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14 June 2006
GUANTANAMO / USA
USA setzen Militärprozesse in Guantanamo aus
Seit Monaten stehen die USA wegen ihres Gefangenenlagers Guantanamo auf Kuba in der Kritik - nach den Selbstmorden dreier Häftlinge setzt die Bush-Regierung jetzt die Militärprozesse in dem Gefängnis aus.
Washington - Alle laufenden Verfahren würden bis auf weiteres gestoppt, wie aus einer veröffentlichten Erklärung des US-Verteidigungsministeriums hervorgeht. Der Text gibt keine Begründung für die Entscheidung. Der Oberste Gerichtshof der USA berät derzeit über die Rechtmäßigkeit der Militärtribunale.
Bisher wurden nur zehn von 460 Insassen vor den Sondergerichten angeklagt. Die Tribunale sind umstritten, weil die Regierung als Ankläger, Geschworene und Richter auftreten kann. Nach den drei Selbstmorden am vergangenen Wochenende war die US-Regierung scharf kritisiert worden. Die Uno und Menschenrechtler verlangten die Schließung des Lagers. Auch Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel (CDU) hatte bereits die Schließung des Lagers gefordert.
Im Zusammenhang mit den drei Selbstmorden hatten auch Äußerungen des Kommandeurs des Gefangenenlagers, Konteradmiral Harry Harris, für Aufsehen gesorgt. "Sie haben keine Achtung vor dem Leben, weder vor unserem noch vor ihrem eigenen. Ich glaube, das war kein Akt der Verzweiflung, sondern ein Akt (...) der Kriegsführung gegen uns", sagte er mit Blick auf die Toten, die sich in ihren Zellen erhängt hatten.
In Guantanamo gab es in der Vergangenheit immer wieder Selbstmordversuche von Häftlingen. Das Gefängnis war von Menschenrechtsanwälten auch in die Kritik geraten, weil Wärter die Gefangenen mit Zwangsfütterungen über die Nase zur Nahrungsaufnahme nötigten.
12 June 2006
Selbstmorde in Guantanamo
Pentagon relativiert Aussage über PR mit dem Tod
Die US-Regierung bemüht sich nach den herablassenden Äußerungen über die Selbstmorde in Guantanamo um Schadensbegrenzung. Ein Pentagon-Sprecher relativierte die mit Empörung aufgenommenen Aussagen. Zudem soll ein Imam für den richtigen Umgang mit den Leichen im Camp sorgen.
London/Washington - Er würde die Selbstmorde von Insassen nicht als guten PR-Gag charakterisieren, sagte der für Häftlingsfragen zuständige Staatssekretär im Verteidigungsministerium, Cully Stimson, heute der britischen BBC. Stimson bezog sich auf entsprechende Äußerungen der Staatssekretärin im US-Außenministerium, Colleen Graffy. "Weil wir Amerikaner sind, achten wir das Leben, sogar das Leben gewalttätiger Terroristen, die im Krieg gegen unser Land gefangen genommen wurden", sagte Stimson.
Aufsehen hatten international auch Äußerungen des Kommandeurs des Gefangenenlagers, Konteradmiral Harry Harris, erregt. "Sie haben keine Achtung vor dem Leben, weder vor unserem noch vor ihrem eigenen. Ich glaube, das war kein Akt der Verzweiflung, sondern ein Akt (...) der Kriegsführung gegen uns", sagte er mit Blick auf die Toten, die sich am Wochenende in ihren Zellen erhängt hatten.Die US-Streitkräfte brachten einen Imam nach Guantanamo, der sicherstellen sollte, dass der Umgang mit den Leichnamen islamischen Riten entspricht. Falls notwendig, könne man auf dem Stützpunkt auch eine islamische Bestattung organisieren, sagte ein Militärsprecher.Das US- Verteidigungsministerium gab heute auch die drei Gefangenen bekannt. Demnach handelt es sich um die Saudiaraber Mani Schaman Turki al- Habardi al Utaybi und Jassar Talal al- Sahrani sowie um den Jemeniten Ali Abdullah Ahmed. Gegen keinen der drei Männer war offiziell Anklage erhoben worden.
Sahrani, 21, soll für die Taliban gekämpft haben. Er war den US-Angaben zufolge 2001 an einem Gefängnisaufstand in Masar-i-Scharif in Afghanistan beteiligt, der einen CIA-Agenten das Leben kostete. Dem 28-jährigen Ahmed warfen die US-Behörden Verbindungen zur Terrororganisation al-Qaida vor. Er habe sich während seiner Haftzeit feindselig gegenüber den Aufsehern verhalten und sich von Ende 2005 bis Mai 2006 an einem Hungerstreik beteiligt, hieß es. Der 30-jährige Al Utaybi sollte in den Gewahrsam eines anderen Staates übergeben werden, wie aus Unterlagen hervorgeht, die das Ministerium der Nachrichtenagentur AP am Sonntag übermittelte. Welchem Staat er übergeben werden sollte, wurde nicht mitgeteilt. Möglicherweise war es Saudi-Arabien.
Nach den Todesfällen hat das Internationale Komitee vom Roten Kreuz (IKRK) heute einen Routinebesuch in dem US-Gefangenenlager angekündigt. "In dieser Woche wird ein IKRK-Team Guantanamo besuchen, so wie wir das in der Vergangenheit getan haben, wenn es besondere Vorfälle gab", sagte der IKRK-Sprecher Vincent Lusser der Nachrichtenagentur AFP. Er betonte, dass es sich um einen normalen Vorgang handele.Das IKRK sei nicht zuständig für eine Ermittlung der Todesfälle; eine US-Untersuchung laufe bereits. Das IKRK ist als einzige humanitäre Organisation befugt, das Gefangenenlager regelmäßig aufzusuchen. Das IKRK wacht über die Haftbedingungen und gab bereits mehrfach Empfehlungen zu ihrer Verbesserung an Washington weiter.
Three prisoners commit suicide in Guantánamo gulag
12 June 2006
In an act of desperation that underscores the monstrous conditions at the US concentration camp at Guantánamo Bay, three prisoners committed suicide early Saturday morning, hanging themselves with primitive nooses made from bed sheets. The deaths were the first among Guantánamo prisoners to be confirmed by US authorities.Two of the prisoners were Saudi nationals and the third was Yemeni, according to American officials. All three left behind suicide notes written in Arabic, although none were made public. The three men had been involved in hunger strikes over the past year carried out by detainees to protest their sadistic and illegal treatment. The hunger strikers, including the three who took their own lives, have been force-fed by their captors, who have used the brutal procedure of strapping their victims into metal chairs and shoving feeding tubes down their throats.
The triple suicide is the latest in a series of increasingly desperate actions by the Guantánamo prisoners, who have in many cases been held for more than four years, have been denied the minimum legal rights required under international conventions, and confront the prospect of spending the rest of their lives in the US prison camp.Since the facility opened there have been 41 suicide attempts by 25 detainees, officials said, including 23 attempts during August of 2003, 10 on a single day, although these efforts were not revealed by the Pentagon until January of 2005.There have been multiple hunger strikes in 2005 and 2006, some involving as many as a third of all the prisoners. Last fall the US Southern Command, which runs the prison, decided to begin systematic force-feeding, employing a method of insertion of the feeding tube so violent that it frequently caused internal bleeding. Under this torture, the bulk of prisoners abandoned the hunger strike, although several dozen resumed the strike earlier this year.
Last month, two detainees attempted suicide by overdoses of antidepressant drugs they had accumulated in their cells. A few days later there was an organized uprising, in which a half-dozen prisoners attacked guards with makeshift weapons.US officials refused to release the names of the three suicide victims, but the Interior Ministry of Saudi Arabia identified the two Saudis as Ani bin Shaman bin Turki al Habradi and Yasser Talal Abdullah Yahya al Zahrani.A Saudi attorney for his country’s detainees at Guantánamo, Katib al-Shimary, denounced the US government for the suicides, while suggesting that the three may have been murdered. “Their suicide, that is, if they did commit suicide, is a response to the oppression and injustice they lived in,” he told the satellite television station Al-Arabiya. “I hold the US authorities responsible for their deaths.”
US officials have refused to allow foreign lawyers to meet with any of the detainees, limiting the consultations to lawyers who are US citizens and have security clearances from the Pentagon.The deputy director of the state-sponsored Saudi Human Rights Group, Mufleh al-Qahtani, said in a statement to the local press, “There are no independent monitors at the detention camp so it is easy to pin the crime on the prisoners ... it’s possible they were tortured.”Other defense attorneys and civil liberties and human rights organizations joined in the denunciation of the Guantánamo regime, in which prisoners-the majority kidnapped from Afghanistan during and after the US invasion-have been held in isolation, with little contact with the outside world and no prospect of having their cases heard by a court or other panel where their rights would be respected. Only ten of the approximately 460 men now held at Guantánamo have been charged with any crime, and none have been tried.
The vast majority of the prisoners at Guantánamo are either rank-and-file soldiers seized on the battlefield in Afghanistan or the victims of kidnapping by the Northern Alliance or the Pakistani military dictatorship, who were then sold to the US military for profit.William H. Goodman, legal director at the Center for Constitutional Rights, which represents several hundred prisoners in lawsuits filed in US courts, said, “These are the latest victims and the most serious so far in the ongoing effort of this administration to impose a lawless system that denies justice, fairness and due process to people throughout the world.”“We all had the sense that these men were getting more and more hopeless,” Goodman added. “This is an act of desperation because they have no way to prove their innocence. A system without justice is a system without hope.”
Kenneth Roth, head of Human Rights Watch in New York, told the BBC the men had probably been driven by despair. “These people are despairing because they are being held lawlessly,” he said. “There’s no end in sight. They’re not being brought before any independent judges. They’re not being charged and convicted for any crime.”An official of Amnesty International in Washington DC, Jumana Musa, said “People have been indefinitely detained for five years without any prospect of ever going home, or ever seeing their families, or ever being charged, or having any resolution. There is no question that serious psychological trauma comes from that.”
The United Nations commission against torture joined the growing international condemnation of Guantánamo last month, declaring the treatment of the prisoners, particularly their indefinite detention without prospect of trial or eventual release, a form of torture. The commission called on the Bush administration to close the prison.Bush has made several comments recently suggesting that he would like to see the facility closed and the prisoners put on trial. But these noises are merely for international consumption: in practice, the Pentagon has begun a $30 million expansion of the prison to make room for another 100 medium-security prisoners.
None of the condemnations by outside agencies and human rights groups, however, are as damning as the truly pathological comments made by the two top military officials responsible for Guantánamo, base commander Rear Admiral Harry Harris and General John Craddock, head of the Southern Command.Harris said the three prisoners had “no regard for life, either ours or their own... I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us.”Craddock added, “This is a determined, intelligent, committed element. They continue to do everything they can... to become martyrs in the jihad.”The Orwellian character of these remarks, worthy of the commandant of a Nazi concentration camp, needs no elaboration. A regime which can portray the suicide of desperate prisoners as an “an act of... warfare waged against us” is capable of any lie or any crime.
USA melden erstmals Selbstmorde im Lager Guantanamo
11 June 2006
Miami (Reuters) - Die USA haben erstmals Selbstmorde in ihrem Gefangenenlager Guantanamo auf Kuba gemeldet.
Drei arabische Insassen hätten sich mit Kleidungsstücken und Bettlaken in ihren Zellen erhängt, sagte ein Militärvertreter. Die Bundesregierung forderte am Sonntag von den USA die Aufklärung der Todesumstände. Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel hatte wie andere Regierungen und Menschenrechtsorganisationen die USA in der Vergangenheit deutlich wegen Guantanamo kritisiert. Der jüngste Vorfall, über den sich US-Präsident George W. Bush "ernsthaft besorgt" äußerte, zog international neue Forderungen nach einer Schließung des umstrittenen Lagers nach sich. Bislang hat es nach US-Angaben bereits 41 Selbstmord-Versuche in dem Lager gegeben.
Die Selbstmorde waren die ersten von Häftlingen seit der Nutzung des US-Stützpunktes als Gefängnis im Januar 2002. Die Häftlinge - zwei Saudiaraber und ein Jemenit - seien leblos in ihren Zellen aufgefunden worden, erklärte das Militär am Samstag. Wiederbelebungsversuche seien erfolglos geblieben. Die drei Männer waren in der Vergangenheit wiederholt in den Hungerstreik getreten und zwangsernährt worden. Sie hinterließen Abschiedsbriefe, deren Inhalt jedoch nicht veröffentlicht wurde. Der Kommandant des Gefangenenlagers sagte, es habe sich bei den Selbstmorden eindeutig um eine geplante und keineswegs um eine spontane Aktion gehandelt. Nach Angaben der US-Armee werden die Leichen mit "größtem Respekt" behandelt. Die Namen der Toten wurden nicht mitgeteilt. Es sei eine Ermittlung zu dem Vorfall eingeleitet worden.
In dem umstrittenen Lager waren bereits dutzende Gefangene in den Hungerstreik getreten, um gegen ihre unbefristete Inhaftierung und für eine Freilassung zu demonstrieren. Ein ehemaliger britischer Gefangener bestätigte, dass es während seiner Haft in dem Lager zu mehreren Selbstmordversuchen gekommen sei. "Es geschah direkt vor meinen Augen", sagte Shafiq Rasul. Er wurde 2004 ohne Angabe von Gründen freigelassen, beschuldigt die US-Regierung der Folter und will von ihr Entschädigungszahlungen erwirken.
In Guantanamo halten die USA derzeit 460 Insassen aus 40 Ländern und dem Westjordanland unter dem Verdacht fest, Kontakte zur Extremistenorganisation Al-Kaida oder zu den afghanischen Taliban zu haben. Die USA hatten das Lager nach den Anschlägen vom 11. September 2001 eingerichtet und stufen die Gefangenen als feindliche Kämpfer ein, nicht als Kriegsgefangene. Damit haben sie nicht die Rechte, die die Genfer Konvention Kriegsgefangenen zusichert. Die USA haben Sonder-Militärgerichte eingesetzt, um einigen der Insassen den Prozess zu machen. Das Oberste US-Gericht soll voraussichtlich noch in diesem Monat über die Rechtmäßigkeit solcher Tribunale befinden. Derzeit müssen sich zehn der Insassen vor den Sondergerichten verantworten.
Die Menschenrechtsorganisation Amnesty International forderte nach den jüngsten Vorfällen erneut eine Schließung des Lagers. Der Vorsitzende der Menschenrechtsgruppe Human Rights Watch in New York, Ken Roth, sagte: "Leider sind Selbstmorde wie diese absolut vorhersehbar, wenn Menschen außerhalb der Gesetze und ohne Aussicht auf Hoffnung festgehalten werden. Sie verzweifeln an der Aussicht, für den Rest ihres Lebens eingesperrt und den Launen ihrer Gefängniswärter ausgesetzt zu bleiben." Das Internationale Komitee vom Roten Kreuz (IKRK) kündigte für die kommenden Tage einen Besuch des Lagers an.
Merkel hatte bereits Anfang des Jahres gefordert, das Lager zu schließen. Ein Regierungssprecher sagte nun: "Unsere Haltung zu Guantanamo ist bekannt." Auch die britische Regierung forderte eine Schließung des Lagers oder eine Verlegung in die USA. Wenn das Lager gesetzmäßig sei und dort nichts ungesetzliches passiere, könne das Lager auch innerhalb der Grenzen der USA sein, sagte die Vizeministerin für Verfassungsangelegenheiten, Harriet Harman.Der Anwalt der saudiarabischen Gefangenen machte die USA für den Tod seiner zwei Landsleute verantwortlich. Deren Tod verdeutliche das Ausmaß an Menschenrechtsverletzungen in dem Lager, sagte er. Das Innenministerium des Königreichs erklärte, es tue alles erdenkliche, um die Leichen in die Heimat zu überführen. Zudem würden die Bemühungen verstärkt, alle saudischen Gefangenen zurückzuholen. Saudi-Arabien ist ein enger Verbündeter der USA.
Ex-Guantanamo-Häftling: Selbstmorde im Lager unvermeidlich
So Jun 11 2006
London (Reuters) - Ein früherer Insasse des US-Gefangenenlagers Guantanamo hat sich bestürzt über den Selbstmord dreier Häftlinge gezeigt.
Angesichts der Behandlung der Gefangenen seien derartige Vorfälle aber unvermeidlich, sagte der gebürtige Brite Shafiq Rasul am Sonntag dem Sender Sky Television. Er war im März 2004 ohne Anklage aus dem Lager auf Kuba nach zweieinhalbjähriger Haft entlassen worden und geht seitdem gerichtlich gegen die US-Regierung vor, der er Folter vorwirft.
"Ich war geschockt, aber gleichzeitig ist es unvermeidlich, dass etwas derartiges passiert", sagte Rasul. "Als ich dort war, gab es eine Reihe von Selbstmordversuchen, es geschah unmittelbar vor mir", sagte er. Auf die Frage, ob er während seiner Zeit in dem Lager von anderen Häftlingen von Selbstmordversuchen gehört habe, sagte er: "Ich glaube nicht, dass sie jemals darüber gesprochen haben, aber es gab Einzelne, die hatten einfach genug und konnten nicht mehr, wurden verrückt und die versuchten, sich umzubringen."
Während seiner Haft in Guantanamo habe er keinerlei Rechte gehabt, sagte er. "Ich hatte keinerlei Kommunikation mit der Außenwelt, keinen Zugang zu Anwälten und mir wurde vorgeworfen, ein Mitglied der Al-Kaida zu sein. Man hat mir gesagt, ich sei das Letzte vom Letzten."
Rasul sagte, er sei regelmäßig geschlagen worden, bei Befragungen sei er in sehr unbequemen Stellungen auf dem Boden gefesselt gewesen und habe so stundenlang verharren müssen.
Die USA hatten zuvor erstmals Selbstmorde in ihrem Gefangenenlager in Guantanamo Bay gemeldet. Demnach nahmen sich drei Insassen das Leben. Insgesamt 23 Gefangene sollen zum Teil bereits mehrfach versucht haben, sich umzubringen.
23 May 2006
60 Kinder-Gefangene in Guantanamo
Die Liste der Kritik am US-Gefangenencamp Guantanamo auf Kuba ist lang. Jetzt kommt ein weiterer Vorwurf hinzu: Eine britische Menschenrechtsorganisation behauptet, die USA würden dort Gefangene festhalten, die zum Zeitpunkt ihrer Festnahme noch Kinder waren.
Hamburg - Dutzende der Gefangenen seien unter 18 Jahre alt gewesen, viele davon sogar erst 14 Jahre, als sie nach Guantanamo geschickt wurden. Das wirft die britische Menschenrechtsorganisation Reprieve der US-Regierung vor. Juristen der Organisation schätzen, dass mehr als 60 Gefangene Jungen unter 18 waren, als sie verhaftet wurden. Zehn davon seien sogar erst 14 oder 15 Jahre alt gewesen, berichtet die britische Zeitung "The Independent" heute über die Kritik von Reprieve.
Einer der betroffenen Häftlinge ist dem Bericht zufolge Mohamed el Gharani, dem vorgeworfen wird, 1998 an der Vorbereitung eines Anschlags in London durch al-Qaida beteiligt gewesen zu sein. Zu der Zeit aber sei er erst zwölf Jahre alt gewesen - und habe bei seinen Eltern in Saudi Arabien gelebt. Er sei im Oktober 2001 im Alter von 14 Jahren in Karatschi, Pakistan, verhaftet worden und habe seither einige Jahre in Einzelhaft verbracht. Ihm wird vorgeworfen, ein Qaida-Kämpfer zu sein.
Auch der in Kanada geborene Omar Khadr sei als Jugendlicher verhaftet worden - im Alter von 15 Jahren. Auch er, der Sohn eines hochrangigen Qaida-Mitglieds, habe mehrere Jahre in Einzelhaft verbracht. Ihm legt die US-Regierung zur Last, im Juli 2002 einen US-Soldaten getötet zu haben.
Mittlerweile, so Reprieve, seien aber alle Gefangenen über 18 Jahre alt, nachdem sie mehr als vier Jahre in dem umstrittenen Lager verbracht hätten.
Britische Regierungsvertreter sagten der Zeitung, die US-Regierung habe ihnen zugesichert, jugendliche Häftlinge würden in einer speziellen Einrichtung auf Guantanamo, im Camp Iguana, festgehalten. Die US-Administration spreche allerdings nur von drei Gefangenen, die auf Guantanamo jemals als Kinder behandelt wurden, nämlich drei Afghanen.
Gleichwohl hat US-Präsident George W. Bush mehrmals erklärt, Gefangene in Guantanamo würden nicht nach normalem Strafrecht behandelt, schließlich handele es sich bei den al-Qaida-Kämpfern oder Taliban um feindliche Kombattanten. Die Menschenrechtsorganisation betonte dagegen, das Vorgehen der USA entspreche nicht internationalen Regeln.
Reprieve hat die Vorwürfe erhoben, nachdem das Pentagon gezwungen wurde, eine vollständige Gefangenenliste zu veröffentlichen. Demnach waren 17 Gefangene unter 18, als sie nach Guantanamo geschickt wurden. Diese Zahl würde aber nicht stimmen, da in der Liste Geburtsdaten durcheinander gebracht worden seien.Ein Pentagon-Sprecher betonte, dass in Guantanamo kein Jugendlicher festgehalten werde. "Zudem gibt es keinen internationalen Standard, der regelt, wie alt jene sein sollen, die an kriegerischen Kämpfen teilnehmen. Das Alter ist kein bestimmender Faktor bei Festnahmen von Leuten, die an bewaffneten Kämpfen gegen unsere Streitkräfte beteiligt sind."
27 April 2006
ein gefangener in guantanamo der seit vier jahren ohne anklage inhaftiert ist, hat 12 mal versucht sich zu töten, einmal im besein seines anwaltes.
Guantanamo Bay prisoner 'tried to commit suicide a dozen times'
A prisoner at Guantanamo Bay, held without charge for more than four years, has tried to kill himself a dozen times in an attempt to escape the misery and isolation of his incarceration. On one occasion he tried to take his life during a visit by his lawyer.
Jumah al-Dossari, 33, claims he has been repeatedly beaten and suffered intense psychological abuse during his years of incarceration at the US prison camp in Cuba. He says he has watched US guards abuse the Koran, that he has been sexually humiliated and regularly kept in isolation.
His 12 attempts to take his life - either by hanging, slitting his wrists or a combination of both - account for a third of all the suicide attempts by prisoners at Guantanamo Bay reported by the US authorities. The most recent was in March.
"The enormous horrors that my eyes have seen and continue to see, renew my anxiety and pain and my very being and feelings are shaken at the mere thought or flash of them in my memory," he wrote in a 20-page account given to his lawyer. "I have written these lines from behind the walls of the dreadful detention camps. I have written about my pain and my sadness. I do not know what will happen in the future and what fate has hidden for me, when the end will come or how it will be."
Mr Dossari's lawyer, Joshua Colangelo-Bryan, has seen his client a handful of times. During a visit on 15 October last year, Mr Dossari tried to kill himself. "During our interview he asked for a toilet break," he said. "When I came back [into the cell area] he was hanging there with his arm cut."
Though Mr Dossari has not been charged, the authorities accuse of him of being a member of al-Qa'ida and say he was "present at Tora Bora" - an apparent reference to the military operation in late 2001 to capture Osama Bin Laden. He is also accused of travelling to Bosnia in 1995 "to participate in the jihad" in exchange for money and of attending a training camp in Afghanistan in 1989 "where he received instruction on the AK-47". He denies the allegations. Mr Colangelo-Bryan said his client was in Afghanistan in 2001 to monitor a mosque building project but that he was not present at Tora Bora. He added that his client had travelled to Bosnia to look for a wife and that he had attended a weekend training camp in Afghanistan as a 16-year-old on a trip sponsored by the Saudi authorities after the Russians had left.
Mr Dossari, who has joint Bahraini-Saudi Arabian citizenship and previously lived in Indiana, claims he was wrapped in the US and Israeli flags during one interrogation session and that an interrogator urinated on his copy of the Koran.
"They have violated us deep in our hearts, our dignity and our humanity ... This is what those who brag about civilisation, peace and the law do," he wrote.
A delegation from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) regularly visits all prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and pays special attention to those who have tried to commit suicide. The ICRC will not comment on individuals.
A spokesman for Joint Task Force Guantanamo said he could not comment on specific prisoners but said one detainee had tried to take his life on 11 March. Commander Robert Durand added that one prisoner accounted for 12 of the 39 suicide attempts at the prison since 2002. "Detainees at Guantanamo are treated humanely, and will continue to receive excellent medical care," he said.
The authorities have refused requests to transfer Mr Dossari from the maximum security Camp Five area of Guantanamo. They claim he is able to communicate with other prisoners through the feeding tray hole in his cell door and receives "daily interaction" with prison staff. It even claims he can "interact with one or more interrogators in various ways, including eating Western food such as hamburger and pizza".
Mr Dossari's case has been highlighted by Amnesty International.
21 April 2006
das pentagon hat erneut eine liste der gefangenen veröffentlicht. diesmal befinden sich angaben zu 558 gefangenen in der liste.
Pentagon releases Guantanamo list
* Extensive list provides names and nationalities of 558 detainees
WASHINGTON: The Pentagon has released its most extensive list of foreign terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay, providing the names and nationalities of 558 detainees who went through a hearing process there.
The US Defence Department posted the 11-page list on its website late on Wednesday in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the Associated Press.
The largest number of detainees on the list came from Saudi Arabia, with 132, followed by Afghanistan with 125 and Yemen with 107. The prisoners came from 40 countries and the West Bank.
Only 10 of the detainees at the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have been charged and not one of the trials has been completed. Most of the detainees were captured in Afghanistan and the Pentagon accused many of complicity with Al Qaeda or the Taliban.
The Pentagon had designated the detainees as ?enemy combatants', denying them the rights accorded to prisoners of war under international agreements.
Rights activists have condemned the indefinite detentions and the prisoners? lack of legal rights. UN rights investigators have called for the closure of the prison.
Starting with the arrival from Afghanistan of the first group of 20 shackled and masked detainees on Jan. 11, 2002, the United States had never until now released a comprehensive list of the names and nationalities of the Guantanamo prisoners.
The Pentagon on April 3 released about 2,600 pages of additional documents with more information on the military review hearings given to detainees.
While the new list provided by the Pentagon contained 558 names, there are now about 490 detainees at the Guantanamo base, the Pentagon said. Air Force Lt Col Todd Vician, a Pentagon spokesman, said the list included some detainees who went through the review process but had since been transported out of the base.
"The Department of Defence determined that it is prudent to release the list and while many of the names are already a matter of public record, today's release provides the public with a single consolidated list containing this information," Vician said.
20 April 2006
china fordert das die uighuren an sie ausgeliefert werden.
China demands return of Guantanamo detainees
BEIJING (Reuters) - China urged the United States on Thursday to return Chinese nationals held at Guantanamo Bay after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear whether two Chinese Muslims held at the detention camp can be freed.
Washington should "repatriate Chinese-nationality terror suspects held at Guantanamo as quickly as possible", the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Beijing's renewed call to take back the detainees came after two of them, Abu Bakker Qassim and A'del Abdu Al-Hakim, failed to persuade the Supreme Court to review a lower court decision that a federal court cannot provide them any relief. The two belong to the predominantly Muslim Uighur ethnic group that populates far western China's Xinjiang region. Some Uighurs have campaigned for an independent homeland, often called East Turkestan.
The United States decided last year that the two men were not "enemy combatants" and is holding them while it seeks a third country ? not China -- to take them. They were captured in Pakistan and have been detained since June 2002 at Guantanamo, where the United States holds about 490 terrorism suspects, including a handful of Chinese nationals. Their attorneys urged the Supreme Court to decide whether a federal court has the power to craft a remedy for those imprisoned at the U.S. military base in Cuba. They took the unusual step of appealing directly to the high court after the ruling by a U.S. district court judge who said he was powerless to free them. The U.S. government has said it cannot return the Uighurs to China because they would face persecution there. But Beijing has insisted that Chinese nationals held by the United States as part of the "war on terror" should be returned.
der supreme court hat es abgelehnt zwei uighuren die in guantanamo bay inhaftiert sind zu entlassen.
im märz 2005 hat das militär erklärt daß die beiden nicht mehr als sogenannte feindliche kämpfer eingestuft werden. da sie nicht nach china abgeschoben werden können, dort wären sie verfolgung und folter oder tod ausgesetzt, und die usa sie nicht einreisen lässt, müssen sie in guantanamo bleiben bis ein land gefunden wird das sie aufnimmt.
17. april 2006
Top court rejects appeal by Uighurs at Guantanamo
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court declined on Monday to consider whether a federal judge can free two Chinese Muslims who remain imprisoned unlawfully at Guantanamo Bay, despite being cleared as "enemy combatants."
The justices refused to review the judge's decision that a federal court cannot provide any relief to Abu Bakker Qassim and A'del Abdu Al-Hakim, two members of the Uighur ethnic group held at Guantanamo while the United States searches for a country to take them.
Their attorneys urged the justices to decide whether a federal court has the power to craft a remedy for those who are indefinitely and unlawfully imprisoned at the U.S. military base in Cuba.
They took the unusual step of appealing directly to the high court after the ruling by U.S. District Judge James Robertson.
The two men, who were captured by Pakistani forces in Pakistan, have been detained since June 2002 at Guantanamo, where the United States holds about 490 terrorism suspects. In March last year, the U.S. military determined the two Uighurs should no longer be considered enemy combatants.
Their lawyers asked the judge to order the two men released while the U.S. government tries to find a country that will grant them asylum.
The U.S. government has said it cannot return the Uighurs to China because they would face persecution there.
Many Muslim Uighurs, who are from Xinjiang in far western China, seek greater autonomy for the region and some want independence. Beijing has waged a relentless campaign against what it calls the violent separatist activities of the Uighurs.
'WHAT JUSTICE REQUIRES'
Robertson ruled in December that the continued, indefinite detention of the Uighurs at Guantanamo is unlawful, but said he had no authority "to do what I believe justice requires" in ordering their release.
Robertson said he could not grant the Uighurs' request for asylum in the United States because the law gives that power solely to the president. The Bush administration has opposed bringing them to the United States.
Their lawyers urged the Supreme Court to intervene now and decide the case, without following the usual procedure of waiting for a ruling by a U.S. appeals court.
"The district court's decision once again renders Guantanamo Bay a place and a prison beyond law," they said. "Liberty can never be secure when the judicial branch declares its impotence."
The American Civil Liberties Union and more than 300 Guantanamo prisoners supported the appeal.
Solicitor General Paul Clement of the U.S. Justice Department opposed the appeal. He urged the justices to put off any review of the case until after the appeals court ruled.
The high court rejected the appeal by the Uighurs without any comment or recorded dissent. The case could return to the high court after the appeals court decides it.
19 April 2006
reporter ohne grenzen fordern die freilassung eines sudanesischen kameramannes, der seit 13. juni 2002 inhaftiert ist. der mann hat kehlkopfkrebs und bekommt nicht die erforderliche behandlung. rsf verweist auf einen artikel des guardian vom 25.september 2005 indem behauptet wird das die us regierung dem mann einen us-pass und entlassung angeboten haben .als gegenleistung sollte er den sender al jazeera, für den er arbeitet, ausspionieren.
Al-Jazeera cameraman, detained in Guantanamo since 2002, refused treatment for throat cancer;
RSF calls for his release after receiving new information from lawyer
(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders (RSF) voiced concern about detained Sudanese cameraman Sami Al-Haj of the pan-Arab TV station Al-Jazeera, and reiterated its call for his release in the absence of specific charges after speaking to his London-based lawyer, Clive Stafford-Smith. Arrested by the Pakistani army on the Afghan border in December 2001, Al-Haj has been held at the US detention centre at Guantanamo Bay (Cuba) since 13 June 2002.
"Aside from the fact that Guantanamo Bay is a legal and humanitarian scandal, the Americans seem to be holding Al-Haj simply because they have it in for Al-Jazeera," the press freedom organisation said. "How else can you explain the fact that he has been held for four years without being charged, while other journalists have been cleared and released in no time at all?"
RSF added: "At the same time, his lawyer says he has throat cancer and is not getting appropriate treatment. The US authorities must release him, even if it is only on humanitarian grounds."
On his return from visits to Guantanamo Bay and Qatar (where Al-Jazeera has its headquarters), Stafford-Smith told an RSF representative in London on 11 April 2006: "Sami is very depressed. He even spoke of suicide for the first time in my presence. Furthermore, he still needs treatment for his throat cancer which the US authorities refuse to give him. He also has trouble with a knee."
Stafford-Smith said Al-Haj was recently moved to Guantanamo Bay's Camp 4 "for good conduct", but conditions there were still bad and, anyway, his stay in Camp 4 could be quite brief. "Supposedly there is a plan to transfer all the detainees to Camp 6, a high-security facility," he said. "This would be a disaster for Sami because it would signify a deterioration in the conditions in which he is being held. The transfer could be in September."
Stafford-Smith has not found out anything more about what Al-Haj is charged with, and he is still awaiting a response from the Administrative Review Board (ARB), which is supposed to examine the cases of the Guantanamo Bay detainees each year and, above all, determine whether detainees still pose "a threat to the security of the United States."
The situation is "nonsensical," Stafford-Smith said, "because the ARB has no real legal competence and modifies its charges as it goes along, without any evidence." The Combat Status Review Tribunal, which has more senior status, ruled in March 2005 that Al-Haj was an "enemy combatant" on the grounds that he had allegedly run a website that supported terrorism, that he had trafficked in arms, that he entered Afghanistan illegally in October 2001 while US air strikes were under way, and that he interviewed Osama bin Laden. All these claims are disputed by Al-Jazeera,[ (see RSF's report on Guantanamo Bay and Camp Bucca in Iraq, "Where the United States imprisons journalists").
Furthermore, according to a report in the London-based "Guardian" newspaper of 26 September 2005, the US authorities offered to free Al-Haj and give him a US passport if he agreed to spy for them inside Al-Jazeera.
According to Stafford-Smith, there is still a complete lack of transparency, despite an official investigation into the Guantanamo Bay detention centre by the House of Representatives and a Supreme Court ruling in June 2004 that Guantanamo Bay detainees could file habeas corpus petitions challenging the legality of their detention.
"There is no protocol or convention determining the relation between a defendant and his lawyer," he said. "Guantanamo Bay is a place beyond the law, subject to the whim of the US authorities."
19 April 2006
Einsatz von Elektroschockern in Guantanamo
Berlin (ddp). Die USA haben im umstrittenen Gefangenenlager Guantanamo nach Erkenntnissen westlicher Sicherheitskreise als «Stun Belts» bekannte Elektroschocker eingesetzt. Diese gürtelähnlichen und in Nierenhöhe mit zwei Elektroden versehenen Geräte können mindestens acht Sekunden lang Stromstöße mit 50 000 Volt abgeben. Das belegen Berichte westlicher Sicherheitskreise.
Nach Angaben dieser Kreise gehören die Elektroschocker auch zur Standardausrüstung an Bord der umstrittenen CIA-Flüge, die im Rahmen der Operation «extraordinary
rendition» im Auftrag Washingtons weltweit als gefährlich erachtete Islamisten zu Verhören fliegen. Ebenso eingesetzt worden seien sie bei Häftlingen im Irak und im Hochsicherheits-Gefangenenlager Baghram Air Base in Afghanistan. In einem Bericht dazu heißt es, das amerikanische Vorgehen stehe «nicht in Einklang mit internationalen Konventionen». Der Bericht listet sieben Fälle auf, bei denen der Einsatz der Elektroschocker «ohne Zweifel» erfolgt sei. In weiteren 19 Fällen werde der Einsatz der Geräte vermutet.
Sicher ist, dass schon seit Mitte der neunziger Jahren «Stun Belts» auch in amerikanischen Haftanstalten verwendet werden. Der Elektroschock wird per Fernbedienung ausgelöst und kann aus bis zu 100 Meter Entfernung aktiviert werden. Um den Schmerz des Opfers zu maximieren, werden die Elektroden des Gürtels oberhalb der linken Niere justiert. Der 50 000-Volt-Stromschlag dauert mindestens acht Sekunden und kann vom Anwender auch bei irrtümlicher Auslösung des Impulses nicht abgeschaltet werden. Die Stromschläge sind mit durchschnittlich vier Milliampere zwar nicht tödlich, führen aufgrund der schnellen Impulswiederholung jedoch zu großen Schmerzen des Opfers, zu Muskelverkrampfungen, völliger Orientierungslosig- und Bewegungsunfähigkeit. Die Opfer urinieren und entleeren auch ihren Darm. Vor diesem Hintergrund betrachtet Amnesty International den Einsatz der Geräte als Folter.
Der UN-Ausschuss gegen Folter, der die Einhaltung der Anti-Folter-Konvention der Vereinten Nationen überwacht, hat die USA mehrfach aufgefordert, die Anwendung der «Stun Belts» zu verhindern. Unklar ist, ob der in den USA angeklagte mutmaßliche Mittäter der Anschläge des 11. September 2001, Zacarias Moussaoui, unter seiner Kleidung zumindest zeitweise einen «Stun Belt» tragen musste. Er hatte am 8. Juli 2002 vor Gericht mitgeteilt: «Ich weiß, Sie wollen einen Zwischenfall vor Gericht inszenieren, indem der Marshal den Elektroschockgürtel aktiviert und behauptet, ich hätte eine ´bedrohliche Bewegung´ gemacht.» Ende März 2006 gestand Moussaoui vor Gericht überraschend seine Beteiligung an den Attentaten ein. Ein Gerichtsreporter des Fernsehsenders NBC, der live darüber berichtete, mutmaßte, Moussaoui trage während seines Geständnisses unter seiner Kleidung verdeckt einen «Stun Belt».
In den USA gibt es mehrere Hersteller der umstrittenen Elektroschock-Gürtel. So ist etwa der «Secpro XR 500 Prisoners Stun Belt» nach Herstellerangaben in den USA ein «Bestseller». Im Internet wird er für 1199 Dollar vertrieben. Andere Hersteller sind Nova Products in Tennessee und Stun Tech Inc. in Cleveland/Ohio. Amnesty International zitiert Dennis Kaufmann, den Präsidenten von Stun Tech Inc., mit den Worten: «Elektrizität spricht jede bekannte Sprache. Übersetzung ist nicht notwendig. Jeder hat Angst vor Elektrizität. Und das ist auch richtig so.»
Neben den USA wird das Gerät nach Angaben aus Sicherheitskreisen im Libanon, in China und Südafrika eingesetzt. Internationale Menschenrechtskonventionen verbieten die Verwendung grausamer, quälender und den Menschen herabwürdigender Hilfsmittel bei Gefangenen und Häftlingen.
19. April 2006
USA sollen Gefangene mit Elektroschockern foltern
Nach Darstellung "westlicher Sicherheitskreise" haben die USA im Gefangenenlager Guantanamo als "Stun Belts" bekannte Elektroschocker eingesetzt, schreibt die Nachrichtenagentur ddp. Diese gürtelähnlichen und in Nierenhöhe mit zwei Elektroden versehenen Geräte können offenbar mindestens acht Sekunden lang Stromstöße mit 50.000 Volt abgeben und enorme Schmerzen hervorrufen. Den Angaben zufolge sollen die Elektroschocker auch zur Standardausrüstung an Bord der CIA-Flüge gehören, die im Rahmen der Operation "extraordinary rendition" im Auftrag Washingtons weltweit als gefährlich erachtete Islamisten zu Verhören fliegen, berichtet die Nachrichtenagentur ddp. Ebenso eingesetzt worden seien sie bei Häftlingen im Irak und im Hochsicherheits-Gefangenenlager Baghram Air Base in Afghanistan. In einem Bericht dazu heißt es, das amerikanische Vorgehen stehe "nicht in Einklang mit internationalen Konventionen".
Sicher ist laut ddp, dass schon seit Mitte der neunziger Jahren "Stun Belts" auch in amerikanischen Haftanstalten verwendet werden. Der Elektroschock werde per Fernbedienung ausgelöst und könne aus bis zu 100 Meter Entfernung aktiviert werden. Um den Schmerz des Opfers zu maximieren, würden die Elektroden des Gürtels oberhalb der linken Niere justiert. Der 50.000-Volt-Stromschlag dauere mindestens acht Sekunden und könne vom Anwender auch bei irrtümlicher Auslösung des Impulses nicht abgeschaltet werden.
Die Stromschläge seien mit durchschnittlich vier Milliampere zwar nicht tödlich, führten aufgrund der schnellen Impulswiederholung jedoch zu großen Schmerzen des Opfers, zu Muskelverkrampfungen, völliger Orientierungslosig- und Bewegungsunfähigkeit. Die Opfer urinierten und entleerten auch ihren Darm. Vor diesem Hintergrund betrachtet Amnesty International den Einsatz der Geräte als Folter.
Der UN-Ausschuss gegen Folter, der die Einhaltung der Anti-Folter-Konvention der Vereinten Nationen überwacht, hat die USA mehrfach aufgefordert, die Anwendung der "Stun Belts" zu verhindern. Unklar ist, ob der in den USA angeklagte mutmaßliche Mittäter der Anschläge des 11. September 2001, Zacarias Moussaoui, unter seiner Kleidung zumindest zeitweise einen "Stun Belt" tragen musste. Er hatte am 8. Juli 2002 vor Gericht mitgeteilt: "Ich weiß, Sie wollen einen Zwischenfall vor Gericht inszenieren, indem der Marshal den Elektroschockgürtel aktiviert und behauptet, ich hätte eine 'bedrohliche Bewegung' gemacht." Ende März 2006 gestand Moussaoui vor Gericht überraschend seine Beteiligung an den Attentaten ein. Ein Gerichtsreporter des Fernsehsenders NBC, der live darüber berichtete, mutmaßte, Moussaoui trage während seines Geständnisses unter seiner Kleidung verdeckt einen "Stun Belt".
In den USA gibt es mehrere Hersteller der Elektroschock-Gürtel. So ist etwa der "Secpro XR 500 Prisoners Stun Belt" nach Herstellerangaben in den USA ein "Bestseller". Im Internet wird er für 1199 Dollar vertrieben. Andere Hersteller sind Nova Products in Tennessee und Stun Tech Inc. in Cleveland/Ohio. Amnesty International zitiert Dennis Kaufmann, den Präsidenten von Stun Tech Inc., mit den Worten: "Elektrizität spricht jede bekannte Sprache. Übersetzung ist nicht notwendig. Jeder hat Angst vor Elektrizität. Und das ist auch richtig so."
Neben den USA wird das Gerät nach Angaben aus Sicherheitskreisen im Libanon, in China und Südafrika eingesetzt. Internationale Menschenrechtskonventionen verbieten die Verwendung grausamer, quälender und den Menschen herabwürdigender Hilfsmittel bei Gefangenen und Häftlingen.
[ more infos about electroshockguns
6 April 2006
einer der 10 wegen kriegsverbrechen angeklagten männer , ein 19 jähriger kanadier, hat angekündigt die anhörungen und seinen prozeß so lange zu boykottieren bis sich seine haftbedingungen geändert haben.
seit dem 30. märz ist er wieder in isohaft.
mr. khadr war 15 als er verhaftet wurde und seine anwälte argumentieren daß es gegen internationale gesetze verstoße ihn wie einen erwachsenen vor einem militärgericht anzuklagen.
Suspect boycotts Guantanamo trial
A Canadian teenager accused of killing a US soldier in Afghanistan has told a Guantanamo Bay tribunal he will boycott his trial, claiming unfair treatment.
Omar Khadr told a pre-trial hearing he had been kept in solitary confinement and said he would not participate until he was "treated humanely and fair".
The 19-year-old's defence lawyer argued the military trial rules were unclear and not based on any legal framework.
Mr Khadr is one of 10 Guantanamo detainees charged with war crimes.
"I am boycotting these procedures until I am treated humanely and fairly," Mr Khadr said, adding he had been held in solitary confinement since 30 March.
An angry exchange followed between his defence lawyer, Lt Col Colby Vokey, and the military officer presiding over the tribunal.
He complained that his client was being treated unfairly and that the conditions at the prison and the tribunal's procedures undermined the defence team's ability to carry out its work.
Lt Col Vokey said just as he was trying to prepare his client's case, "they move him to solitary confinement for no apparent reason whatsoever".
Presiding officer Col Robert Chester said the matter of Mr Khadr's solitary confinement would be addressed later in the week.
A spokesman for the prison camp said it was routine practice for those in a pre-trial hearing status to be moved into the maximum-security section of the prison.
Navy Cmdr Robert Durand said inmates live in individual cells but can still communicate with one another.
Mr Khadr was 15 when he was captured and his lawyers argue that trying him for crimes allegedly committed as a juvenile violates international law.
Mr Khadr would face life in prison if convicted.
Ten of the 490 Guantanamo detainees have been charged with war crimes. Mr Khadr is one of four scheduled for pre-trial hearings this week.
The Supreme Court heard a challenge to the legitimacy of the tribunals last month and is expected to rule by July.
GUANTANAMO / UK
23 March 2006
nachdem bekannt wurde das ein seit drei jahren in guantanamo inhaftierter , im irak geborener, seit 1985 in britannien lebendender mann ein mi5-informant war, hat der britische aussenminister eingewilligt sich für die freilassung des mannes einzusetzen.
der mann wurde vor drei jahren, zusammen mit einem in jordanien geborenen mann, der seit 2000 britisches asyl hat ( ob dieser auch für den mi5 gearbeitet hat steht nicht im bericht), in gambia festgenommen. sie werden beschuldigt über ihre kontakte zu einem moslemischen geistlichen mit al qaida zusammen gearbeitet zu haben.
dies sei aber, so wurde gestern bei einer anhörung vor gericht bekannt, in absprache und mit dem wissen des geheimdienstes geschehen.
Straw to demand release of 'MI5 man' in Guantanamo after U-turn
In a foreign policy U-turn, Jack Straw has agreed to intervene in the case of a British resident who has been held in Guantanamo Bay for the past three years.
The concession emerged during a court hearing yesterday after lawyers had alleged that the Iraqi-born businessman, who has lived in Britain since 1985, was an MI5 informer.
Until yesterday Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, had said that the British government would not make any representations on behalf of American prisoners who were not British citizens.
The Government maintains that - as foreign nationals - Bisher al-Rawi, Jamil el-Banna and Omar Deghayes have no legal right to the assistance they seek.
But the judges heard yesterday that the Foreign Office had conceded that representations would be made to the US authorities for the release of Mr al-Rawi because of the particular circumstances of his case.
His lawyers said afterwards that the decision to intervene was only an expedient way of avoiding the publication of sensitive information about MI5's relationship with Mr al-Rawi.
Bisher al-Rawi, 37, and his Jordanian business partner Mr el-Banna, who was granted refugee status in 2000, were detained three years ago in Gambia.
According to statements before the court, they were alleged to have been associated with al-Qa'ida through a connection with the radical Muslim cleric Abu Qatada.
Mr al-Rawi, who has a wife and five children living in the UK, has always maintained he had contact with Abu Qatada that was "expressly approved and encouraged by British intelligence", to whom he supplied information about the cleric.
He said representatives of security services had assured him that, should he run into trouble, they would intervene and assist him.
Yesterday, Timothy Otty, appearing for the detainees, told the High Court he would not be alleging that the British Government was "knowingly complicit" in the arrest and the detention of the two men. But, he said, documents attached to a statement made by a security service official, referred to as "witness A", established there had been "communications" between the British and US security services, relating to the two men prior to their arrest .
Mr Otty said: "Viewed objectively, and given the nature of these communications, it was foreseeable detention would occur. We will certainly be contending there has been real injustice and there is a causal link on the part of those acting for the UK in that injustice."
Reprieve, the human rights group that has acted for Mr al-Rawi and Mr el-Banna in the US courts, believes the implication of yesterday's decision is clear.
Zachary Katznelson, senior counsel at Reprieve, said: "It's high time that the British government recognised their responsibilities to Bisher al-Rawi. He's always maintained, and the Government has never denied, that he was helping MI5 by acting as a go-between with Abu Qatada.
"That's his only connection and that is why he was detained - because he chose to help British intelligence."
The judges were told yesterday that there is now "compelling evidence" that the three British residents have been "severely tortured and suffered inhuman and degrading treatment."
The men also remained exposed to a "real risk" of further ill treatment at the detention facility in Cuba.
Now that Mr al-Rawi was likely to have a release request made on his behalf, it did not seem too much to ask, against that background, that all three British residents at Guantanamo Bay should receive assistance from the Foreign Office, argued Mr Otty yesterday.
17 March 2006
GUANTANAMO / USA
die namen von 315/ 317 menschen in guantanamo wurden , nach einer bundesrichterlichen anordnung, zum ersten mal veröffentlicht. die vom pentagon jetzt unzensiert freigegeben akten enthalten etwa 5000 seiten mit berichten von anhörungen.
die akten enthalten nicht alle akten der menschen die zur zeit in guantanamo inhaftiert sind oder die dort verhört wurden.
seit anfang 2002 wurden 750 männer verhört.
associated press hat am 15. märz eine vorläufige auswertung der ihnen jetzt unzensiert überlassenen akten . ap hatte eine klage nach dem freedom of information act eingereicht und in einer zweiten klage dann erreicht das die namen der inhaftierten nicht mehr unlesbar gemacht werden.
Transcripts of Guantánamo hearings: a window into Washington’s gulag
The Associated Press published on March 15 its preliminary analysis of thousands of pages of documents on prisoners held by the US at Guantánamo Bay. The analysis gives a glimpse into the lives of hundreds of people who have been arbitrarily swept up and held without cause for years, subjected to abuse and wretched conditions.
The documents were released by the Defense Department on March 3, following a judicial order. The AP had filed a lawsuit against the Defense Department seeking release of the documents. More than 5,000 pages were handed over, consisting mainly of partial transcripts of the Combatant Status Review Tribunals, kangaroo courts in which prisoners have sought to challenge their status as “enemy combatants.” However, the documents were not organized or indexed, and the AP has taken two weeks to put together a list of 186 names of prisoners.
These names represent only a fraction of those who have been held at the prison in Cuba, all of them deprived of basic democratic rights. According to the AP, more than 600 individuals held at Guantánamo Bay are not mentioned in the transcripts. However, this is the first time that anything approaching a list of prisoners—and their backgrounds—has been made available to the public.
Most of the 186 prisoners in the transcripts are Afghan, though many come from other countries throughout the Middle East and Central Asia, and some are from Europe. They were mostly picked up as part of the American invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. During the illegal invasion, the US military and its allies rounded up thousands of people, some with some relationship to the Taliban or the resistance to the American invasion, some arrested by accident or association.
A number of the prisoners said they were turned over to the American authorities because they refused to pay a bribe to the new government installed by Washington. Others said they were turned over to US troops for political reasons, because they had come into conflict with some other government officials following the invasion.
Many of the prisoners transferred to Guantánamo Bay first passed through US-controlled detention facilities at Bagram air base, or through other countries such as Pakistan, where they were routinely tortured. In the transcripts, many complain that they have no idea why they are being held and have not been shown any of the evidence against them. Transcripts of the hearings in which this secret evidence was presented were not included in the material released by the military. One prisoner noted during his hearing, “In our culture, if someone is accused of something, they are shown the evidence.”[...]
[ Transcripts of Guantánamo hearings: a window into Washington’s gulag
Guantanamo 'war on terror' camp still under a cloud of secrecy
GUANTANAMO BAY US NAVAL BASE, Cuba (AFP) - At the entrance to the Guantanamo detention camp,
a wooden sign reads: "Honor Bound to Defend Freedom."
The slogan might sound ironic to the growing chorus of critics who have condemned the camp as a modern-day "gulag." But to the US military officers in the isolated atmosphere that pervades Guantanamo, the slogan seems to fit well.
The rest of the world seems far removed from the turquoise sea and golden sunsets of Guantanamo Bay, where US soldiers and staff working at the naval base scuba dive, fish and barbecue under the warm Caribbean sun.
Down the road from the shopping malls and shooting ranges lies Camp Delta, at the center of international outrage over President George W. Bush's conduct of the "war on terror."
Behind forbidding guard towers and rows of metal fences lined with barbed wire, some 500 men remain under indefinite detention.
After more than four years, only 10 have been formally charged. They are being tried in newly-created tribunals beyond the reach of US courts or international conventions.
The Pentagon on Friday reluctantly released the names of 317 of the detainees after a US court ruled they had no reason to withhold them. Some, but not all, of the documents identified prisoners by nationality.
The records do not include all of those currently held in Guantanamo, where US officials have interrogated 750 detainees since early 2002.
The camp and its detainees remain shrouded in secrecy, reinforcing suspicions that the Bush administration has something to hide.
Reporters flown in to the base this week were kept far away from the prison that sits in the dry, desert landscape of Guantanamo Bay along the wind-swept cliffs overlooking the sea.
Civilian defense lawyers who have filed petitions demanding their client's habeas corpus rights make regular visits to the camp, volunteering their time and bringing thermoses of tea and bags of Middle Eastern food.
"We can't do much for our clients. Food is one thing we can do that they appreciate," said one defense lawyer who asked not to be named.
US officers on the base say the detainees are treated humanely by well-trained Navy guards, and that 119 of them are due to be "transferred" to authorities in their native countries at an unspecified time.
Yet a steady flow of damning revelations and allegations of abuse, torture and flawed intelligence has put the Bush administration increasingly on the defensive.
Freed detainees, FBI agents, human rights groups and defense lawyers have offered harrowing accounts of marathon interrogation sessions and painful force-feeding for those who attempted a hunger strike.
Even Bush's staunch allies in Europe, such as British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, are unwilling to defend him over the camp.
The Bush administration and the US military say the prison is an extraordinary response to an unprecedented threat posed by terrorists who answer to no government.
"These are the worst of a very bad lot. They are very dangerous," Vice President Dick Cheney has said.
Cheney and other officials have insisted that it would be foolhardy to grant these "enemy combatants" the rights of prisoners of war or US citizens.
The Guantanamo naval base dates back to Washington's first imperial push abroad in the 1898 Spanish-American war. The Cuban government considers the base illegal, and has repeatedly demanded its return.
The base features prominently in the 1992 Hollywood film "A Few Good Men," in which Jack Nicholson plays a gruff marine colonel running the site during the Cold War. Accused of tolerating hazing that leads to a marine's death, the colonel castigates a young Navy lawyer for his naivete.
"You can't handle the truth!" he shouts. "I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom."
Defenders of "Gitmo" here sometimes strike the same tone -- that the fight against Al-Qaeda requires tough tactics and cannot be hamstrung by legal niceties.
At pre-trial hearings this week for the handful of detainees who have been charged, bewildered defense lawyers asked how they could argue their client's case before tribunals that operate outside of US and international legal norms.
The tribunals allow hearsay, deny the defense access to much of the evidence presented by the prosecution, and issue rules without review by civilian courts.
"No court will look at these cases. They can keep these things in this bubble that is Guantanamo Bay," said Major Tom Fleener, the military defense lawyer for an alleged aide to Osama bin Laden.
"What happens in Guantanamo Bay stays in Guantanamo Bay," he added.
Pentagon Releases Detainees' Names
About 315 From Guantanamo Identified
4 March 2006
efense Department officials yesterday released the names and personal information of about 315 current and former detainees of the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, military prison, publicly disclosing that information for the first time since the facility opened in early 2002.
The names, released under an order from a federal judge, were contained in more than 5,000 pages of documents that detail administrative hearings for the detainees held at the island prison to determine whether they should be classified as enemy combatants.
The release came about a week after the Bush administration decided not to appeal the court order to provide uncensored versions of documents that had been turned over to the Associated Press as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. The new documents do not include the small black boxes that had obscured references to individual detainees and information about their families and home countries.
The documents include summaries from the hearings and describe -- sometimes in graphic detail -- the personal accounts of how detainees were taken into custody. The detainees offer sometimes lengthy explanations for their alleged association with terrorist groups and the Taliban.
One detainee, identified in the documents as Ali Abdul Motalib Hassan al-Tayeea, said he was born in Iraq, suffered under Saddam Hussein and at one point was imprisoned because he was a Shiite Muslim. He told a tribunal in Cuba that he joined the Taliban in Afghanistan as a driver 20 days before Sept. 11, 2001, because he needed work.
"I have never been an enemy of America. I'd like to be a United States person. I'd like to be an American person," Tayeea said, declaring that he hates the Taliban and al-Qaeda. "If I saw Usama Bin Laden, I'd kill him."
"By God, I promise you, I was never an enemy of America," said Tayeea, who was identified for the first time in the records released last night. "I was just like a little scared mouse. If I had known the Taliban was against America, I wouldn't have gone."
Pentagon officials delivered the documents to the Associated Press yesterday evening, and copies were being distributed to other news organizations last night.
About 490 detainees are held at Guantanamo Bay. About 270 have been transferred or released.
The Washington Post has independently verified the identities of approximately 450 current and former detainees through international press accounts, interviews with lawyers who represent detainees and papers filed in several U.S. federal courts. The Post's entire catalogue of names and nationalities has been on its Web site since May 2004 and has been regularly updated.
[ That list can be viewed here
Pentagon officials have long declined to provide any information about individual detainees held at Guantanamo Bay. Most information about specific detainees and their circumstances has come to light through dozens of habeas corpus cases filed in U.S. federal courts. Lawyers representing the detainees have met with their clients at the island base and have subsequently provided declassified notes and descriptions of their conversations to reporters, and military officials have filed sworn statements as part of Justice Department responses in the cases.
Not all detainees have participated in the enemy-combatant hearings. Identities and details of several hundred current and former Guantanamo Bay detainees who did not have hearings will remain undisclosed, Pentagon officials said.
"There is a concern that there could be potential harm to the detainees if personal information such as their name was a matter of public record," Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, said, according to Reuters.
Human rights advocates said yesterday that the official Pentagon release of names is an important step because it provides an additional level of transparency at Guantanamo Bay, where hundreds of detainees have been held for years without criminal charges.
Amnesty International hopes to use the names and personal information to link detainees with their families, something the International Committee of the Red Cross already has been doing, said Curt Goering, deputy executive director of Amnesty International USA. "It's an important step because it's a bit of additional information, and it's information that families and many organizations have been demanding from the start," Goering said.
Also yesterday, a federal judge in Washington ordered the government to respond to a habeas corpus petition filed on behalf of Guantanamo Bay detainees. It was the first time a federal judge has issued such an order since the government asserted that a new law limits the captives' access to federal courts, according to the Center for Constitutional Rights. Justice Department lawyers had sought dismissal of all pending detainee cases after the law was signed, and numerous cases were stayed pending hearings later this month on the issue. But U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler yesterday lifted a stay in the case of Ali Ahmed v. Bush .
3 March 2006
die unter folter erlangten beweise sind bei den militärprozessen in guantanamo zugelassen.
U.S. Cites Exception in Torture Ban
McCain Law May Not Apply to Cuba Prison
Bush administration lawyers, fighting a claim of torture by a Guantanamo Bay detainee, yesterday argued that the new law that bans cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees in U.S. custody does not apply to people held at the military prison.
In federal court yesterday and in legal filings, Justice Department lawyers contended that a detainee at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, cannot use legislation drafted by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to challenge treatment that the detainee's lawyers described as "systematic torture."
Government lawyers have argued that another portion of that same law, the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, removes general access to U.S. courts for all Guantanamo Bay captives. Therefore, they said, Mohammed Bawazir, a Yemeni national held since May 2002, cannot claim protection under the anti-torture provisions.
Bawazir's attorneys contend that "extremely painful" new tactics used by the government to force-feed him and end his hunger strike amount to torture.
U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler said in a hearing yesterday that she found allegations of aggressive U.S. military tactics used to break the detainee hunger strike "extremely disturbing" and possibly against U.S. and international law. But Justice Department lawyers argued that even if the tactics were considered in violation of McCain's language, detainees at Guantanamo would have no recourse to challenge them in court.
In Bawazir's case, the government claims that it had to forcefully intervene in a hunger strike that was causing his weight to drop dangerously. In January, officials strapped Bawazir into a special chair, put a larger tube than they had previously used through his nose and kept him restrained for nearly two hours at a time to make sure he did not purge the food he was being given, the government and Bawazir's attorneys said.
Richard Murphy Jr., Bawazir's attorney, said his client gave in to the new techniques and began eating solid food days after the first use of the restraint chair. Murphy said the military deliberately made the process painful and embarrassing, noting that Bawazir soiled himself because of the approach.
Kessler said getting to the root of the allegations is an "urgent matter."
"These allegations . . . describe disgusting treatment, that if proven, is treatment that is cruel, profoundly disturbing and violative of" U.S. and foreign treaties banning torture, Kessler told the government's lawyers. She said she needs more information, but made clear she is considering banning the use of larger nasal-gastric tubes and the restraint chair.
In court filings, the Justice Department lawyers argued that language in the law written by Sens. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) gives Guantanamo Bay detainees access to the courts only to appeal their enemy combatant status determinations and convictions by military commissions.
"Unfortunately, I think the government's right; it's a correct reading of the law," said Tom Malinowski, Washington advocacy director for Human Rights Watch. "The law says you can't torture detainees at Guantanamo, but it also says you can't enforce that law in the courts."
Thomas Wilner, a lawyer representing several detainees at Guantanamo, agreed that the law cannot be enforced. "This is what Guantanamo was about to begin with, a place to keep detainees out of the U.S. precisely so they can say they can't go to court," Wilner said.
A spokeswoman for McCain's office did not respond to questions yesterday.
Murphy told the judge the military's claims that it switched tactics to protect Bawazir should not be believed. He noted that on Jan. 11 -- days after the new law passed -- the Defense Department made the identical health determination for about 20 other detainees, all of whom had been engaged in the hunger strike.
Guantanamo Bay officials deny that the tactics constitute torture. They wrote in sworn statements that they are necessary efforts to ensure detainee health. Maj. Gen. Jay W. Hood, the facility's commander, wrote that Bawazir's claims of abuse are "patently false."
"In short, he is a trained al Qaida terrorist, who has been taught to claim torture, abuse, and medical mistreatment if captured," Hood wrote. He added that Bawazir allegedly went to Afghanistan to train for jihad and ultimately fought with the Taliban against U.S. troops.
Navy Capt. Stephen G. Hooker, who runs the prison's detention hospital, noted that the hunger strike began on Aug. 8, reached a peak of 131 participants on Sept. 11, and dropped to 84 on Christmas Day. After use of the restraint chair began, only five captives continued not eating.
Hooker wrote that he suspected Bawazir was purging his food after feedings. Bawazir weighed 130 pounds in late 2002, according to Hooker, but 97 pounds on the day he was first strapped to the chair. As of Sunday, his weight was back to 137 pounds, the government said.
Kessler noted with irritation that Hood and Hooker made largely general claims about the group of detainees on the hunger strike in defending the switch to the new force-feeding procedures used on Bawazir.
"I know it's a sad day when a federal judge has to ask a DOJ attorney this, but I'm asking you -- why should I believe them?" Kessler asked Justice Department attorney Terry Henry.
Henry said he would attempt to gather more information from the officials but said there was no legal basis for the court to intervene. Bawazir's weight is back to normal, his health is "robust" and he is no longer on a hunger strike, Henry said.
'War on terror' trials could allow evidence obtained through torture
2. märz 2006
GUANTANAMO BAY US NAVAL BASE, Cuba (AFP) - US military officers, breaking with domestic and international legal precedent, said that "war on terror" military tribunals at the Guantanamo naval base could allow evidence obtained through torture.
The US military officer presiding over the trial of an alleged aide to Osama bin Laden said he was not ready to rule out such evidence.
The officer, who wields power similar to a judge, was asked by the defense lawyer representing Ali Hamza Ahmad al-Bahlul, a Yemeni accused of plotting terror attacks for bin Laden's Al-Qaeda network, if he was ready to exclude all evidence secured through torture.
After a long pause, Colonel Peter Brownback declined to commit to a blanket ban on evidence obtained as a result of torture.
"What you and I mean by torture could be different," Brownback told defense lawyer Major Tom Fleener.
He said "a red-hot needle in the eye" constitutes torture but was not ready to commit to a prohibition in advance of the trial. "My personal belief is that torture is not good," he added.
But he said it would depend on the circumstances and how the prosecution presented the evidence.
Bahlul's lawyer, who has the right to question the tribunal chief to verify his client will receive impartial treatment, said he asked the question because he alleged his client had been tortured while in detention.
"I believe Mr al-Bahlul was tortured," Fleener said.
He added that "it's going to be an issue" in the trial.
Brownback did say that how evidence was obtained would be a factor in whether to admit such evidence and how to evaluate it.
After the hearing, US officers confirmed that the rules written for the newly created military tribunals, or commissions, left the question open. The rules also allow for hearsay evidence and other exceptions to standard US and international legal norms.
Asked about evidence secured through coercion, a spokeswoman for the military tribunals said the issue would be addressed by the officers presiding over each trial.
"I can't speculate on what a presiding officer is going to do in any situation," Major Jane Boomer told a news conference.
Defense lawyers, human rights groups and European governments have accused the United States of abusing and torturing detainees held at the "war on terror" prison at the Guantanamo Bay naval base in Cuba.
Brownback's comments are sure to reinforce concerns about how the US government treats and prosecutes detainees held as part of the "war on terror."
The US military has denied systematic torture has been employed and insisted that any isolated abuses have been punished.
Of some 500 detainees held at Guantanamo for more than four years, Bahlul is one of 10 detainees formally charged by US military tribunals.
Addressing the tribunal in a courteous, articulate manner, Bahlul said earlier he could not receive a fair trial if he was represented by a US citizen.
Bahlul said the impact of the September 11 attacks, which he said had left a "deep psychological scar," meant that no US lawyer would be able to argue effectively on his behalf.
It would be "impossible for the counsel to push aside his feelings as an American," said Bahlul, speaking through an interpreter.
He renewed his request to be allowed to represent himself, though tribunal rules require that he accept a US lawyer, and asked for an attorney from his native country.
He sought to clarify earlier comments that he was a member of Al-Qaeda, saying that he did not have anything to do with the attacks of September 11, 2001.
"I had no connection to the events of September 11," he said.
Prosecutors allege he served as a propaganda specialist and bodyguard for bin Laden in Afghanistan before he was captured in 2001 and transferred to the controversial US-run detention camp at the Guantanamo Bay US Naval Base in Cuba.
The presiding officer rejected Bahlul's request, saying he could have a foreign citizen as a legal adviser but that the tribunal rules barred him from representing himself.
After several hours, Bahlul chose not to return to the hearing following a recess.
The presiding officer said he would not order Bahlul to be forcibly taken to the tribunal if he refused to attend the hearing when it resumed on Thursday.
Fleener, the defense lawyer assigned to Bahlul, said it was "absurd" that Bahlul could not argue his own case. He cited US domestic and military law as well as the Nuremberg war crimes trials, which he said allowed for self-representation or for citizens of the same nationality to serve as defense lawyers.
23. February 2006
GUANTANAMO / USA
ein richter hat dem pentagon befohlen die namen der in guantanamo inhaftierten männernbis zum 3. märz für die nachrichtenargentur the assuciated press zu veröffentlichen.
der new yorker bezirksrichter ordnete in seinem urteil an das das verteidigungsministerium unzensierte abschriften der verhöre veröffentlicht.
bisher waren in den wenigen veröffentlichungen namen und adressen der z.t. seit 4 jahren inhaftierten männern zensiert.
das pentagon will keinen widerspruch gegen das urteil einlegen.
Judge orders U.S. to identify detainees
A U.S. federal judge ordered the Pentagon on Thursday to release the identities of hundreds of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay to The Associated Press, a move which would force the government to break its secrecy and reveal the most comprehensive list yet of those who have been held at the U.S. navy base in Cuba.
Some of the hundreds of prisoners in the war on terror being held at Guantanamo have been imprisoned as long as four years. Only a handful have been officially identified.
U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in New York City ordered the Defence Department to release uncensored transcripts of detainee hearings, which contain the names of prisoners in custody and those who have been held and later released. Previously released documents have had identities and other details blacked out.
The judge ordered the government to hand over the documents by March 3 after the Defence Department said Wednesday it would not appeal his earlier ruling in the lawsuit filed by the AP.
On Jan. 23, Rakoff ordered the military to turn over uncensored copies of transcripts and other documents from more than 550 military hearings for detainees at the prison camp.
U.S. authorities now hold about 490 prisoners at Guantanamo on suspicion of links to Al Qaeda or the Taliban. Most have been held without charges since the camp opened four years ago, prompting complaints from human rights groups and others.
"AP has been fighting for this information since the fall of 2004," said Dave Tomlin, assistant general counsel for the news organization.
"We're grateful to have a decision at last that keeping prisoner identities secret is against the public policy and the law of this country."
The military has never officially released the names of any prisoners, except the 10 who have been charged.
Most of those who are known emerged from the approximately 400 civil suits filed on behalf of prisoners by lawyers who obtained their names from family or other detainees, said Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York, which represents about 200 detainees.
"They have been very resistant to releasing the names," Ratner said.
"There are still people there who don't have a lawyer and we don't know who they are. They have disappeared."
The Defence Department earlier released transcripts after the AP filed suit under the Freedom of Information Act but the names and other details of prisoners were blacked out.
The Defence Department said it would obey the judge's order.
"The DOD will be complying with the judge's decision in this matter," said navy Lt.-Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon, a Pentagon spokesman.
Law experts said the case has wide-ranging implications.
"The government has tried to maintain Guantanamo as a black hole since they opened it," said Jonathan Hafetz of the New York University School of Law.
"This is bringing it within the mainstream of the justice system and says we're not going to have secret detentions at Guantanamo."
In his ruling last month, Rakoff rejected government arguments releasing the prisoners' names from 558 transcripts should be kept secret to protect their privacy and their families, friends and associates from embarrassment and retaliation.
The judge had given the government a month to decide whether to appeal and the U.S. Solicitor General decided not to pursue the case further, said Megan Gaffney, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York.
17 February 2006
UN report denounces US torture and calls for closure of Guantánamo prison camp
By Kate Randall
A United Nations investigation has found that the US is committing acts amounting to torture at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The report, released Thursday, is a stinging rebuke to the American government’s illegal practices, justified in the name of the so-called “war on terrorism.” The UN body is calling for the prison camp to be closed.
The probe was conducted by a five-member panel of the UN Commission on Human Rights. Its report says detainees at the US facility have been subjected to force-feeding, prolonged solitary confinement and other abuses, and have been denied the right to a fair trial, as well as religious freedom.
The UN panel rejects the legal arguments made by the US to justify its detention of prisoners as “enemy combatants,” and calls for the detainees to either be immediately released or brought to trial. It also calls for the US to revoke all special interrogation techniques authorized by the Defense Department.
In the view of the report’s authors, “The legal regime applied to these detainees seriously undermines the rule of law and a number of fundamental universally recognized human rights, which are the essence of democratic societies.”
The US government immediately attacked the report and made clear it had no intention of accepting its findings. The abusive and dismissive US response was an implicit affirmation that Washington did not consider itself in any way bound by the recommendations of the United Nations or any other international body or legal convention.
The Bush administration made no attempt to answer the comprehensive evidence of torture and mistreatment at Guantánamo set down in the panel’s 54-page report. A preliminary response to the report by Kevin Moley, permanent representative of the US to the UN, said US authorities “categorically object to most of [the report’s] content and conclusions as largely without merit and not based clearly in the facts.”
White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan repeated the Bush administration’s “we do not torture” line, adding, “These are dangerous terrorists that we’re talking about.” He dismissed the UN report as “a rehash” of past claims.
The report provides a chilling and detailed account of how the US is flouting international law and human rights standards. While drawing on the evidence gathered by previous human rights groups and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), it is the first report on Guantánamo by the UN Commission on Human Rights, the highest world body governing international human rights laws and treaties.
The report’s findings are based on interviews conducted by the UN panelists with former Guantánamo detainees, responses from lawyers acting on behalf of current detainees, reports prepared by NGOs, and other information available in the public domain, as well as a questionnaire filled out by US government authorities.
The report notes that US authorities failed to cooperate with the investigation, declining a request by the panel to speak personally with detainees at the prison camp. The five members of the commission had been requesting permission from the US to visit Guantánamo since 2002. Three were finally offered a visit last year, but turned down the offer in November when they were told that face-to-face interviews with the detainees would not be allowed.
Manfred Nowak, the UN special investigator on torture and one of the expert panel members, commented, “Fact-finding on the spot has to include interviews with detainees. What’s the sense of going to a detention facility and doing fact-finding when you can’t speak to the detainees? It’s just nonsense.”
The US has allowed only representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross to interview detainees, but the ICRC does not make its findings public, reporting only to US authorities.
Approximately 500 detainees are still imprisoned at Guantánamo. In total, more than 750 prisoners have been brought to the facility since January 2002, most of them rounded up in Afghanistan in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. But others thrown into the Guantánamo gulag were picked up in their homes or at other locations far away from any battlefield.
The UN panel dismissed US claims that the “war on terror” constitutes an armed conflict and said that there had been insufficient due process to determine that the detainees were “enemy combatants.” The report determined that the primary purpose of their confinement was for interrogation, not to prevent them from taking up arms against the US. It rejected as well the claim that the so-called war on terror exempts the US from international conventions on torture and civil and political rights.
The report also rejected one of the key contentions of US authorities in their operation of the prison camp—the claim that the camp is outside the legal jurisdiction of the United States and therefore not subject to American laws—noting that the “particular status of Guantánamo Bay under the international lease agreement between the United States and Cuba and under United States domestic law does not limit the obligations of the United States under international human rights law toward those detained there.”
The Guantánamo detainees, the panel concluded, should be afforded universally accepted legal and human rights, including “the right to challenge the lawfulness of the detention before a court... and the right to a fair trial by a competent, independent and impartial court of law,” as well as the presumption of innocence and protections against arbitrary detention and unjust punishment.
The Guantánamo detainees have been systematically denied these rights. The report notes: “At the time of writing (i.e., more than four years after detention at Guantánamo started), not a single habeas corpus petition has been decided on the merits by a United States Federal Court.”
The UN report also rejected the legality of the military order setting up Military Commissions (or tribunals)—“created ad hoc for Guantánamo detainees”—which it said “denies them the well-established procedures of ordinary civilian courts or military tribunals.”
In the section entitled “Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment,” the report exposes the systematic use of torture against Guantánamo detainees, and asserts that these methods have been authorized at the highest levels of government.
It cites the interrogation techniques authorized by US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on December 2, 2002.
* Interrogation for up to 20 hours
* The use of stress positions for four hours
* Solitary confinement for 30 days
* Hooding during transport and interrogation
* Deprivation of light and auditory stimuli
* Forced grooming (shaving of facial hair, etc.)
* Using detainees’ phobias (such as fear of dogs) to induce stress
On April 16, 2003, Rumsfeld authorized a new set of interrogation methods, which remain in force, including exposure to extreme temperatures, subjecting prisoners to unpleasant smells, reversing sleep cycles, and isolation.
It should be noted that the Bush administration and the US military contend that none of the above measures constitutes torture, and that the Guantánamo prisoners have been treated “humanely” at all times. It has denied, however, any access to the detainees—such as that requested by the UN body—that would result in public exposure of their treatment or conditions.
The report indicates three contexts in which excessive force has been routinely used against detainees: “during transportation, with regard to operations by the ‘Initial Reaction Forces’ (IRF), and by force-feeding during hunger strikes.” (The IRF is tasked by prison authorities as a first-response team.)
The UN panel cites photographic and video evidence documenting “that during transport and IRF operations, detainees [were] shackled, chained, hooded, forced to wear earphones and goggles. They also show beating, kicking, punching, but also stripping and force shaving by IRF where detainees resisted, which have been corroborated by testimonies of former detainees.”
There also have been consistent reports of the forcible return of prisoners to home countries where they face serious risk of torture. The report cites the case of detainee Al Qadasi, who was returned to Yemen in April 2004:
“According to his lawyer, [Mr. Al Qadasi] was not warned about his imminent return to Yemen and therefore had no possibility to appeal. In early April he received an injection against his will, which led to loss of consciousness and hallucinations. When he woke up several days later, he found himself in prison in Sana’a [Yemen], where he alleges he was beaten and deprived of food.”
The report’s section titled “Freedom of Religion or Belief and Religious Intolerance” notes instances where particularly degrading interrogation techniques were authorized for use against members of certain religions. These included “lap dances during interrogations” by female interrogators before prayer time, following which detainees were not allowed to wash themselves and subsequently were not able to pray.
The US government has itself identified five confirmed cases of mishandling of the Koran, including kicking and stepping on the book. Regulations currently in force allow for the removal of religious items, such as the Koran, constituting “an impermissible limitation on the right to freedom of religion or belief of detainees,” according to the UN report.
The UN panel also found that health professionals at Guantánamo Bay have systematically violated widely accepted ethical standards. These violations include: “(a) breaching confidentiality by sharing medical records or otherwise disclosing health information for purposes of interrogation; (b) participating in, providing advice for or being present during interrogations; and (c) being present during or engaging in non-consensual treatment, including drugging and force-feeding.”
US Defense Department policy allows health professionals to force-feed a detainee when they determine a hunger strike threatens his life or health. This stands in contradiction to the Declarations of Tokyo and Malta, which prohibit doctors from participating in force-feeding “provided the detainee is capable of understanding the consequences of refusing food.” The World Medical Association and the American Medical Association have endorsed the Declaration of Tokyo.
Force-feeding of hunger strikers has been one of the most brutal practices at the prison camp. According to a recent report in the New York Times, US military authorities have aggressively moved to put down a widespread hunger strike at Guantánamo through violent force-feeding and placing hunger-strikers in extended isolation.
In a desperate response to their indefinite detention and inhumane treatment, as many as 84 detainees were on hunger strike as recently as last December. In recent weeks, according to the Times, guards have been strapping hunger-strikers into “restraint chairs,” sometimes for hours on end, to force feed them through plastic tubes and prevent them from vomiting afterwards. The number of hunger-strikers has dropped to four in recent days, according to military officials.
Attorney Joshua Colangelo-Bryan said that one of his Bahraini clients, Jum’ah al-Dossari, told him that more than half of a group of 34 long-term hunger strikers ended their protest after being strapped in the restraint chairs and having the thick tubes inserted and removed so violently that some bled or fainted. Other detainees reported a substance being added to the feeding formula that resulted in the prisoners defecating on themselves while in the restraint chairs.
A Pentagon spokesman contended that the prison authorities were “not trying to reduce the hunger strike, but they are going to feed people to protect life.” He claimed the force-feeding was being administered in “a humane and compassionate manner.”
[ ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS, CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS
Situation of detainees at Guantánamo Bay
11. February 2006
Hungerstrike in Gunantanamo
[ Hungerstrike in Gunantanamo
22. January 2006
Alleged secret detentions in Council of Europe member states
Information Memorandum II
B. Steps taken to date
C. Criminal investigations and other reactions
a. Council of Europe member countries
ii. The more detailed cases of Italy and Switzerland
b. Debate in North America
D. Reminder: anti-terrorist action must respect human rights
E. Preliminary analysis of the information already obtained
a. Awareness of Council of Europe member states?
b. Extraordinary rendition and torture - a link known and accepted?
c. Secret detention centres
d. Kosovo and Chechnya
F. Looking ahead to the continuing investigation
[ download as pdf: Alleged secret detentions in Council of Europe member states
21. January 2006
Danish troops charged with abuse
A Danish army intelligence officer and four military police sergeants have been charged with mistreating Iraqi prisoners in southern Iraq last year.
Captain Annemette Hommel was charged with four counts of negligence while on duty in March, April and June 2004.
All five are accused of verbal abuse of detainees, denying them food and water, and forcing them to kneel in discomfort during interrogation.
Denmark has about 500 troops in southern Iraq, near Basra.
No date has been set for a trial. The defendants could face a year in jail if found guilty.
Capt Hommel, 37, who was ordered to return home from Iraq before her tour of duty ended, said she had done nothing wrong.
Last year, she said the allegations stemmed from a misunderstanding with the Palestinian translators working at the camp, who had objected to her interrogation techniques.
Jesper Helsoe, commander of the Danish armed forces, told Danish radio on Friday: "I will be the first person to apologise if the military has made mistakes, but the trial now has to take place. No one has been convicted yet."
Correspondents say the scandal shocked many in Denmark, where most people support their government's backing of the US-led coalition in Iraq.
Prozess ohne Strafe
Dänische Offiziere wegen Misshandlungen im Irak verurteilt
12. Januar 2006
Vier Offiziere des dänischen Kontingents im Irak sind wegen Menschenrechtsverletzungen schuldig gesprochen worden. Das Gericht verhängte jedoch keine Strafe, weil es die Armeeführung versäumt habe, klare Verhaltungsregeln für Verhöre zu erlassen.
HB KOPENHAGEN. Das Stadtgericht von Kopenhagen befand am Donnerstag, dass die Armeeoffizierin Annemette Hommel im Rang eines Hauptmanns und vier Offiziere der Polizei bei Verhören die Rechte von Gefangenen missachtet hätten. Das Gericht bezeichnete es als erwiesen, dass die Angeklagten Gefangene bei Verhören im März 2004 gezwungen hätten, in unbequemen Positionen zu knien. Dies sei ein Verstoß gegen die Genfer Konvention zur humanen Behandlung von Gefangenen.
Aus Mangel an Beweisen wurden die Offiziere in anderen Anklagepunkten freigesprochen. Dabei ging es um Vorwürfe, dass den Gefangenen Wasser vorenthalten worden sei und dass sie beschimpft worden seien. Die fünf Angeklagten erklärten sich für unschuldig und legten Berufung gegen das Urteil ein. Dänemark hat in der südirakischen Hafenstadt Basra 530 Soldaten stationiert.
Prügelverhöre in Camp Eden
Dänische OffizierInnen sollen irakische Gefangene misshandelt haben.
Am gleichen Tag, an dem in den USA die Anhörung der Soldatin Lynndie England wegen Foltervorwürfen in Abu Ghraib begann, bekam auch Dänemark seinen Folterskandal. Im dänischen Lager Camp Eden in der Nähe von Basra soll ebenfalls misshandelt und gefoltert worden sein. Nicht aus Spass und Langeweile - was England angeblich als Beweggrund genannt haben soll -, sondern um die Psyche widerspenstiger Gefangener zu brechen und sie zu Aussagen zu bringen. Im Mittelpunkt der Vorwürfe: eine 37-jährige Offizierin, deren Namen dänische Medien mit Annemette Hommel angeben.
Sie soll Gefangene in «schmerzhaften, stressenden und unbequemen Stellungen» gehalten, sie geschlagen und ihnen Wasser vorenthalten haben. Methoden, die auch in Abu Ghraib zur Anwendung gekommen waren. An die Öffentlichkeit gekommen waren diese Vorwürfe dadurch, dass ein ziviler Dolmetscher die Führung des dänischen Heeres über die Geschehnisse schriftlich informierte. Mehrere Soldaten, die Zeugen der Verhöre waren, sollen seine Angaben bestätigt haben.
Die militärische Führung des 496 Soldatinnen und Soldaten starken dänischen Bataillons von Camp Eden hatte zunächst nicht reagiert. Worauf Verteidigungsminister Søren Gade am Dienstagabend den Befehlshaber dieser Streitkräfte, Oberst Henrik Flach, sowie drei weitere führende Offiziere ihrer Posten enthob und sie nach Hause beorderte. Bereits am Freitag letzter Woche war die - bislang als einzige namentlich genannte - mutmassliche Täterin zurückberufen worden. Mittlerweile wurde auch ein Ermittlungsverfahren der Militärgerichtsbarkeit wegen «ungesetzlicher Verhörmethoden» in Gang gesetzt, das sich laut Staatsanwalt Benny Holm Frandsen vermutlich aber gegen mehr als eine Person richten werde, da offenbar mehrere Personen an den Verhören, die in einem Zelt stattfanden, teilgenommen hätten
Zur Absetzung der Truppenkommandeure erklärte Verteidigungsminister Gade, die bisherigen Ermittlungen hätten «erhebliche Zweifel an der Urteilskraft der Führung» ergeben. Was im Klartext nur bedeuten kann, dass dieser Führung die Vorfälle zumindest nicht unbekannt gewesen sein dürften, ohne dass sie aber angemessen darauf reagiert hätte - wenn sie sie nicht sogar sanktioniert oder veranlasst hatte. Der Verteidigungsminister versuchte einerseits klar zu machen, dass die Foltervorwürfe in Camp Eden nicht von dem Umfang und der Art seien wie in Abu Ghraib, stellte aber gleichzeitig fest: «Es gibt nicht verschiedene Grade von Menschenrechtsverletzungen. Ein Verstoss ist ein Verstoss.» Sollten die Vorwürfe stimmen, seien sie ein klarer Bruch der Genfer Konvention.
Rechtsanwalt Ebbe Mogensen, Verteidiger von Annemette Hommel, hielt es - ohne dies näher auszuführen - in einem TV-Interview am Dienstagabend nicht für ausgeschlossen, dass seine Mandantin als Sündenbock herhalten müsse. Hommel hat laut dänischen Medien eine staatswissenschaftliche Universitätsausbildung absolviert, war zeitweise im Aussenministerium angestellt und sei seit fünfzehn Jahren Offizierin. Die Kopenhagener Tageszeitung «EkstraBladet» beschreibt sie als eine der qualifiziertesten dänischen Militärangehörigen mit Spezialkompetenz «Ermittlungsarbeit», sie habe sich bei Verhörübungen als «ausgesprochener Hardliner» erwiesen: «Sie hat grosse Erfahrung damit, wie man Gefangene dazu bringt, in der Verhörsituation zusammenzubrechen und mehr als Namen, Rang, Geburtsdatum und Dienstnummer zu sagen.» Im Januar habe sie sich freiwillig zum Dienst in Camp Eden gemeldet.
Laut Informationen der Tageszeitungen «EkstraBladet» und «Politiken» ist noch mehr faul in der dänischen Irak-Truppe. Die jetzt in Gang gesetzten Ermittlungen würden sich auf «mehrere andere Vorfälle» erstrecken. Dänische Soldaten hatten in der Vergangenheit bei 28 ernsthaften Schusswechseln neun Iraker getötet und sechzehn verletzt. Besondere Aufmerksamkeit hatte im letzten Jahr die Tötung einiger Fischer erregt, welche angeblich auf ein Stoppzeichen hin nicht angehalten hatten und danach unter Feuer genommen wurden. Kopenhagen hatte diesen Vorfall mit grosszügiger Schadensersatzzahlung an die Angehörigen der Opfer «geregelt», eigene Soldaten oder Befehlshaber waren nicht zur Verantwortung gezogen worden. Es wird nun spekuliert, ob abgesprochene Aussagen strafbare Handlungen verdeckt haben könnten.
Wenn Militärchef Jesper Helsøe beteuert, man «werde alles tun, dass wir auch in Zukunft Respekt vor unseren dänischen Soldaten im Irak haben können», gleichzeitig aber zugesteht, «die Informationen, die wir jetzt haben, sind nicht mit dem dänischen Militär zu vereinbaren», ist die Bilanz von «EkstraBladet» vernichtend: «Für die meisten kommt das vielleicht als Schock, aber eigentlich hätten wir vorbereitet sein müssen.» Die Regierung habe es zugelassen, dass Dänemark in einen Krieg gezogen sei, der von Anfang an ein Sumpf aus Lügen und Verdrehungen gewesen sei. Die dänischen Truppen hätten spätestens nach den Bildern von Abu Ghraib abziehen sollen und müssten sich nun nicht wundern, selbst bis zum Hals in Foltervorwürfen zu stecken. Die Frage sei jetzt nur noch, ob es sich um persönliche Fehltritte oder um mehr handle: «Wie tief reicht die Fäulnis?»
11. January 2006
USA / GUANTANAMO
500 detainees at Guantánamo four years on
The human rights group Amnesty International marked the "fourth anniversary" of the first detainees arriving at Guantánamo Bay today by publishing more allegations of torture at the US detention centre.
Amnesty claimed more than 500 detainees were still being held there and again called for the closure of the prison camp at the US naval base in Cuba.
Cases highlighted by Amnesty to mark the anniversary included that of Jumah al-Dossari, who was moved out of segregation last month after attempting to hang himself during a visit by his lawyer.
Mr al-Dossari, a 32-year-old Bahraini, was picked up in Pakistan in late 2001 and has made a series of allegations that he was tortured in Guantánamo and, on the way there, at Kandahar airbase in southern Afghanistan.
His claims that he had his head repeatedly smashed against the floor, was urinated on and threatened with rape have been denied by the US government.
Amnesty also highlighted the case of Sami al-Hajj, a Sudanese cameraman who covered the Afghanistan conflict for the Arab television network al-Jazeera and was subsequently arrested in Pakistan.
His British lawyer, Clive Stafford-Smith, has claimed that Mr al-Hajj has been subjected to severe physical, sexual and religious abuse over the last four years.
Through its website campaign, Amnesty called on the public to petition the US president, George Bush, and attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, demanding fair trials or release for detainees.
"It is shocking that four years after the first prisoners were taken to Guantánamo not a single person has received a proper trial and that over 500 people are still being held, most without any charge or due legal process," said Stephen Bowen, the campaigns director of Amnesty International UK.
"There's no middle ground regarding Guantánamo. It must be closed and there must be an investigation into the dozens of torture reports that have emerged since 2002," he said.
Moazzam Begg, a British national who was released without charge from Guantánamo in January 2005, today issued a fresh condemnation of the continuing detentions at the camp.
"Guantánamo Bay has become a byword for all that is wrong with the US response to terrorism today, as well as an embarrassment for its allies," Mr Begg said. "Tony Blair has called it an 'anomaly that must come to an end', while Angela Merkel says the place 'should not exist'. But when exactly will this nightmare end?"
Amnesty International Media Release
4 years too many - New torture testimonies
For more information, please see:
Days of adverse hardship in US detention camps - Testimony of Guantánamo detainee Jumah al-Dossari
Who are the Guantánamo detainees?
Who are the Guantánamo detainees?
Sudanese national: Sami al Hajj
Who are the Guantánamo detainees?
Yemeni national: Abdulsalam al-Hela
[ More information on Guantánamo, including audiovisual resources:
11. January 2005
USA / GUANTANAMO
US holds new Guantanamo 'war on terror' trials
The United States will start new military trials of "war on terror" detainees at the Guantanamo Bay naval base, amid new criticism of the camp and its courts.
Accused Al-Qaeda propaganda expert Ali Hamza Ahmad al-Bahlul will be the first of two defendants to face hearings this week. He will be followed by Omar Khadr, a Canadian who was 15 when he was detained over the killing of a US soldier in Afghanistan.
Lawyers for the two have condemned the trials, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel made a veiled call for Guantanamo to be closed ahead of her visit to Washington this week.
US authorities continue to defend the holding of hundreds of detainees without charge at the camp as part of the "war on terror" declared after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
But some Guantanamo trials have been frozen by federal judges who are waiting for a Supreme Court ruling on the validity of the special tribunals created specifically to try "war on terror" suspects.
Bahlul, a Yemeni, was indicted in February 2004 for conspiracy in terrorist activities. According to the charge, Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden placed him in charge of producing videos to recruit and train new fighters.
The Yemeni created a stir at his first hearing in August 2004 by demanding to defend himself. He has refused to meet any American lawyer, military or civilian. The tribunals have so far rejected his request.
Major Thomas Fleener, an army reservist appointed to defend Bahlul, has said the Yemeni's request is legitimate.
"It's not outlandish to request the right to self-representation," said Fleener. The military lawyer told reporters he suspected Bahlul had only been refused because his request was considered "inconvenient".
Under tribunal rules, defendants are not allowed to be present when "classified" evidence is presented.
"To force my representation on Mr al-Bahlul may give the appearance to the outside world that I'm not here to serve as Mr al-Bahlul's attorney but rather simply to add some air of legitimacy to an otherwise wholly illegitimate process," said Fleener.
Khadr was detained in Afghanistan in July 2002 on allegations that he killed a US military medic with a hand grenade during a battle.
Muneer Ahmad, a law professor at American University in Washington, said Khadr should not be tried as an adult, since the alleged offence was committed when he was a minor.
Ahmad, part of the defense team, expressed concern at the inexperience of the military lawyer representing the teenager, who is now 19.
"He is represented by a 31-year-old army captain who has never represented a defendant at trial in his life, even for charges of jaywalking," said Ahmad. "It would be laughable if the stakes weren't so high."
"Through torture, abuse and three years of illegal detention, this government has robbed Omar of his youth," said Ahmad. "Now, they are demanding his appearance before a kangaroo court, wholly lacking in fundamental principles of due process."
Khadr was born in Toronto and raised in Pakistan. His father, who was killed by the Pakistani army in 2003, was considered a key financier of Bin Laden's network.
One of his brothers was arrested last month in Canada at the US government's request.
Colonel Morris Davis, the chief prosecutor at the military tribunals, defended the Guantanamo trials.
"We face an enemy like we've never faced before," he said. "Some say we are changing the rules as we go along, but the law has to adapt to today's environment. Al-Qaeda and the Taliban are enemies the law didn't contemplate.
"The prosecution team is committed to holding full, fair, open and transparent trials. We're here to prosecute the terrorists who attacked us, not to persecute any religious beliefs. We've got nothing to be ashamed of."
Only nine of the approximately 500 detainees held in Guantanamo have been formally charged.
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