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Former Guantanamo Prisoner Describes "Torture"

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Issue: 16 Section: International News Geography: USA Guantanamo Bay Topics: prison

March 16, 2004

Former Guantanamo Prisoner Describes "Torture"

Jamal al-Harith, a British citizen who was held for over two years without charge by the American military was recently released. Upon his return home from "Camp X-ray" on the US military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, he described gruesome conditions to the British press.

Al-Harith said that prisoners were kept in small wire cages, exposed to the weather from above and to snakes, insects, and scorpions below. The former prisoner described brutal treatment such as frequent beatings for minor offenses, torture, and systematic humiliation. He cited specific instances where devout muslims were forced to watch female strippers, and prisoners were told "we will kill your family and you."

US foreign secretary Jack Straw explained that there was "good reason" for detaining the suspects. When asked if any of those held were innocent, he replied, "I can't answer that question, nobody can."

» Mirror: Terror of Torture in Cuba Camp

"One Big Guantanamo"

Over 10,000 Iraqi men and boys are being held without charge by the US military in Iraq, according to a recent New York Times report. The prisoners, who have been captured by the military, are in most cases not allowed contact with the outside world, including their families.

"It took the Americans five minutes to take my son," said Fadil Abdulhamid. "It has taken me more than three weeks to find him." Human rights lawyer Adil Allami commented that "Iraq has turned into one big Guantánamo," explaining that the prisoners, who are as young as 11 and as old as 75, have "essentially no rights".

» NYTimes: As U.S. Detains Iraqis, Families Plead for News

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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