Sunday, February 25, 2007
Of Torture By US And Israeli Forces
The following are testimonies given by Iraqis who were illegally apprehended and tortured by US forces. the testimonies were given at the Global Peace Organization in Perdana KL, Malaysia
The first testimony comes by Professor Ali Shalal, who was tortured at Abu Ghraib Prison, known to the World as the "man behind the hood".
I, Ali Sh. Abbas (alias Ali Shalal) of full age and an Iraqi citizen do hereby solemnly and sincerely declare as follows:
I am 45 years old. I now live in Amman, Jordan. I was an Islamic education lecturer in the city of Al-Alamiya, Iraq.
The purpose of making this statutory declaration is to put on record my torture experience in the Abu Ghraib prison.
On the 13th October, 2003 while I was going to prayer in the mosque in Al-Amraya, the American troops arrested me. They tied my hands to the back of my body and put a bag over my head. They took me to a small prison in a U.S. military camp in Al-Amraya.
The Commander of this military camp, one Captain Philips told me that he had received an order from his superior to arrest him and he did not know the reasons for my arrest. I was left alone in the prison.
After two days, they transferred me to the Abu Ghraib prison. The first thing they did to me was to make a physical examination of my body and abused me. Together with other detainees, we were made to sit on the floor and were dragged to the interrogation room. This so called room is in fact a toilet (approximately 2m by 2m) and was flooded with water and human waste up to my ankle level. I was asked to sit in the filthy water while the American interrogator stood outside the door, with the translator.
After the interrogation, I would be removed from the toilet, and before the next detainee is put into the toilet, the guards would urinate into the filthy water in front of the other detainees.
The first question they asked me was, "Are you a Sunni or Shiia?" I answered that this is the first time I have been asked this question in my life. I was surprised by this question, as in Iraq there is no such distinction or difference. The American interrogator replied that I must answer directly the questions and not to reply outside the question. He then said that in Iraq there are Sunnis, Shiias and Kurds.
The interrogators wore civilian clothes and the translator, an Afro-American wore American army uniform. When I answered that I am an Iraqi Muslim, the interrogator refused to accept my answer and charged me for the following offence:
(a) That I am anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic
(b) I supported the resistance
(c) I instigated the people to oppose the occupation
(d) That I knew the location of Osama bin Ladin
I protested and said that Muslims and Jews descended from the same historical family. I said that I could not be in the resistance because I am a disabled person and have an injured hand.
The interrogator accused me that I had injured my hand while attacking the American soldiers. The interrogator informed me that they knew that I was an important person in the community and therefore could help them. As an inducement for my cooperation, the interrogator offered medical help for my injured hand.
When I did not cooperate, the interrogator asked me whether I considered the American army as "liberator" or "occupier". When I replied that they were occupiers, he lost his temper and threatened me. He told me that I would be sent to Guantanamo Bay where even animals would not be able to survive.
They took me to another room and took record of my thumb print, a photo of my eye and a sample of my saliva for DNA analysis. After this procedure, they tagged me by putting a band round my wrist with the following particulars: my name, a number, my religious status and whether I had previous arrest. They then beat me repeatedly and put me in a truck to transfer me to another part of the Abu Ghraib prison.
This part of the prison, was in an open space and consisted of five sectors, surrounded by walls and barb wires and was called "Fiji Land". Each sector had five tents and surrounded by barb wires. When I was removed from the truck, the soldiers marked my forehead with the words "Big Fish" in red. All the detainees in this camp are considered "Big Fish". I was located in camp "B".
The living conditions in the camp were very bad. Each tent would have 45 to 50 detainees and the space for each detainee measured only 30cm by 30cm. We had to wait for 2 to 3 hours just to go to the toilets. There was very little water. Each tent was given only 60 litres of water daily to be shared by the detainees. This water was used for drinking and washing and cleaning the wounds after the torture sessions.
They would also make us to stand for long hours. Sometimes, as a punishment, no food is given to us. When food is given, breakfast is at 5.00 am, lunch is at 8.00 am and dinner at 1.00 pm. During Ramadhan, they bring food twice daily, first at 12.00 midnight and the second is given during fasting time to make the detainees break the religious duty of fasting.
During my captivity in the camp, I was interrogated and tortured twice. Each time I was threatened that I would be sent to Guantanamo Bay prison. During this period, I heard from my fellow detainees that they were tortured by cigarette burns, injected with hallucinating chemicals and had their rectum inserted with various types of instruments, such as wooden sticks and pipes. They would return to the camp, bleeding profusely. Some had their bones broken.
In my camp, I saw detainees brought over from a secret prison which I came to know later as being housed in the "Arabian Oil Institute" building, situated in the north of Baghdad. These detainees were badly injured.
After one month and just before sunset my number was called and they put a bag over my head and my hands were tied behind my back. My legs were also tied. They then transferred me to a cell.
When I was brought to the cell, they asked me in Arabic to strip but when I refused, they tore my clothes and tied me up again. They then dragged me up a flight of stairs and when I could not move, they beat me repeatedly. When I reached the top of the stairs, they tied me to some steel bars. They then threw at me human waste and urinated on me.
Next, they put a gun to my head and said that they would execute me there. Another soldier would use a megaphone to shout at me using abusive words and to humiliate me. During this time, I could hear the screams of other detainees being tortured. This went on till the next morning.
In the morning, an Israeli stood in front of me and took the bag from my head and told me in Arabic that he was an Israeli had interrogated and tortured detainees in Palestine. He told me that when detainees would not cooperate, they would be killed. He asked me repeatedly for names of resistance fighters. I told him that I do not know any resistance fighters but he would not believe me, and continued to beat me.
This Israeli dressed in civilian clothes tortured me by inserting in turn first with a jagged wooden stick into my rectum and then with the barrel of a rifle. I was cut inside and bled profusely. During this time, when any guard walked past me, they would beat me. I had no food for 36 hours.
The next morning, the Israeli interrogator came to my cell and tied me to the grill of the cell and he then played the pop song, "By the Rivers of Babylon" by Pop Group Boney M, continuously until the next morning. The effect on me was that I lost my hearing, and I lost my mind. It was very painful and I lost consciousness. I only woke up when the Israeli guard poured water on my head and face.
When I regain consciousness, he started beating me again and demanded that I tell him of the names of resistance fighters and what activities that I did against the American soldiers. When I told him that I did not know any resistance fighters, he kicked me many times.
I was kept in the cell without clothes for two weeks. During this time, an American guard by the name of "Grainer" accompanied by a Moroccan Jew called Idel Palm (also known as Abu Hamid) came to my cell and asked me about my bandaged hand which was injured before I was arrested. I told him that I had an operation. He then pulled the bandage which stained with blood from my hand and in doing so, tore the skin and flesh from my hands. I was in great pain and when I asked him for some pain killers, he stepped on my hands and said "this is American pain killer" and laughed at me.
On the 15th day of detention, I was given a blanket. I was relieved that some comfort was given to me. As I had no clothes, I made a hole in the centre of the blanket by rubbing the blanket against the wall, and I was able to cover my body. This is how all the prisoners cover their bodies when they were given a blanket.
One day, a prisoner walked past my cell and told me that the interrogators want to speed up their investigation and would use more brutal methods of torture to get answers that they want from the prisoners. I was brought to the investigation room, after they put a bag over my head. When I entered the investigation room, they remove the bag from my head to let me see the electrical wires which was attached to an electrical wall socket.
Present in the room was the Moroccan Jew, Idel Palm, the Israeli interrogator, two Americans one known as "Davies" and the other "Federick" and two others. They all wore civilian clothes, except the Americans who wore army uniforms. Idel Palm told me in Arabic that unless I cooperated, this would be my last chance to stay alive. I told him that I do not know anything about the resistance. The bag was then placed over my head again, and left alone for a long time. During this time, I heard several screams and cries from detainees who were being tortured.
The interrogators returned and forcefully placed me on top of a carton box containing can food. They then connected the wires to my fingers and ordered me to stretch my hand out horizontally, and switched on the electric power. As the electric current entered my whole body, I felt as if my eyes were being forced out and sparks flying out. My teeth were clattering violently and my legs shaking violently as well. My whole body was shaking all over.
I was electrocuted on three separate sessions. On the first two sessions, I was electrocuted twice, each time lasting few minutes. On the last session, as I was being electrocuted, I accidentally bit my tongue and was bleeding from the mouth. They stop the electrocution and a doctor was called to attend to me. I was lying down on the floor. The doctor poured some water into my mouth and used his feet to force open my mouth. He then remarked, "There is nothing serious, continue!" Then he left the room. However, the guard stopped the electrocution as I was bleeding profusely from my mouth and blood was all over my blanket and body. But they continued to beat me. After some time, they stopped beating me and took me back to my cell. Throughout the time of my torture, the interrogators would take photographs.
I was then left alone in my cell for 49 days. During this period of detention, they stopped torturing me. At the end of the 49th day, I was transferred back to the camp, in tent C and remained there for another 45 days. I was informed by a prisoner that he over heard some guards saying that I was wrongly arrested and that I would be released.
I was released in the beginning of March 2004. I was put into a truck and taken to a highway and then thrown out. A passing car stopped and took me home. As a result of this experience, I decided to establish an association to assist all torture victims, with the help of twelve other tortured victims.
I feel very sad that I have to remember and relive this horrible experience again and again, and I hope that the Malaysian people will answer our call for help. God willing.
And I make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing the same to be true and by virtue of the provisions of the Statutory Declarations Act 1960.
The second testimony if from a Fallujan engineer tortured during the war crimes that occured in fallujah in 2005
I, Abbas Z. Abid (Iraqi Passport No: S379532) of full age and an Iraqi citizen do hereby solemnly and sincerely declare as follows:I am 43 years old.
2. I live in Fallujah, a city in Iraq.
3. I am an Electrical Engineer. Prior to my arrest and detention, I was the Chief Engineer in the Science and Technology Ministry in Baghdad.
4. The purpose of making this statutory declaration is to put on record my torture experience when I was detained in the “Al-Jadiria” prison.
5. This was originally an underground shelter, but was converted into a secret prison.
6. On the evening of 28th of August 2005, about 10pm, a combined force of American forces and National Guards launched a raid on my brother's house. The force consisted of four American Humvees filled with American soldiers and twelve trucks loaded with Iraqi soldiers. More than 15 American and Iraqi soldiers entered the house in a terrifying manner.
7. My nephews came to my house crying for my help as my brother was not at home that night. I stay nearby my brother.
8. I went to my brother's house and welcomed the soldiers and introduced my self as the chief engineer in the Science and Technology Ministry, and told them that my brother is not available for the time being and that I'm ready to answer any questions. They told me that they're searching the house for incriminating evidence. And when not finding anything illegal in the house, the Commander turned to a table in the living room that was used for studying by my nephews
9. He began to search the table and asked, “Why so many holy books? It's just too many!” I told him that every one in the family has his own holy book. He then examined some papers on the table which were articles downloaded from the internet from various sites - some referred to the violence in Iraq, the future of Iraq and some referred to political figures like Ahmed Al-Jalaby. The Commander asked, “What is this?” and since I didn't know the contents of those papers, I took a quick look at them and told him that they are various articles concerning the situation in Iraq. He said, “I'll take them and show them to my superiors.” He took the articles and the five holy books on the table and left the house.
10. At the front door one of his soldiers whispered something in his ears so he came back and asked me, “What kind of a car is your brother driving?” “Where is it now?” I told him that it is an Opel Omega and it's in our father's garage. The Commander then told me that he wanted to check my father’s house.
11. They searched and found nothing in my father’s house. The soldiers then told me that I was to follow them for further questioning.
12. I was first brought to the Al-Muthanna Brigade Head-Quarters for questioning. They beat me up and demanded to know the names of “terrorists” in my neighbourhood. I told them that I did not know any terrorists. But they did not believe me and continue to beat me. They even electrocuted me and threatened to shoot me. The American took part in the torture and would provide beer to the investigators and guards. I know this because I can hear and understand English.
13. Soon after my detention, the son of my cousin was also detained and he was tortured in order to get a testimony against me. He was released after 18 days of torture and after he had made a false statement against me.
14. I was detained at the Al-Muthana Brigade HQ for four weeks and then transferred to the Al-Jadiria prison. The following detainees were transferred with me:
Hameed Kameel Shared
Basim Hammed Khalaf
15. There, I was again tortured. My torture consisted of the following:
a. Hitting with various tools (thick cudgels, cables, metal pipes, metal ribbons);
b. Electric shocks in various parts of the body and especially the penis;
c. Forcing me to drink allot of water mixed with a diuretic solution, and my penis then tied with a rubber band to prevent me from urinating;
d. Hanging me from the wall while hanging weights from my penis for long hours;
e. Threaten to sexually assault me;
f. Play with my sexual organs;
g. Frightening me by shooting a gun around, near and above my head;
h. Threaten to sexually abuse my wife and my mother after bringing them to the prison;
i. Cut off all food or drinks (except the water I was forced to drink with the diuretic solution) during the investigation period;
j. Forcefully extracting my finger nails;
k. Hanging me from the wall for long hours until I fainted - the hanging method is by handcuffing my hands to the back and then hang me up from the handcuffed hands so that my shoulder get dislocated;
l. Hanging me from the wall and then hitting me with several tools of torture until the hand-cuffs breaks. That happened many times;
16. Other detainees suffered from the following tortures:
a. Forcing detainees to have sex with other inmates;
b. Their bodies being drilled with a “Black & Decker” drill;
c. Cutting pieces of flesh from the body with a grinding machine;
d. Burning various parts of the bodies with cigarettes and melted nylon;
e. Inserting solid objects in the rectum with wooden sticks, pipes and a vacuum cleaner hose pipe;
f. Make to stand for long hours.
17. I was forced to sign a statement without reading or knowing what's in it because they put a bag over my head. This they do to all prisoners.
18. I was then thrown in the corridor with the bag over my head for long hours. I was then moved to a small room ( 2.5m by 2.5m) together with 30 other detainees; then after three days I was moved to another nearby room (7m by 3.5m) and there were about 70 detainees there. The numbers increased afterwards and reached about 115 in that room.
19. They put the bag over my head for over two months and only remove it when I am given food. Some prisoners would have the bag over their head for over five months. I've seen many unbelievable things in that room such as follows:
a. There was not enough room for everybody, so the detainees were sitting and sleeping over each other and most of them suffered from burns and frictions and severe wounds, some of them were infected with contagious diseases like TB and scabies.
b. Everybody used to urinate in plastic bottles placed near the door. Visits to the toilet are made once every 4 days.
c. We were separated in groups of 15 detainees. A detainee is allowed only 1 minute in the WC and then he had to leave to let another one in. On any other occasion during the four days intervals, we have to discharge our human waste in the plastic bags given to us and right in front of everybody. These bags were used to bring food and we kept them for this purpose. These toilet bags were placed near the plastic bottles at the door. Because it is so crowded, the bottles and bags get knocked over and the waste would be spread all over the room. Those bottles and bags were emptied once every four days when we went to the WC. Whenever we went to the WC and on our return, we would be beaten by the guards.
d. The guards would offer inducements to convince some of the detainees to report on other detainees about what they know or hear or think and they would sometimes make up stories about their fellow detainees to avoid the torture.
e. Detainees who have names like “Omar”, “Baker”, “Marwan” which indicate that they are Sunnis, would receive particular attention from the guards who would yell at them and calling them “son of a bitch”, “bastard” and other humiliating terms.
f. No medical care was available at all, and detainees were left to die from their injuries caused by torture. While I was at the prison, the following detainees died, namely:
Alaa Khareeb Hassan
Omar Ali Mohammed
Khalid Younis Muhseen
Ali Farhan Mohamed
Waheed Mahmoud Abdullah
20. Each group of five detainees was given a 2ltr bottle of water once every 2-3 days; When thirst became unbearable, some of the detainees drunk from the urine bottles in the room.
21. Some of the guards in this prison have mobile phones with tones and songs in the Iranian language and they would talk in a language which I do not understand.
22. Even though the Al-Jadiria prison is under the control of the Minister of Interior, American troops have visited the prison many times and therefore cannot deny the existence of such a prison. Yet in the media, they deny knowing it and deliberately try to give the impression that in this prison, only Iraqis soldiers are torturing fellow Iraqis to distract attention from the tortures in Abu Ghraib.
23. On the 5th of September 2006 I was brought to a court, and the judge ruled that I should be set free for the lack of evidence.
24. I was released on the 2nd of October 2006 with three of my inmates, one of them was Syrian. At the prison's gate my brother was waiting for me in his car and he hired a group of police officers to secure me and to ensure that I reached home safely. I asked my inmates to come with us but they refused. Two cars followed us, a BMW and a Toyota Crown both with black windows. But we were able to evade them.
25. Later, I found out that the inmates who were released with me were killed and buried in (Al-Najaf) cemetry and their parents had to pay huge sums of money to reclaim their bodies from Najaf for re-burial in Baghdad.
26. I stayed about an hour in my house and then moved to another house to stay for a few days. I then left my beloved country.
And I make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing the same to be true and by virtue of the provisions of the Statutory Declarations Act 1960.
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