USA: Marine sergeant on torture at Guantánamo

Guantánamo, cartoon
By Joe Kay:

US Marine reports widespread prisoner abuse at Guantánamo

9 October 2006

A US Marine Corps sergeant has given a sworn affidavit reporting widespread abuse at the US prison camp in Guantánamo Bay.

The affidavit comes only a week after the US Congress passed legislation sanctioning indefinite detention, abusive treatment and denial of due process and habeas corpus rights for prisoners held at the facility and at other US prisons around the world.

According to the sergeant, a female paralegal working on a criminal case involving one of the prisoners, guards at the prison bragged to her about beating up detainees.

“From the whole conversation,” she reported, “I understood that striking detainees was common practice.”

The sergeant reported speaking to a group of guards at a bar on the military base, several of whom reported punching prisoners and engaging in other forms of abuse.

The paralegal’s name was blacked out of copies of the affidavit provided to the press on Friday by lawyers for the Guantánamo prisoners.

Her report was also submitted to the Department of Defense.

One guard, identified as Bo, reported “taking a detainee by the head and hitting the detainee’s head into the cell door,” she wrote.

Bo told her that the other guards at the prison knew of the action, but that he was not reprimanded or punished in any way.

British prisoners at Guantánamo: here.

Bush and torture law: here.

Torture and Padilla case: here.

From the Google cache:

Freed Guantanamo prisoners on koran abuse

Linking: 14 Comments: 5

Date: 6/28/05 at 9:52AM

AFP reports:

June 28, 2005

Former Guantanamo prisoners freed by Pakistan allege Koran abuse

LAHORE, Pakistan – Seventeen former prisoners at Guantanamo Bay who were detained on their return home to Pakistan were freed, with many alleging they had witnessed the desecration of the Koran at the US jail.

The men came back to Pakistan around nine months ago after being cleared by US authorities. …

“American soldiers have been committing desecration of the holy Koran at Guantanamo,” Haifz Ehsan Saeed, 27, told AFP as he emerged from the central jail in the city of Lahore.

“There were various incidents. Once I saw them throw the Koran in a bucket full of urine and faeces,” he said.

Saeed said he was arrested four years ago in Afghanistan on charges of having links with the Al-Qaeda terror network.

He was kept in a jail run by brutal Afghan warlord Abdul Rashid Dostam and then shifted to Guantanamo.

“The Americans declared me innocent but yet I have been in prison for about nine months in Rawalpindi and Lahore after being released from Guantanamo Bay,” he said.

“I am not ashamed because I have not done any wrong act,” Saeed added.

Another freed prisoner, 25-year-old Muhammad Hanif, said he was tortured and his beard was forcibly shaved by the US troops at the military jail in Cuba.

“The Americans removed our beards and have been spitting over the holy book,” Hanif told AFP.

See also here.

22 thoughts on “USA: Marine sergeant on torture at Guantánamo

  1. Detainee Lawyer Must Leave Navy
    Posted by: “” garymyrick
    Thu Oct 12, 2006 6:21 am (PST)

    This guy is that rarest of species; a HEROIC lawyer.

    Assigned to his client from within the Navy ranks, with nothing expected of him beyond providing a token “defense” and with hardly any money or resources, he took the job seriously. He did the unexpected, actually standing up for his client and our Constitution – and WON.

    He is a REAL patriot who has served with true distinction.

    This is his reward.

    ———— ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— –

    Paper: Detainee Lawyer Must Leave Navy

    Published on Monday, October 9, 2006
    by The Associated Press

    The Navy lawyer who led a successful Supreme Court challenge of the Bush administration’ s military tribunals for detainees at Guantanamo Bay has been passed over for promotion and will have to leave the military, The Miami Herald reported Sunday.

    Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift, 44, will retire in March or April under the military’s “up or out” promotion system. Swift said last week he was notified he would not be promoted to commander.

    He said the notification came about two weeks after the Supreme Court sided with him and against the White House in the case involving Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Yemeni who was Osama bin Laden’s driver.

    “It was a pleasure to serve,” Swift told the newspaper. He added he would have defended Hamdan even if he had known it would cut short his Navy career.

    “All I ever wanted was to make a difference – and in that sense I think my career and personal satisfaction has been beyond my dreams,” Swift said.

    The Pentagon had no comment Sunday.

    A graduate of the University of Seattle School of Law, Swift plans to continue defending Hamdan as a civilian.

    The 36-year-old Hamdan was captured along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan while fleeing the U.S. invasion that was a response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Hamdan has acknowledged that bin Laden paid him $200 a month as his driver on a Kandahar farm, but he says he never joined al-Qaida or engaged in military fighting.

    Hamdan turned to civilian courts to challenge the constitutionality of his war-crimes trial, a case that eventually led the Supreme Court to rule that President Bush had outstripped his authority when he created ad hoc military tribunals for prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

    Swift’s supervisor said he served with distinction.

    “Charlie has obviously done an exceptional job, a really extraordinary job,” said Marine Col. Dwight Sullivan, the Pentagon’s chief defense counsel for Military Commissions. He added it was “quite a coincidence” that Swift was passed over for a promotion “within two weeks of the Supreme Court opinion.”

    Washington, D.C., attorney Eugene Fidell, president of the National Institute of Military Justice, said Swift was “a no-brainer for promotion.” Swift joins many other distinguished Navy officers over the years who have seen their careers end prematurely, Fidell said.

    “He brought real credit to the Navy,” Fidell said. “It’s too bad that it’s unrequited love.”

    Copyright © 2006 The Associated Press

    Read this at http://www.commondr headlines06/ 1009-01.htm


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