himself at Guantanamo, but he believed others were. "Each time people were interrogated, we heard the screams caused by torture," he said.

Mauritanian police spokesman Mohamed Abdallahi said earlier in the week that police were questioning Mohamed about his life in Pakistan and his activities in that country in order to determine whether to file charges.

Two other Mauritanians remain in custody in Guantanamo. They are Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a technology engineer who was living in Germany when he was taken into custody in November, 2001 and Ahmed Ould Abdelaziz, who was arrested in Pakistan in 2002.