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Composite statement:

Detention in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay

by Shafiq Rasul, Asif Iqbal and Rhuhel Ahmed

 

Centre for Constitutional Rights, NY, http://www.ccr-ny.org/ , 26 July 2004
www.globalresearch.ca 25 August 2004
 
the pdf version of this report can be consulted at
http://www.ccr-ny.org/v2/reports/docs/Gitmo-compositestatementFINAL23july04.pdf

The URL of this article is: http://globalresearch.ca/articles/RAS408A.html


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1. All three men come from Tipton in West Midlands, a poor area with a small

community of Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin. The school all three attended is

considered one of the worst in England. Rhuhel Ahmed and Asif Iqbal who are now

both aged 22 were friends from school, although one year apart. Neither was

brought up religiously but each was drawn towards Islam. Shafiq Rasul is now aged

27 and had a job working at the electronics store, Currys. He was also enrolled at

the University of Central England.

2. This statement jointly made by them constitutes an attempt to set out details of their

treatment at the hands of UK and US military personnel and civilian authorities

during the time of their detention in Kandahar in Afghanistan in late December 2001

and throughout their time in American custody in Guantanamo Bay Cuba. This

statement is a composite of the experiences of all 3. They are referred to throughout

by their first names for brevity. There is far more that could be said by each, but

that task is an open-ended one. They have tried to include the main features.

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Detention in Afghanistan

3. All three men were detained in Northern Afghanistan on 28 November 2001 by

forces loyal to General Dostum. They were loaded onto containers and transported

to Sherbegan prison. The horrors of that transportation are well documented

elsewhere and are not described in detail here.

4. According to information all three were given later, there were US forces present at

the point they were packed into the containers together with almost 200 others. Asif

became unconscious and awoke to find that in an attempt to allow air into the

containers Dostum’s forces had fired machine guns into the sides of the containers.

Asif was struck in the arm by a bullet as a result. The journey to Sherbegan took

nearly 18 hours and the containers were not opened until they reached the prison.

All three men remained in the containers amongst the dead and dying throughout

this time. Asif reports that to get water he had to lick the side of the container or

wipe a cloth on the top of the container where the condensation had collected and

squeeze the drips of water into his mouth. On arrival at Sherbegan of the 200

originally in the container only 20 were alive, some of them seriously injured.

3

Sherbegan Prison

5. This prison is an old fortress, a court yard surrounded by buildings open to the air.

The 3 men were held in a room approximately 10m by 10m in which 70 men were

held. After several days they were moved to another much smaller room with about

30 others.

6. Conditions in Sherbegan were appalling, Asif says; ‘in the first week the only food

we got was a tiny portion of bread per day and a very small amount of water.

This was to last us the whole day’. When the Red Cross arrived, after about a

week, some more food was provided and also blankets. Shafiq was given plastic

sandals at this point but Rhuhel and Asif were barefoot (their boots having been

stolen by Dostum’s forces). Asif had a ‘Kameez’ or traditional Pakistani top and

jogging bottoms. Shafiq and Rhuhel each had a thin Kameez and Pakistani trousers

known as ‘shalwar’. These were thin summer clothes and provided no protection

agains t the freezing weather, it being now December.

7. After one Red Cross visit a lorry load of grain was left to feed them which was

however stolen by Dostum’s forces. The prisoners had, in consequence less food

than they had previously. It was at this point that conditions sharply deteriorated.

Shafiq says that, ‘we all had body and hair lice. They were big and would bite. I

still have the scars from their bites on my body. We all got dysentery and the

toilets were disgusting. It was just a hole in the ground with shit everywhere.

The whole prison stank of shit and unwashed bodies’. After the food rations

were reduced the prisoners started fighting over food. Rhuhel says ‘I was asleep

and got up to pray. There was also food being distributed. I got my piece and

there was a piece missing and someone accused me of having a piece extra

and he attacked me’.

8. Whilst in Sherbegan Asif’s arm which had been injured in the container became

infected but he was given no medical treatment other than some iodine and gauze.

4

9. They were held in Sherbegan for approximately 30 days during which the Red

Cross saw them. They gave their names and asked for families in England to be

contacted. Asif says ‘ the Red Cross told us that they had contacted the British

Embassy in Islamabad, P akistan and that the Embassy officials would be

coming to see us on Friday. In fact on that day (28th December 2001) it was US

Special Forces who arrived at the prison’.

10. After their identities were revealed to the US forces, they were woken up one

morning by the guards in Sherbegan and together with other "foreigners" they were

herded towards the main gates. The weather was freezing. Shafiq says ‘I had a

pair of flimsy shoes supplied by the Red Cross but no socks. At this time I

was extremely weak. I was suffering from dysentery and my clothes were

extremely thin and provided very little protection from the weather. We were

all covered in hair and body lice and I had not washed for at least 6 weeks and

I was filthy’.

11. As they stood at the main gate, US Special Forces personnel surrounded them

pointing their guns. One by one they were stripped of all their clothes despite the

freezing temperature. They stood there naked, being held by two of the Special

Forces soldiers whilst their pictures were taken. They were searched and after

about five minutes, they were allowed to put their clothes back on but were already

suffering from the effects of the cold.

12. Shafiq says ‘I was very weak. I had not eaten for at least two days and only a

little water in the morning’. All three believed that ‘"the British officials" would

arrange for us to be taken out of the prison and possibly sent back to the UK

even if that meant being interrogated by British officials’.

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First interrogation by U.S Army

13. After the search the men were taken into a room within the grounds of the prison.

This location is best described as a shed and it offered very little protection from the

cold. Shafiq describes the interrogations as follows, ‘My hands and feet were tied

with plastic cuffs. The room was about 5 foot by 5 foot and as I was dragged

in, soldiers forced me onto my knees in front of an American soldier in

uniform. There were no tables or chairs in the room. The soldier did not

identify himself to me but straight away starte d asking questions. Whilst I

was in this position, one of the soldiers who had come in with me stood in the

corner of the room with a machine gun pointed at me. He said if you move that

guy over there (with the gun) will shoot you. The American interrogator asked

my name, where I was from and what I was doing in the prison. I was so weak

that I was barely able to walk and had difficulty concentrating on the

questions, but I answered as well as I could in the circumstances. The

interview lasted about 10 m inutes and was conducted in English. I think there

were interpreters for some of the other foreign detainees. At the end of the

interview I was asked how I was feeling, and I told the interrogator that I was

scared. He said that this was nothing compared with what they could do to

me’.

14. Asif says of this first interrogation ‘the soldier did not identify himself to me but

straight away started asking questions. Whilst I was in this position there was

a soldier in the room standing right next to me holding a black 9mm automatic

pistol to my temple. The barrel of the pistol was actually touching my temple ’.

15. After the interrogation they were all placed outside the shed side by side. As soon

as they walked out of the shed, an American soldier put a sandbag on their head

and then wrapped thick masking tape around their head, to further cover their eyes.

Asif says that ‘despite this, it was just about possible to see underneath the

masking tape and through the sand bag that was being used as a hood if you

angled your head correctly. It was obviously impossible to properly

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distinguish between people and identify features, but I could roughly

distinguish figures’. After the hood was placed on their head they were sat outside

in the main yard against the wall. They were all sitting side by side in the freezing

cold. They estimate that there were approximately 30 to 50 prisoners, all of whom

were non Afghani.

16. The Special Forces were standing in a semi circle in front of them. They had to wait

until all of the detainees were interrogated and for the Americans to bring transport

to the prison. This meant that they were sitting with no shoes or socks, in flimsy

clothes and legs and arms tied with tight plastic cuffs for at least three to four hours.

17. Rhuhel says ‘I think we were all suffering from the cold, dehydration, hunger,

the uncertainty as well as the pain caused by the plastic ties. Added to this,

periodically Special Forces soldiers would walk along a line of sitting

detainees and kick us or beat us at will ’. Asif adds that ‘they would abuse us in

English, constantly swearing and threatening us. I recall that one of them

said "you killed my family in the towers and now it’s time to get you back".

They kept calling us mother fuckers and I think over the three or four hours

that I was sitting there, I must have been punched, kicked, slapped or struck

with a rifle butt at least 30 or 40 times. It came to a point that I was simply too

numb from the cold and from exhaustion to respond to the pain’.

18. Eventually large trucks were brought up to the prison. Still hooded they could not

see the trucks but could distinguish the distinctive sound they make. They were

picked up one by one and thrown in. It was impossible to walk because of the

plastic ties around their legs so they were dragged everywhere. As they did not

have any shoes or socks, this meant that the ground would scrape the skin off their

feet. When they were thrown into the lorry, there was somebody else in there that

grabbed them who dragged them in. They were not allowed to talk or communicate

in any way.

19. They were driven for about 45 minutes until they arrived at what they now know was

an airport. Whilst in the truck, they could distinguish flashes of light which they

7

recognized to be from a camera/flash. Shafiq says ‘I believe they were constantly

taking photographs of us. I can’t imagine these photographs were for

identification purposes because of the hoods we were wearing, or to provide

evidence that they were not maltreating us, because the abuse we were

suffering was serious. I think, in light of what I now know that these

photographs were trophies’.

20. When they got to their destination, they could hear the soldiers talking about "birds"

arriving at 18.00 hours. They had to wait in the truck at the airport for some time.

Shafiq says ‘Asif and I were taken on the first plane. We did not know where we

were being taken. I was not allowed to use the toilet, or given any food, extra

clothes or water. Throughout this time we still had the hoods on which made

the experience even more terrifying. The plane itself was I believe a large

cargo plane. It had hooks on the floor and they sat us down attaching each of

us to some form of metal belt. The belt was then attached to a chain on either

side and also padlocked to the floor. Because our hands were tied behind us

and our legs were still tied in plastic cuffs, we had to keep our legs straight

out in front of us. In normal circumstances this position would have been

difficult to maintain for any length of time. Given that I was extremely weak

and that I was suffering from dysentery, dehydration, hunger and exhaustion

it was impossible to maintain this position for more than a few minutes at a

time. If however I leant back or tried to move, I would be struck with a rifle

butt. These blows were not designed to prevent us from falling back or to

adjust our position, they were meant to hurt and punish us’.

21. All three men explain the aircraft was freezing. Whilst the three men were not

suffering from any major injuries (other than Asif’s infected arm), there were others

on the plane, including amputees and the victims of bombing raids, who were

extremely unwell and yet had to maintain this position with the constant threat of

being struck by rifle butts or kicked and beaten by the soldiers. Rhuhel says ‘I took

the last plane. The conditions in my plane were same as those described by

Shafiq’.

8

Arrival in Kandahar

22. The plane eventually landed in Kandahar and as they were being taken off, each

detainee was taken to the side of the plane and in front of the engines. Shafiq says

The cargo plane had no heating and given the flimsy clothes we were wearing

I believe I was close to hypothermia. My feet were still tied with the plastic

cuffs, and therefore once again we were dragged out of the plane and in front

of the engines. I believe the reason we were placed in front of the engines

was to try and heat us up’.

23. After this a rope was tied around their right arm and even though they were wearing

a hood they understood that this rope was then connected to the man behind and

the man in front. The rope was extremely thin and bit deep into their arm.

24. After the ropes were placed on their arms, they had to walk for nearly an hour. They

believe they were actually walking around in circles rather than heading straight for

their destination. Their feet were bound with plastic ties and so they could only

shuffle. If the man in front or behind went too fast or too slow the rope would

become taut and dig into their arm. This together with the pain of shuffling, in bare

feet (and in the freezing cold) on the gravel, made this walk unbearable.

25. The hood and blindfold were still in place when they arrived at their destination, and

all of them had deep cuts on their feet and rope burns on their right arm.

26. Asif says ‘We were eventually herded into a tent and the rope was removed. I

knew it was a tent because I couldn’t feel the wind. We were made to kneel

with our legs underneath us and our foreheads resting o n the ground. Our

hands were tied behind us as were our feet’. Shafiq adds that ‘in normal

circumstances, it might have been possible to keep my head one or two

centimeters above the ground so that the sand and stones on the ground

didn’t dig into my head. By this time however I was so weak that I simply

sunk forward and my head landed on the ground quite heavily. As I was in

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this position the sand and stone was cutting into my forehead and so

occasionally I tried to lift my head to get some relief. Each time I would do

this I was hit or assaulted in some way. My head was forced down on one

occasion with a rifle butt. The soldier didn’t stop when my head hit the

ground but continued pushing down. On another occasion someone came up

and pulled the plastic ties around my ankle which caused my legs which were

folded under me to straighten, this meant my face and chest hit the ground

heavily’.

27. They found out later that at this time the Americans were processing them and they

were eventually given plastic wrist bands with numbers on them. Shafiq says ‘I was

number 78. As I was lying on the ground, two soldiers came up and carried

me outside. They then laid me on the floor and started searching me. I still

had my clothes on at this point. One of them kicked me a few times, as a

result of which I suffered a lot of bruising. Whilst I was being searched, one

of the soldiers would kneel on my back and the other carried out the search.

After my search, I was taken to another tent. I still had the hood on a nd as I

was taken to this tent, they were asking me "where are you from" and also

they kept asking me what I was "doing in Afghanistan". In the tent, they cut

off my clothes and they then carried out a "forced cavity search", but this

took place with the hood still on my head and I was terrified and humiliated’.

28. After this tent, Shafiq was taken by the soldiers who were carrying a blanket and

clothes (though he had to walk naked) through a maze made out of barbed wire.

Even the doors in the maze were made of barbed wire. If he tripped or slipped,

which was likely given how exhausted he was, the wire would cut him. This barbed

wire maze was in the open air.

29. Asif and Rhuhel describe the same treatment and all three eventually found

themselves in a large hanger where they stayed over-night. In relation to the

processing carried out by the American personnel Asif adds that he saw a doctor in

the tent, ‘I showed him my arm and he said that it was infected. He put some

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sort of a plastic bandage on it. I also told him about my feet which were badly

cut up. He looked at them and then said "you’ll live"’.

30. They had still not been given food or water. Shafiq says ‘ I was totally dehydrated,

exhausted and suffering from the effects of malnutrition, dysentery and the

beatings. Despite this I was called for interrogation by somebody shouting

out my number. I had a sack placed on my head and for the first time, I was

placed in shackles. These were not the "three piece suits" (see below) used

in Guantanamo, but leg irons and handcuffs. I was taken into the interview

room bent double with the sack on my head. I had received a change of

clothes at this stage and was wearing a thin shalwar kameez which is a type

of clothing commonly worn in Pakistan’. Asif and Rhuhel describe the same

treatment.

11

Interrogation at Kandahar

31. When they got into the interrogation tent, the hood was taken off and they were told

to sit on the floor. There was a table in the middle of the tent with two men behind

it. There was also a soldier with a gun standing behind them. All three were told

forcefully that if they moved they would be shot. Shafiq says ‘ I was questioned for

about half an hour. I could see four water bottles sitting on the table and I

said I needed water. One of the interrogators told me that he did not have any

despite the fact that I could see the bottles sitting in front of him. He told me

that if I cooperated I would get some water later ’.

32. They all answered the questions put to them truthfully. The bulk of each interview

was about their backgrounds including address, telephone number etc. After this

they were photographed and had their fingerprints and DNA taken. The DNA

included a swab from their mouth as well as hairs plucked from their beard.

33. After the first interrogation by the Americans, they were taken to an open tent (with

the sides open to the elements) and given a blue jump suit. They were also given a

couple of crackers each and some peanut butter and at this point the Americans

started to insist that they drink a lot of water.

34. The first interrogations were done in English by the Americans. None of the

interrogators identified themselves to the detainees.

35. Asif explains that his second interview was also with an American but on this

occasion he was badly beaten by his interrogator and the guard, He states that, ‘My

second interview took place a couple of days later. I was taken away from the

others, with my hood on and walked (bent double) by some soldiers to a tent.

An American came into the tent and shouted at me telling me I was Al-Qaeda.

I said I was not involved in Al-Qaeda and did not support them. At this, he

started to punch me violently and then when he knocked me to the floor

started to kick me around my back and in my stomach. My face was swollen

12

and cut as a result of this attack. The kicks to my back aggravated the

injuries I had received from the soldier striking me with a rifle butt. After a few

moments the guards dragged me back to the tent. Whilst he was attacking

me, the interrogator didn’t ask me any other questions but just kept swearing

at me and hitting me’.

36. After about one week when they had been interrogated several times by American

military personnel they were each separately brought in to be questioned by a

British soldier.

13

Interrogation by British Army

37. Their first contact with British military personnel was whilst held in the US prison

camp in Kandahar. The interrogator was wearing a maroon beret. He told them that

he was from the SAS. Throughout this interrogation as well as the earlier ones, the

hood was removed.

38. Shafiq describes being brought into a tent by two US soldiers first thing in the

morning. He had very thin clothes on and was freezing. He had a sandbag placed

over his head which was removed once inside the tent. He was handcuffed from

behind and had leg irons on. One of the US soldiers had his arm round his neck and

was saying "wait until you get back to the tent you will see what we are going to do

to you". The British officer produced two le tters. He said one was from Scotland

Yard and the other from Interpol.

39. There were a number of names on a list. Shafiq was able to see the letters, only

briefly before they were pulled away. He says that the letter claimed that 16 hours

after he had left home for Pakistan his house was raided. Shafiq knew this wasn’t

true as he had phoned home from Pakistan shortly after his arrival and no mention

had been made of such a raid. The SAS man went on to say that he had a report

that Shafiq was a member of the Al Muhajeroon (this is not true). He went on to

suggest that Shafiq had attended a march in London on September 19th (just after

the September 11th attacks) and that he had been recruited to join them.

40. Rhuhel says that he was taken before the British officer and interrogated for about 3

hours. He said that one of the U.S. soldiers had a gun to his head and he was told

that if he moved they would shoot him. The SAS officer said, "You are funded by the

Al Muhajeroon to fight." He was told to admit that he came to Afghanistan for holy

"jihad".

41. He was questioned as to how he paid for his ticket. The SAS man also mentioned

three maximum security prisons in Britain, including Belmarsh, and said that he

14

would be sent there. When he was taken back from there the soldiers forced his

head right down and threw him on the floor, forced to his knees with his head forced

onto the ground and hands pulled up backwards, forcing his head right down into

the broken glass and stones on the ground. When he screamed, the force was

increased. The floor consisted of sand, broken glass and stones and Rhuhel’s

hands were cuffed at the back and his feet were shackled.

42. Asif also was told that he would be going to one of the three maximum security

prisons back in England. He says that prior to being questioned by the British

soldier he had been interrogated by US soldiers on two occasions in Kandahar and

one in Sherbegan. The SAS officer asked him to set out his story and he was asked

for a description of the area where he lived in E ngland.

43. He was taken back to see the British SAS officer a second time the following day.

He was told that "your friends have confessed to being members of the Al

Muhajeroon". He asked him to admit that he was also a member. He showed him a

list of names and suggested that a particular doctor from the Central Mosque in

Birmingham paid for him to go out to fight in Afghanistan. The SAS man then left the

tent and the U.S. soldiers roughed him up again (as Rhuhel has also described).

Asif was taken on a third day again to see the British SAS officer and was told that

he hadn’t told the truth. He was then threatened that because he wasn’t telling the

truth he would go straight back to England and be placed in Belmarsh or one of the

other high security prisons. Asif thinks that the first time that he was questioned was

for about 6 or 7 hours, the second time for about 2 hours and the third time for about

40 minutes. On the first occasion he was told by the SAS man that he was not going

to be beaten ‘because you are with me’.

44. Asif says ‘ I was told of maximum security prisons in the United Kingdom,

including Belmarsh. The British officer told me that within a few weeks I

would probably be taken there to be tried’.

15

Removal from Kandahar

45. Shafiq says ‘I was at the Kandahar camp for just less than two weeks. During

that period I was interrogated about four times. We slept in a tent. I was in a

tent with Rhuhel but Asif was in a different tent. There were about 20 of us in

each tent. The tents were surrounded by barbed wire. We had to sleep straight

on the ground, on the gravel. We were not allowed to talk and as Rhuhel

explains (see below) they were deliberately stopping us from sleeping.

Around midnight, probably on the 12th or 13th January 2002, US Army men

came in and everyone in the tent was told to move to the back. They then

shouted out three numbers. They called out my number (78) and I was taken

out after the other two. It was raining and absolutely freezing cold. By this

stage I was wearing the blue cotton b oiler suit that we’d all been given and

sandals. I was made to lie on the ground face down. A sergeant put his knee

on my back and a soldier put shackles on my wrists and on my ankles. Then a

rice sack was placed over my head. The sack was made from very coarse

material and there were no holes to see through. I was then led about 300 to

400 yards with one guard abusing me and swearing at me. When we stopped

the other guard, for no reason, hit me on the back of my head with a hand

gun. I had been taken to another tent where I remained to sleep that night (the

shackles and sacks were removed). There were about 20 people in that tent.

The tent had a wooden floor although it had got wet from the rain. There was

no bed or mattress or anything’.

46. In the morning all the prisoners in this tent were made to sit at the back of the tent

and one by one their numbers were called out. They did not have any idea what

was going on. Again, the same procedure was adopted, they were brought out and

made to lie on the ground and shackled with a rice sack placed over their heads.

This time Shafiq says ‘I had to run as fast as I could with my legs shackled and I

was bent over with a sack over my head. We were taken to another tent. There

they cut off all my clothes and forcefully shaved our beards and heads. I was

taken outside. I was completely naked with a sack on my head and I could

16

hear dogs barking nearby and soldiers shouting "get ‘em boy". Although I

couldn’t see I had a sense that there were a lot of soldiers around. I was taken,

still naked with a sack on my head, to another tent for a so called cavity

search. I was told to bend over and then I felt something shoved up my anus. I

don’t know what it was but it was very painful. I was then taken over to

another part of the tent where the head sack was removed and photographs

were taken of me. I think they were head and shoulder, full face and profile.

After the photos I was given an orange uniform, of polyester trousers and t -

shirt. Then new chains were put on. These were handcuffs connected to a box

that was held in between our wrists and from this box another chain went

around the waist and then a different chain came down to other cuffs which

were placed around our ankles. They were on extremely tight and cut into my

wrists and ankles. I asked if they could be loosened but they refused. Then

black thermal mittens were placed on my hands and taped on around the

wrist. Goggles were placed on my eyes. These were rather like ski goggles but

with the eye pieces painted out. Then ear muffs were put on like builders’ ear

muffs. A face mask, which was rather like a surgical mask, was put round my

nose and mouth and I was given orange socks and plimsoles to wear. I was

then taken outside. I could barely hear or see a thing and was made to sit

down on the gravel ground. I was left there for hours and hours, perhaps nine

or ten altogether. It was freezing and I was not allowed to move, I sat cross

legged. I was aware that others sat beside me. Throughout that time I was

given no food or water, the last meal I’d had was the night before. Whilst on

the runway, they pulled down our face masks and gave us an MRE (meals

ready to eat) packet. However, it was impossible to eat it because the packet

was placed in our hands but as we were shackled and still had all the other

stuff such as mittens on, you couldn’t open the packet or reach your mouth

with the food. They gave us no water and then they just took the food away. I

was not able to eat any of it. We were then all made to stand up and I was

given a sort of denim jacket which was placed over my shoulders with the top

button tied but our arms were not in the sleeves. A thin strong rope was tied

around my arm and connected, I believe, from my arm to the arms of other

detainees. We were made to walk for a long time. I think we were simply

17

walking round and round in circles. Because of the rope round our arms if it

got pulled it became extremely tight. As we were walking I could sense that

cameras were flashing and I suspect that they were also videoing us’. It was at

this point that it became clear they were going to be transported by airplane out of

Kandahar but they were not told their destination.

47. Asif who was on the same plane as Shafiq describes very similar experiences. He

says ‘I’d been in a different tent from Shafiq and Rhuhel. I remember three

numbers being called out. I was number 79 and I was taken in the same way

as Shafiq described to the wooden floored tent. In the morning we were all

made to sit on our knees and I waited about three hours until my number was

called out. I was also called into the tent and the same process happened of

being shaved and stripped naked. I do also remember having a brief

examination with a doctor who looked into my eyes and asked if there were

any problems. I explained that I had stomach problems as I was still suffering

from dysentery. He simply gave me some tablets’.

48. Rhuhel was not taken out of Kandahar at this time. He remained there for another

month. His number was 102. It was never explained to him why he was left behind.

49. Shafiq and Asif describe being led onto large cargo planes. They were taken one by

one up onto the plane. They estimate that the whole process would have taken

about two or three hours. They were made to sit on benches that had no back. They

still had on gloves, face masks, head muffs and they were shackled although the

rope around their arms was removed. A further chain was then put around their

waist and legs and this was then connected to the floor. Shafiq says ‘my legs were

in a painful position but if I tried to move to get comfortable they would kick

you’.

50. The plane took off and they were in the air for many hours. They had to remain

sitting in this very painful position with the shackles cutting into their wrists

throughout this time. Asif says ‘I was very tired, not having slept at all. During

the flight at some stage the face masks were removed and we were fed peanut

18

butter and jelly sandwiches and orange segments. Then the mask was

replaced. It was absolutely freezing during the plane journey. When we

eventually landed, it was obviously somewhere very hot. We could tell as we

came off the airplane that it was in the middle of the day, it was very light and

very hot. I had no idea where we were. I was then led from this plane onto

another plane. On the way to the other plane we were moved, bent double

quite quickly. A soldier at some point, stamped on the chain between my

ankles which brought the cuffs around my ankles down very hard. It was

extremely painful. I was not o ffered the opportunity to use the toilet at any

stage. I was again made to sit in the same position, shackled to the ground on

this other plane and we waited for a couple of hours before take off. The

second journey was shorter than the first. Eventually we arrived in Cuba;

although at that stage we didn’t know it was Cuba’. Asif and Shafiq have no idea

where they changed planes but Rhuhel who describes a similar experience on his

flight was told by soldiers that they had landed in Turkey. All three describ e the

plane journey as a nightmare with Asif saying that he was by this stage ‘done for’,

he thought he would not survive the second flight but was too weak and too

frightened to do or say anything.

51. Shafiq says ‘during the plane journey the shackles had been on so tight that

they really cut into me. I still have scarring on my left arm from them and I lost

the feeling in my right hand for a long time because they were on so tight’.

52. Whilst Asif and Shafiq were on their way to Guantanamo Bay Rhuhel remained in

Kandahar. He describes the routine continuing as before. He states he was further

interrogated, once by MI5 and separately by the Foreign Office. He asked after Asif

and Shafiq but was told by the MI5 official in the first interrogation that they had

gone home because they had cooperated. He was also interrogated on four further

occasions by the Americans. He reports that after Shafiq and Asif left conditions in

Kandahar started to deteriorate. He states ‘they kept moving us around from tent

to tent. This went on all day and night so it was impossible to settle down for

the night. They also shone powerful lights into the tents which made things

worse. There were no cages in the tents but you were separated from the

19

person next to you by barbed wire. You were not allowed to communicate with

anyone in the tent. I started to feel crazy from the isolation. About a week

before I left I knew I was going to Guantanamo. I was told this by one of the

soldiers. My conversations with the soldiers were the only real relief I had

because it was human contact’.

53. Rhuhel says that just before he was flown to Cuba in February 2002 he was visited

by somebody from the Foreign Office. It was a few days before he flew out. There

was also somebody present from MI5 who said that he had seen his friends in Cuba

and they had confessed to everything. He said if you admit to everything you will go

home. At that point Rhuhel was starving, frightened and living in appalling

conditions at the prison camp. He had been surviving on only two biscuits a day

and was sleep deprived. He had not been allowed to talk to anyone and at night

was woken up every hour on the hour. He decided to agree with everything put to

him so that he could be returned to England. He admitted that he was paid for by

the Al Muhajeroon and that he had flown to Afghanistan to fight holy "jihad". He said

that he ‘couldn’t hack it’. Rhuhel says that ‘I was in a terrible state. I just said

‘OK’ to everything they said to me. I agreed with everything whether it was

true o r not. I just wanted to get out of there’. He says that the British officials

could see the state he was in but did not seem to care or even ask him about the

conditions. Five days later (on the day he left) the Foreign Office representative

came to see him. He was pleasant and dressed in a suit. He told Rhuhel that he

was going to Cuba. He was not concerned by Rhuhel’s health and was not prepared

to give him any information about what was happening.

54. The Foreign Office did not inform Shafiq and Asif’s families that their whereabouts

were known until they were in Cuba. Rhuhel’s family was told when he was in

Kandahar. Shafiq and Asif saw no one from the Foreign Office whilst they were in

Kandahar.

55. All three talk of the use of particular interrogation techniques in Kandahar. Shafiq

explains that ‘when the soldiers would come into the tents in Kandahar they

came with dogs. If you made any sudden movements the dogs would be

20

brought right up to you snarling and barking very close to your face’. As

described above by Asif the interrogators and guards used physical violence and all

three had their beards and head shaved when they were placed on the plane for

Guantanamo. They believe that forced cavity searches were used to degrade and

humiliate them. They were systematically deprived of sleep, whether or not an

interrogation was pending and all believe they were deliberately kept on a very

restricted diet in order to further physically weaken them.

21

Guantanamo Bay

56. When they arrived in Cuba Shafiq states ‘we were taken off the plane and made

to sit on the ground outside somewhere. I was still goggled and masked. At

that stage they took my shoes off. We were then led onto a bus. I think there

were maybe about 40 of us altogether. I later learned that we were the second

group of detainees from Afghanistan taken to Guantanamo Bay. On the bus

we sat cross legged on the floor (the seats had been removed) and were

thrown about because of the movement of the bus, but soldiers would still

punch or kick us if we moved. The bus then went onto a ferry which went over

to the camp. On our arrival at the camp somebody lifted the earmuffs I was

wearing and shouted into my ear "you are now the property of the US Marine

Corps". We were told this was our final destination. There would be one

soldier speaking in English and another in Arabic. We had arrived at Camp XRay’.

Asif describes very similar experiences.

57. Rhuhel, who arrived a month later, was also taken to Camp X-Ray. His journey on

the plane was very similar to Asif and Shafiq but on the ferry to the actual camp he

was kicked and punched by a US soldier. He states he was assaulted ‘because we

had been told to keep our hands by our sides. This was uncomfortable as we

were shackled and after some time I moved my hands into my lap. A soldier

came up to me and said put your hand on your left knee which I did. The

soldier said "this motherfucker speaks English", and then kicked me about 20

times to my left thigh and punched me as well. I had a large bruise on my leg

and couldn’t w alk for nearly one month. There was never anyone to complain

to about these sorts of attacks and I think they are still going on’.

58. At Camp X-Ray, after they were taken off the bus, they had to sit outside for hours

still shackled with the gloves, ear muffs and masks on. They were given no water

even though it was extremely hot. Occasionally somebody would come round and

wet their lips with water but it wasn’t enough.

22

59. Asif states that ‘after a couple of hours of squatting in that position I fell over

and started shaking. I went into a sort of fit. I was taken on a stretcher into a

processing room where I was given an IV tube into my arm. I was still

shackled and goggled at that stage. I was in the room for about an hour and

was then given a shower. Everything was taken off, all my clothing except for

the goggles and the shackles. The shower was very brief, it didn’t give me an

opportunity to wash properly. After the shower I was taken over to a table and

told to bend over (I was naked). Again somebody prodded up my anus. I don’t

know what they possibly could have thought I had hidden since I had been

completely shackled since the last cavity search. I was then dressed and more

or less carried across to another part of the tent where I was questioned by a

woman who asked for my details, including my name, date of birth etc. My

fingerprints were done, also a DNA mouth swab and photographs taken. I was

given a new wristband which had my name and number printed on it’.

60. Shafiq who describes a similar experience when he was processed (as does

Rhuhel) also states that ‘when we arrived at Camp X-Ray I was made to squat in

the boiling heat outside for about six or seven hours altogether. I became

desperate and eventually asked for some water. The soldiers realized I was

English and a man from the ERF team (Extreme Reaction Force – see below)

came and started kicking me in the back and calling me a traitor. There were

dogs present barking nearby. They were very close to me but I couldn’t see

them. I wasn’t allowed to move, if I did I would be kicked. Eventually I was

taken in to be processed, I was taken to a tent and my clothes were removed.

Each hand was uncuffed in turn to allow them to take my top off and then

recuffed. The same happened with my trousers. I was then led to a shower.

While I was in the shower, a soldier pressed me firmly against the wall using a

riot shield or ERF shield. This meant that I was pressed against the wall with

a dribble of water dropping on my head and couldn’t wash properly. I also had

my goggles on in the shower. After this I was walked naked to another table

where a cavity search was conducted. This was both painful and humiliating.

Having been subjected to the same search before we left Kandahar and

having been kept shackled throughout the time we were transported, there

23

can have been no purpose to this search other than to further humiliate or

punish us. I was taken, naked, to a woman who processed me as Asif

describes. I think this was meant to further humiliate me. When I was

questioned by the woman about my details I told her I was British but she

wouldn’t believe me’.

61. After processing, their clothes were put back on by the guards. Each was walked

around the tent at least twice and then photographs were taken. Shafiq state s ‘I was

given a wrist band. This wrist band had a photograph, name, date of birth,

height and weight. When I arrived at Guantanamo I was 140lbs, but I was

195lbs when I had left the UK’.

62. After the photographs and processing had been completed they were told they had

to write a letter to their families. They found it almost impossible to write anything

because their hands were still cuffed together and they had lost all feeling in them.

Shafiq states that ‘I think all I managed to write was "I am in American

custody". After I had done this the goggles were put back on and I was taken

to a cage. At that stage the goggles and shackles were removed’.

24

Camp X-Ray

63. After processing they were taken to the cages in Camp X-Ray. They describe the

cage as being about 2 meters by 2 meters. There was a gap between the top of the

cage (itself made of mesh) and the roof of the structure (made from corrugated

iron). Asif states that ‘in my cage there were 2 towels, 1 blanket, 1 sheet, 1

small toothbrush, shampoo, soap, flip flops and an insulation mat to sleep on

as well as two buckets, one for water and one to use as a toilet (urinal) ’. There

were 60 people in each block each of which consisted of 6 groups of 10 cages.

Throughout the time that they had been in custody, both in Kandahar and now in

Camp X-Ray, they were not allowed to pray. If they tried to pray, the soldiers would

deliberately disrupt them.

64. Asif states that ‘on the first night after I arrived from Afghanistan at Camp XRay

I weighed 120 pounds, I am normally 165 pounds. When I was placed in

the cage I had the goggles as well as the shackles removed and I thought I

was hallucinating. I could just see a series of cages with people wearing

orange. Then I also noticed people outside who were veiled. I thought they

were women at first. In fact they turned out to be men who were employed to

do building work on the camp. It seemed that the people building the camp

were mainly Indian and South East Asian. We found out later that they were

paid only about one dollar or less per hour and had to work 12 hours per day.

They were under the control of the company that had been contracted to build

the camp. We weren’t supposed to talk to them and in fact they were escorted

and guarded by the US Army. Occasionally, however, we managed to

exchange some conversation with them in Urdu’.

65. Asif also sets out the aspects of Camp X-Ray he found most difficult to deal with.

He states that, ‘I think Shafiq will agree that the restrictions that were placed on

us when we were in our cages were probably the worst things we had to

endure. By the time Rhuhel arrived things had improved a bit but in the first

few weeks, we were not allowed any exercise at all; this meant that all day

25

every day we were stuck in a cage of 2 meters by 2 meters. We were allowed

out for 2 minutes a week to have a shower and then returned to the cage.

Given the extreme heat, we sweated a lot and the area obviously began to

smell. During the day we were forced to sit in the cell (we couldn’t lie down)

in total silence. We couldn’t lean on the wire fence or stand up and walk

around the cage. We were fed three times a day, but given very little time to

eat the food. The quantity of food we were given was also very little. It is not

an exaggeration to say that sometimes we were only allowed about one

minute in which to eat our food. This was not too much of a problem if the

food was on a plate, but occasionally it would be in packets and we would not

be able to open the packet before the food was taken back. At this point, the

US marines ran the camp and they were very brutal’. Conditions in Camp X-Ray

were very difficult, especially in the first month. The cells were often under direct

sunlight for hours on end. Shafiq says ‘the way my cell was located I got more

sunlight than the others and had to put up with direct sunlight for most of the

day’.

66. It was extremely hot but they were not allowed to take their tops off. They still had

no idea why they were there. In fact for the first 7 days Asif and Shafiq did not know

they were in Cuba. They did not know when their ordeal would end. All three say

that they simply could not understand what the interrogators wanted from them.

67. Rhuhel says that when he arrived he gradually developed a technique of staring at

the wire mesh or at the ground and letting ‘my mind go blank’. The area around

Camp X-Ray was lit with very powerful (like football stadium) flood lights. At night,

the area was lit up as though it were the middle of the day. The floodlights were

used throughout their time at Camp X-Ray. There were also snakes, scorpions and

a variety of unusual insects. Rhuhel says that ‘I remember that a number of

detainees were bitten by scorpions in my block (I was still separate from Asif

and Shafiq) and we always had to be on the look out. (If bitten by a scorpion,

flesh had to be dug out from the bitten limb to remove the infection.) Asif says in

Camp X-Ray his comfort items had been removed for some reason. They would

place removed items outside the cage. When they came to return the items they

26

lifted my blanket and underneath there was a snake. It was impossible to sleep or

get any rest. When they were sleeping, they had to keep their hands outside their

blankets. In addition, the noise of the construction work going on (they were

extending Camp X-Ray) was such that it would have been impossible to sleep

anyway.

68. Another aspect of detention in Camp X-Ray which caused considerable distress

was the toilet facilities. In the cages there were two buckets. One was for urinating

in and the other was for water. The bucket which was used for a toilet was emptied

once a day and the bucket that was for water was filled on average twice a day with

a hose pipe brought into the cell block by the guards, but this depended on their

discretion. The detainees had to use the water in the bucket to drink, wash and for

ablutions. If they wanted to "do a number 2 ", they had to ask permission from a

guard who would shackle them and then escort them to a portaloo outside the

blocks. The guards would stand staring at them with the door of the portaloo open

and with their hands in shackles as they sat on the toilet. Because of the shackles

they were also unable to clean themselves.

69. Shafiq says ‘very often the guards would refuse to take us to the portaloo

outside and therefore people started to use the buckets in the cells. Many of

the people who were detained in Camp X-Ray were ill, often suffering from

dysentery or other diseases and simply couldn’t wait until the guards decid ed

they would take them to the toilet. I think the guards also knew how

importance cleanliness is to Muslims and took a sick pleasure from seeing us

degraded like this. The smell in the cell block was terrible and in the early

days this was made worse by the fact that we had to sit in the middle of the

room, described above, without leaning on the cage, talking, praying or

moving around the cage’.

70. After some time the conditions improved by that they mean that they got slightly

more food and could talk to each other – i.e. the restrictions on conversations were

slightly relaxed. They could put their hands underneath the blankets when they went

27

to sleep. The conditions improved slightly after they ‘confessed’ to allegations put to

them during interrogation. They were also given shorts for decency.

71. A complaint all three make is that the orange jump suits they were given as a

uniform had a long slit down the side. This meant that when they prayed (if they

were allowed) the jump suit would open to reveal their groin area when they bent

down. In Islam a man must be covered from his midriff to just above his knees when

he prays and so the prisoners took to wearing their towels around their waists when

they prayed. This became a source of a lot of conflict with the guards. The

detainees were also prevented from calling out the Azzan or call to prayers. Asif

says that when people called out the Azzan ‘The Americans would respond by

either silencing the person who was doing it, or, more frequently, play loud

rock music to drown them out. They would also go into the person’s cage and

shackle them, leaving them there for 4 or 5 hours’.

72. They were never given prayer mats and initially they didn’t get a Koran. When the

Korans were provided, they were kicked and thrown about by the guards and on

occasion thrown in the buckets used for the toilets. This kept happening. When it

happened it was always said to be an accident but it was a recurrent theme.

73. Eventually the prisoners went on hunger strike because of the way that they were

treated and in particular the way their religion was treated (see below).

74. Asif says that ‘ it was impossible to pray because initially we did not know the

direction to pray, but also given that we couldn’t move and the harassment

from the guards, it was simply not feasible. The behaviour of the guards

towards our religious practices as well as the Koran was also, in my view,

designed to cause us as much distress as possible. They would kick the

Koran, throw it into the toilet and generally disrespect it . It is clear to me that

the conditions in our cells and our general treatment were designed by the

officers in charge of the interrogation process to "soften us up"’.

28

75. After Asif and Shafiq had spent about a week in Camp X-Ray, the Americans

brought along someone they referred to as "the Chaplain". They believe that he

was in fact an American Muslim. Asif states ‘he started to read the prayers and I

think the idea was that he would be leading us in prayer. In fact, nobody knew

what was going on and we were all uncertain as to whether we were allowed

to participate. Nobody knew or trusted this individual and as a result he was

left to pray on his own. This did not stop the Americans from filming him and

suggesting that he was leading regular prayer groups’.

76. As set out above, after the first month or so, at about the time Rhuhel arrived, things

were relaxed to the extent that they managed to speak to some of the Military Police

(‘MPs’). These MPs told the detainees that their superiors had briefed them before

they had arrived. In these briefings, the detainees were described as wild animals.

As Asif says, ‘they were told that we would kill them with our toothbrushes at

the first opportunity, that we were all members of Al-Qaeda and that we had

killed women and children indiscriminately’. This obviously affected the way they

treated the prisoners.

77. Rhuhel was in a different block from the other two in Camp X-Ray. After processing

he was put in his cage but taken out 20 minutes later. He had a full medical, was

stripped naked in front of a woman and blood was taken from him. He was then put

back in his cell. He says that ‘you could move around but couldn’t speak. After

about 5 days I was allowed to talk to my neighbours but they were all Arabs

and I did not understand what they were saying’.

29

Interrogations

78. The first interrogation at Camp X-Ray didn’t taken place until the second or third day

after they arrived.

79. The first interrogations for Asif and Shafiq took place in a tent. By the time Rhuhel

arrived they had built some booths (see below). Shafiq says ‘In the tent, there was

somebody who introduced himself as being from the British Embassy in

Washington and a civilian from MI5. There was also an American soldier

behind the table. There were at least 7 or 8 others standing in the tent behind

me, but I was not allowed to look back. I was put in a chair with an armed

soldier nearby. I was asked my name, address and family details. I was also

asked for my phone number and other information about my family. The MI5

officers told me, in no uncertain terms, that if I did not cooperate they could

make life very difficult for me. They kept insisting that I tell them I had gone to

Afghanistan for "jihad". They told me that if I agreed to this, then I could go

back to England’.

80. During the first several weeks the American interrogations with all three consisted of

pressing them to ‘just say you’re a fighter’ . Asif was told ‘if you just say you’re a

fighter, because of the Geneva Convention when the war is over you’ll get

sent back to England’. Rhuhel was told ‘ just say you’re a fighter and you’ll go

home’. He was told ‘you’ve come to kill American and British soldiers, coalition

forces’. They talked about ‘allied forces’. They referred to the Northern Alliance as

being the same as ‘allied forces’.

81. Asif comments "we were aware that the first thing that appeared in our

American files was something like ‘I went to Afghanistan to kill American and

British and allied soldiers’. We never signed anything but the interrogators

had us one way or another after some weeks of interrogation agreeing to this.

We did not all of us say we did." In Asif’s case he eventually just nodded.

30

82. Asif describes the way that the interrogation would go. He was accused of meeting

Mullah Omar, and money laundering for Bin Laden in England. He was given what

they called the ‘big fish chart’ with Osama Bin Laden at the top, money launderers

who seemed to be in the middle, and at the bottom was ‘fighters ’, so "I was led to

think that the best thing to admit to was to being a fighter. The trouble is once

you admitted you were a fighter they then wanted to get you up to the next

stage up the chart. So even if you said that you were a fighter to get them off

your back, that wouldn’t stop them. They would still continue. They just want

you to say something and once they’ve got you to say something they then

keep pressing for something else. So you think that you’re in the end saying

something that will stop them but it just encourages them if you do.

83. The series of questions asked in the early stages of captivity would be asking

your whole life story and would last at least four hours each, hours and hours

and hours. We were very tired. We were dehydrated. We had very little food

and we were already completely exhausted from the whole experience in

Afghanistan. One day in the heat of Cuba knocks you out anyway. We were

completely unused to the heat. You came out from the slight shelter of your

cell into the full scale Cuban heat w hich was even worse. There was a bit of a

roof over your cell providing some shelter but it was pointless as the sun

would hit directly at different times of day and if there was rain the rain would

hit you too. When you came out of that to interrogation then the full heat of

the sun would hit you. The interrogation tent in those early stages didn’t have

air conditioning."

84. The first interview Asif and Shafiq had was with English officials (Rhuhel’s first

interview was with an American). In all their interviews the interrogator kept saying

‘just say you are a fighter’. Eventually all three said ‘yes, I was a fighter’ one way or

another to the US interrogators . They couldn’t take any more.

85. Shafiq says ‘I was interviewed by MI5 at least twice when I was in Camp X-Ray.

After about 2 or 3 weeks in Camp X-Ray, I was also interviewed by US forces

interrogators. This time, I was interviewed in a booth. I continued to be

31

interviewed in these booths until I left. The Americans kept insisting that I say

I knew Mullah Omar. I began to realize that in each interview they wanted me

to admit to something more serious until they forced me to say I was in Al-

Qaeda. This was not true and I started to refuse to agree with the interrogator,

but I was desperate to get out and eventually I just accepted things they put to

me’.

86. Rhuhel was interrogated by Americans on the second day he arrived. His

interrogation was similar to Asif and Shafiq. On the third day he was seen by MI5.

He told them the same thing he had said in Kandahar. They came on the next day

and insisted he say he was a fighter. He refused to say he was a fighter or that he

had gone for "jihad" to MI5.

87. After this interrogation he was not spoken to for 4 or 5 months. In Camp X-Ray the

only people around him were Arabs. He did not speak Arabic and couldn’t

communicate. On describing the conditions Rhuhel says ‘ I couldn’t talk to the

guys in my cell block so I would just sit there staring at the wires all day. This

went on for 5 months. I used to try and speak to the guards but they wouldn’t

speak to me. I felt totally isolated’.

32

Interrogations at Camp X-Ray (generally)

88. In the interrogation booths, used after the tent, there was a table in the middle, often

screwed to the floor. There was also a chair on which the detainees were ordered

to sit and in front of this chair there was a metal hoop screwed into the ground.

When they were walked into the interrogation room, they had to sit down and then

their leg shackles were in turn attached to this hoop using a huge padlock. This is

described as being ‘long shackled’.

89. Asif says I should explain that in the early days, we had to go from the cages

to the interrogation booths on foot which was extremely difficult as we had to

shuffle along, constantly being pushed and harassed by the guards, wearing

the leg irons. This made it very difficult to walk and the leg irons would cut

into our ankles. After a while, they began to introduce trolleys which I think

have been seen in photographs. Many months later, they introduced golf

carts and we would be loaded onto the cart and driven to the interrogation

booth’.

90. As described earlier in the interviews, they would be told that the interrogators had

information that each of the detainees had met people like Mullah Omar. Shafiq

says, that ‘in my case they told me they found my personnel file in a cave in

Afghanistan and that it was clear I was linked to Al-Qaeda. This is ridiculous,

but they insisted that I accept this. The interrogators would keep saying "tell

us you’re a fighter, tell us you’re a fighter". This would go on for hours on

end’. Asif and Rhuhel describe similar interrogations.

91. In Camp X-Ray whenever they were interrogated, they were never given any notice.

The process was that an escort team of usually 2 or 3 military police officers would

arrive at the cages. They would be carrying chains and it would be obvious at this

point that somebody was going for interrogation. When they would reach the cage

of the particular detainee they wanted to speak to, he was told he was going to

"reservation" which was the term they used for interrogation.

33

92. Shafiq says ‘the guard came to the cage, told me to go to the back of the cage,

put my hands behind my head with my fingers interlocking, face away from

the entrance and kneel down. I was then shackled in a three piece shackle

which basically meant my hands were tied, in front of me, and then attached

to a belt which went round my waist. The chain of the leg irons I had around

my ankles was about a foot in length which meant that I could not walk

properly but rather I had to shuffle. If I was forced to move quickly as

sometimes the guards would push or shove us, the metal restraints of the leg

irons around my ankle would dig in and cut the skin around my ankles. This

was how I was taken to my first interrogation, but things changed slightly (see

below) when they built the booths’.

93. All three report that the leg shackles would cut their ankles. Before they set off to

the interrogation block they would be frisked, usually done very aggressively. As

they were led off to the interrogation block, they had to have their heads down

(almost bent double) and shuffle to the interrogation room with an MP on each side

and one behind. They would insist on putting the shackles on their skin and not

over their trousers which would have given them some protection from the sharp

edges of the shackles and the scraping. Asif says ‘one thing that always stuck

with me was that the handcuffs had "made in England" written on them’.

Eventually, in Camp Delta, after almost one year, the authorities agreed to put the

shackles over the detainees’ trousers which restricted them in the way they wanted,

but did not cut into their ankles.

94. Shafiq says that in the early days before they introduced the trolleys (and later the

golf carts) ‘the MPs would compete to see who could get their detainee to the

interrogation booths the fastest. They would push, pull and try to force us to

go as fast as possible. If you tripped, (which was very likely given that the leg

irons were tight and it was impossible to move your feet properly) they would

assume you were trying to escape and force you to the ground jumping on

top of you. Often detainees were kicked and punched when this happened.

The suggestion that somebody could try and escape in these circumstances

34

is ridiculous and I believe it was an additional part of the process of

"softening us up" for interrogation’.

95. As set out above, in Camp X-Ray, the tents that they used for interrogation in the

first few days were replaced by booths. These were a long way from the cages (at

least 300 meters). They had to cover the whole distance in the manner described

above.

96. When they got to the booths the MP would announce that they had arrived over the

radio. They would refer to the detainees as "packages" rather than by their names

or numbers. Shafiq says ‘we were then taken into the interrogation block with

an armed escort. We were led into the room whilst the armed officer (usually

armed with a rifle or a shot gun) stood outside the door. In the booths we

were searched again and then sat down on a chair. The MPs would then

padlock us to a hook which was attached to the floor (see above)’.

97. They were usually left in the room waiting for an interrogator to turn up. Sometimes

the interrogator was already there but other times they would be made to wait for up

to 3 hours. Shafiq says ‘I would like to think there was some purpose to these

silly games, however it is equally likely that it was simply incompetence.

Whilst we waited in the booths, there was a guard who stayed there

throughout. He was not armed but he was told not to talk to us. The guard

would just stand there staring at us. When the interrogator came into the

room, the guard would remain’.

98. The interrogators very rarely introduced themselves. Occasionally they lied about

the organization they worked for and all three men believe the names they gave

were almost always false. This misinformation was quite common. As an example,

on one occasion Rhuhel told an investigator that one of her colleagues from the FBI

had kept him in the interrogation room for 18 hours (this was in Camp Delta). He

described the interrogator. The person to whom he was complaining told him that

he knew the woman and that she was not from the FBI but from Military Intelligence.

99. In relation to the interrogators, they generally changed. It was very rare to have the

same interrogator on a regular basis. Shafiq says ‘ I only ever saw the same

interrogator on three occasions at the most’.

100. The organizations that were involved in the interrogations included the CIA, FBI,

DOD, MI5, NCI (Navy Crime Investigators), NSA, Army CID.

35

101. When the interrogators came into the room, they did not always have files with

them. It varied however and occasionally they would have notebooks or other

statements with them. In Camp X-Ray they usually came in without files. Rhuhel

says that ‘ I am fairly certain that the information about us was not shared by

the different organizations and often they would attend and ask the same

questions time and again. As an example, I don’t think they had received any

information about us from our interrogations in Kandahar’.

102. Each interrogation started right from the beginning. The first question was

always "do you speak English" which was an absurdity since knowledge of the

detainees and who they were was the presumed starting point for interrogation. On

occasion the interrogators even brought in a translator because they simply had no

idea whether they spoke English or not. They would then proceed to ask them their

name, date of birth and detailed questions about their background.

103. Rhuhel says that ‘all the interrogators seemed to know was that I had been

detained in Afghanistan and transferred to Guantanamo from Kandahar. After

they had obtained my background details, they would start to ask me what I

was doing in Afghanistan. My experiences with the second interrogation in

Camp X-Ray were very similar to Asif’s. They kept asking me whether I was a

fighter or not. I eventually told them I was because they kept promising to

send me back to England or put me in front of a tribunal’.

104. The interrogation system was based on written statements. It was made clear to

the detainees that whatever was set down on the statement was the official version

36

of events in the interrogation room. All three report knowing of many examples

where prisoners became involved in arguments with the interrogator or refused to

cooperate and in turn the interrogator would write lies in the statements and the

detainee would spend months being questioned based on his alleged "admissions"

which were nothing other than malicious accounts inserted by the interrogator.

There was no system of redress and no way of challenging this behaviour. The

same would apply if the detainee had an argument with an interpreter. Asif says

there was one detainee who spoke English and Arabic. The interpreter

wrongly translated something he said and he interrupted to say ‘no I never

said that’. The interrogation continued in English but those detainees who

couldn’t correct the interpreter often found they were supposed to have said

things they never had. Many of the detainees decided to try to learn English

because the interpreters could not be relied upon’.

105. To illustrate the power of the guards, Asif gives an example of an incident that

took place when Rhuhel, Shafiq and he were in isolation because of the "Bin Laden

video" (see below). Asif states ‘on one occasion there was a change over in the

units who were guarding us. The captain who had been in charge of the block

came to introduce his replacement to the block and to the detainees in

isolation (see below). I was talking to them when further down the isolation

block an inmate spat on one of the guards. Obviously I did not do it and I had

two captains to witness this, but the sergeant who had been spat on hated me

so much that in his statement he said that I did it. The captain knew this was

false because every move that we made was monitored, timed and our

conversations listened to, but also he knew it was false because he was with

me at the time of the incident. One of the senior officers decided that I was to

be punished for this so I remember very clearly that the captain went to speak

to a major to tell him that the sergeant’s statement was not true. The major

apparently said that the allegation had been written up and therefore because

it was in a sworn statement it must stand and I had to do my punishment. As

a result of this I was sent to another part of the camp for a week and lost all

my comfort items’.

37

106. All three were told in their interrogations that if they accepted they were a fighter

they would be sent back to England very soon. Asif says that ‘in Camp X-Ray, I

was interrogated 4 times by MI5 and 5 times by the Americans over 3 months.

All the interrogations seemed to cover the same ground. I thought this must

mean that they had run out of questions or were not reading the results of my

previous interrogations. As with others, I started to confess to everything and

agreed to anything they put to me. I remember that at one point after this

General Lenhart came up to us in the cages and said that we would be going

home soon’.

107. It was very clear to all three that their conditions were being carefully monitored

and controlled by the interrogation/intelligence officers.

38

Interrogations by MI5

108. Asif says that he had a number of interrogations by MI5 officials in Camp X-Ray

(see above). He states that ‘ in my first interview with the MI5 official, I was also

told that I should say that I had gone to Afghanistan for "jihad" . He said that I

did not need to say I’d been a fighter because there are lots of ways that one

can do jihad. This interrogation is the first one that took place in a tent. It

lasted about 6 to 8 hours’.

109. The MI5 interrogators changed over the time that the men were in Guantanamo.

The first one who interviewed Asif however came back at least a couple of times.

They nicknamed him "rat face" but believe his name was Chris. Shafiq was also

interrogated by this man. At the first interview with him he insisted that Shafiq admit

he had gone for "jihad" and when he refused to admit this, on leaving the room, he

said that it was not looking good for Shafiq and that he would stay in Guantanamo

for the rest of his life. He was supported in this by an official from the UK Embassy

in Washington (see above).

110. It was only in his third interview that Asif was interrogated by an American.

39

Protest at Camp X-Ray

111. After some months, there was a slight alteration of conditions at Camp X-Ray so

that it was possible for the first time to sleep at night. At the discretion of the

soldiers (based on the standard operating procedures) they were allowed, once a

week, to walk in a small recreation yard for about 5 minutes. Because of the acute

lack of space in their cages and the fact that they were not allowed to move or walk

around in their cages their legs would often suffer cramps and pains.

112. After their initial processing, on arrival at Camp X-Ray, there were no further

cavity searches (though they would be frisked before each interview). All three men

however witnessed other prisoners being stripped of their clothes and being

humiliated. This was done in full view of all those on the block and not only

humiliated the prisoner involved but caused deep resentment in the others in sight.

113. Rhuhel says that one protest in Camp X-Ray started in his block. He says ‘I saw

a guard walk into a detainee’s cell, search through the Koran and drop it on

the floor. The detainee told him to pick it up and put it into its holder. I

remember the guard looked at the Koran on the floor and said ‘this’ and then

kicked it. Every one started shouting and banging the doors. The guard ran

out of the cell and the enti re camp was on lock down for half a day. On that

day there was a hunger strike for three days. I did not join in. I was very

isolated and did not really know what the other detainees were talking about’.

114. About one week later whilst Asif was in interrogation there was an incident in the

block he shared with Shafiq. Asif says, ‘I cannot remember the date; however,

about a week before the incident I describe, a guard in Rhuhel’s block kicked

the Koran. This happened often in the early days, and we were eventually

promised it would not happen again. When this guard kicked the Koran,

people were extremely upset and went on a short hunger strike. In our block,

one of the detainees who had wrapped a towel around his waist to pray (our

jump suits would open at the side when we prayed which is contrary to Islam,

40

in that we are required to be covered when we pray) and an MP told the

detainee, who’s name was Qureshi from Saudi Arabia (his photo is on the

cageprisoner’s website), to remove the towel. Qureshi was in the middle of

his prayer and ignored them. The MP then opened his cage, which was a

breach of the rules, and when Qureshi still wouldn’t stop his prayers, the MP

punched him violently to the face, knocking him to the ground and then

kicked him. The MP’s colleagues then removed Qureshi’s comfort items as

well as the towel. I did not see the incident itself but found out about when I

got back from interrogation’. Shafiq says ‘ I saw the incident happen about 10 to

15 meters away from me. I clearly saw the MP punch him, knock him to the

ground and beat him violently’.

115. This incident led to another hunger strike. The detainees had not been allowed

to give the prayer call or Azzan, to pray properly, to have prayer mats or to practice

their religion. As a result of what happened to Mr Qureshi someone shouted out

that they should stop cooperating. (The whole camp went on hunger strike although

Asif, Shafiq and Rhuhel did not participate.) The second day of the protest was

filmed as people threw their comfort items out of their cells as a result of yet another

incident.

116. Asif says that ‘to be clear, the food was very limited and insufficient. When

they brought the food during the hunger strike, I would eat the food that had

been assigned to the other prisoners as well as my own. The hunger strike

lasted for up to a month and in some cases detainees continued for 6 to 8

weeks. I think there were others who went longer. I remember clearly that

people started to suffer with stomach and bowel problems. On the other hand

I put on 25 pounds. This was the only time I put back any weight and that was

because I was so desperate I was eating many people’s rations. I did not

participate because I do not believe in a hunger strike’.

117. The detainees had also agreed not to speak at their next interrogation. In Asif’s

case this was to be his fourth interrogation. He explains that despite this he was put

under considerable pressure so took the opportunity to set out some of their

41

grievances. He says ‘we had all agreed not to speak at our next interrogation as

part of the protest. My next interrogation was a day or two later and when I

was taken into the interrogation room I refused to talk to them. This

interrogation was with an MI5 man who was questioning me together with an

American. I continued to refuse to talk to them until the MI5 man said that this

was nothing to do with the British and that it was an American matter.

118. At this the FBI man left the room and the MI5 official continued to question

me but I still wouldn’t answer. Shortly after this an Embassy official came in.

This was a different one to the person who had questioned me in the tent a

few weeks earlier. He said that he was not from the intelligence services but

he was from the Embassy. He said that I should talk to him and he could do

something about our grievances. I continued to stay silent and then he

showed me letters that he said were from my family and that I would only get

them if I cooperated. I was desperate to get some letters from my family so I

started to speak. During the course of my discussions with him, he also took

my picture without my permission but he said that it was for my family. They

never received any pictures. I gave this official a long list of grievances which

I know he noted down. Usually when we would give a list of grievances to

Embassy officials they would never bother to write it down but I remember

this clearly that he wrote down everything I said. I mentioned that I was upset

about the following:

1. Medical – I said that I together with others were suffering with infections on

our ankles as a result of the scraping by the shackles. The officials would

tell us that we simply needed to wash our ankles with soap and water, but

this was impossible as we only had a one minute shower per week. Often,

when we were in the shower, we had barely put the soap on when they

would turn the water off and take us away.

2. In relation to the showers I also complained that they would usually lead

us to and from the showers naked and wouldn’t even let us wear a towel

around us.

3. I also complained about the quality and quantity of the food, the lack of

any religious rights and I asked for them to respect our religion. I

42

complained about the flood lights and the constant lack of sleep. My

complaints ran to some two pages but despite this nothing changed.

119. After two weeks of the hunger strike, General Lenhart came into the

blocks, took his cap off and pleaded with the detainees to eat. They also

started to improve the conditions. Gradually , as more and more people

stopped the hunger strike, we got more food, we were allowed to wear shorts

and we could keep our towels on as we went for a shower. The guards were

also told not to disturb us when we were praying (though they continued to do

this anyway) and we were also allowed, for the first time, to talk more freely to

the person in the cage next to us’.

120. Shafiq says of the others in his block (which he shared with Asif), ‘In my block,

which was Bravo block at Camp X-Ray, there were other English speaking

detainees including David Hicks, four French detainees, and Feroz Abbasi. I

remember Feroz was getting a very hard time and he was interrogated more

regularly than the rest of us. They also treated David Hicks in a very

aggressive way. Fro m my recollection, Feroz was a very quiet individual and

as with most people he wouldn’t describe what was happening to him. David

Hicks and us three (when we were together) would always talk about our

interrogations and I remember that David Hicks told me the interrogators had

promised to get him prostitutes if he agreed to work with them’.

121. Asif also says of the general conditions, ‘we were also aware, in Camp X-Ray

and later in Delta, that we were being listened to and our conversations were

being recorded. On the question of observation I wish to add that being under

constant observation was an additional stress. We would all joke about it and

sometimes make things up in order to irritate those listening. I know that the

intelligence officers disregarded most of this material but it was all brought up

again and put to us when the video incident took place (see below). The

observations conducted were not just in relation to what we were saying, but

everything we did. They would look to see if we stared at women MPs or

looked down when they walked passed. They looked to see if we used

43

particular comfort items more regularly than others or had any habits that

they could clearly identify. As an example, if we were suffering because of the

small portions, they would identify this as a weakness or alternatively if we

required medical help, this would depend on our cooperation in interview. In

my view it was clear that they were identifying weaknesses upon which they

could play for the purposes of interrogation’.

122. All three men spoke freely to the women guards and MP’s without any problems

but many others would not do this. These individuals would then be interrogated by

provocatively dressed women interrogators. Shafiq says that ‘ In my case they

knew I hated isolation and this was the reason they used it as the main means

of punishing me’. Asif and Rhuhel both say they found sleep deprivation was the

main strategy used against them.

123. Rhuhel says ‘I have problems with my eyes and need special lenses to

correct my vision. If untreated this condition can cause permanent damage, I

would get severe headaches because it would strain my eyes to read the

Koran. After one and a half years I got the lenses but it was considered a

comfort item which they would threaten to take unless I co-operated. In any

case they never gave me the solution I needed for the lenses so it was

pointless’. (Rhuhel’s eyesight is now permanently severely damaged as a result.)

44

Camp Delta – Conditions

124. After Camp X-Ray all three were transferred to Camp Delta about May 2002.

The conditions in Camp Delta were more permanent than those in Camp X-Ray.

The cells were made out of large shipping containers. The sides at either end had

been removed as had the front. Inside each container they had constructed 6 mesh

cages. The back wall, the floor and the roof were from the metal container but the

side walls and the front were made of mesh. In the back wall there was cut out a

square to act as a window, but this also had thick mesh across it.

125. Shafiq says that ‘one of the effects of these mesh cages that I was surprised

to discover was that looking through them 24 hours a day for weeks on end

was causing damage to my eye sight. It became difficult to focus on things

and when I was taken out of the cage either for a shower or interrogation, it

would take me some time to adjust my vision’.

126. A continuing problem was lack of privacy.

127. The conditions were inappropriate. When it rained, rain would come into the

cage. It was also very humid and h ot in Camp Delta which was made worse by the

fact that they were in a metal container. The heat could become unbearable during

the days and at night it was extremely cold. The detainees were never given any

extra blankets despite the cold.

128. The detainees were transferred to Delta on a bus in the same way they were

taken to Camp X-Ray. When they arrived in Delta, the interrogators and guards

started using the idea of "comfort items" ("CI’s") more often. Comfort items included

almost anything that was not screwed or welded down in the cages. Ordinary items

such as blankets, towels, face cloths, toothbrushes, toothpaste and even regulation

single Styrofoam cups were considered "comfort items". They were removed at the

discretion of the interrogators or the guards depending on the standard of behaviour

and the extent of co-operation. Comfort items were also used as part of a "carrot

45

and stick" approach to their interrogation. If they cooperated, they were given or

allowed to retain certain items. If they were perceived not to be cooperating, items

were taken away.

129. Delta was placed very close to the sea and as such, the salt air would cause the

containers to rust. This meant that there was constant reconstruction work and

therefore large electric generators were running 24 hours a day. This made it

difficult to sleep. There was also constant noise from the 48 or so other men all

detained in the same "block". An unusual, but foreseeable problem that emerged in

Delta was that the cages and the entire area around the containers were infested

with rats. These were huge "banana" rats which would climb over the containers or

around the cages. Every morning, the men would wake up to find rat droppings on

their blankets or on the floor. There were also snakes in Delta but less than Camp

X-Ray.

130. In normal circumstances such conditions would be difficult to endure. In

Guantanamo Bay however we were deliberately kept hungry the whole time.

We were constantly in a state of anxiety about our future and totally at the

mercy of the guards’.

131. All three men say that they believe the conditions were designed specifically to

assist the interrogators. They were able, with great precision, to control the

behaviour of the detainees depending on the type of answers or the level of

cooperation they believed they were getting. The interrogators had already made

up their mind as to what they wanted and it often became a question of trying to

gauge what they wanted to hear and give the right answer.

132. Those detainees who did not cooperate with them, despite the loss of comfort

items and recreation (recreation was considered a comfort item and even the five

minutes exercise a week could be removed if they thought you weren’t cooperating)

were taken to another camp altogether and detained in total isolation (see below).

46

133. Shafiq comments "while we were in Guantanamo each of us was

interrogated for hundreds and hundreds of hours by the Americans. The same

questions were repeated over and over and over again.

134. During the whole time that we were in Guantanamo, we were at a high level

of fear. When we first got there the level was sky-high. At the beginning we

were terrified that we might be killed at any minute. The guards would say to

us ‘we could kill you at any time’. They would say ‘the world doesn’t know

you’re here, nobody knows you’re here, all they know is that you’re missing

and we could kill you and no one would know’.

135. After time passed, that level of fear came down somewhat but never

vanished. It was always there. We were in a situation where there was no one

we could complain to and not only could they do anything to any of us but we

could see them doing it to other detainees. All the time we thought that we

would never get out. Most especially if we were in isolation there would be a

constant fear of what was happening and what was going to happen. If it

hadn’t been for the Arabs knowing by the position of the sun when to pray, we

wouldn’t have known even that. We didn’t know the time. We know the dates

we do know because we counted for ourselves and some soldiers would tell

us enough to let us slightly keep track, otherwise there was no way and there

was never meant to be any way. Sometimes the prayer call would be played

five times a day, but then it would be stopped again.

136. We were deliberately kept in a state of enforced boredom which increases

the despair. After a year one day they came with boxes of books all in English.

They were given out to people including those who couldn’t speak English.

We each got something to read. It seemed to be completely accidental what

we got given. We read and reread our first book, as many as ten times each."

[Shafiq was given a book called ‘Killing Time’ about Americans going to Afghanistan

to wipe out the Taliban regime. Rhuhel got ‘Planet of the Apes’.] "There were a

limited number of books. You soon had read all. In 2003, the books that we

were given started to have a large amount of the contents torn out – for

47

instance novels would have large chunks ripped out but we would still read

them because we were so desperate for something to distract ourselves. The

Red Cross told us that they had brought 2000 books but they had

mysteriously disappeared and never got to the detainees."

137. "We were also told that the Red Cross had brought a large number of

language books. For instance, people were interested to learn Arabic or

English, etc. We briefly had access to them and then they were taken away

again and we never saw them again." Shafiq recollects them saying "you’re not

here to learn anything, you’re a prisoner, you’re here to be punished".

138. Although in Delta the cages had a sink, with running water and a toilet (squat

toilet) with a flush, (Shafiq says that ‘to go to the toilet we would put up a

blanket, though some MPs would, in the early days, insist on taking these

down’), the cells were smaller than those at Camp X-Ray mainly because there was

a bunk/bed welded to the floor of the container from which the cell block had been

created. This restricted the space. Shafiq still suffers from pain in his back, legs and

knees as a result of the cramped space and lack of exercise (15 minutes twice a

week).

139. (In the first few months, they were allowed a one minute shower per week. Later

this increased to 5 minutes per week and after 7 or 8 months in Delta, they were

allowed 2 showers a week. This was still not enough because as a result of the

heat and the humidity they would be constantly sweating and feel dirty. Most of the

people in the cell blocks grew their beards, but if they shaved they were allowed a

razor for 2 or 3 minutes once a week and then had to hand it back.)

140. When Rhuhel arrived at Delta he went to isolation straight away. He was never

told why. He had not done anything wrong and believes the move was at the

direction of intelligence officers. He stayed in isolation for about one month.

141. After he was taken out of isolation Rhuhel was taken to one of the blocks. He

was put in a cage next to Martin Mubanga, another British detainee. Asif and Shafiq

48

were in the same block as David Hicks, Feroz Abbasi and Jamal Hareeth. The only

person, close enough for Rhuhel to speak to though was Martin. Rhuhel says

Martin and I would talk about things in the UK, football, boxing and our

interrogations. He was very quiet’.

142. During this time they were interrogating Rhuhel every Sunday. They asked the

same questions over and over again. This continued for 6 months. The interrogators

were mostly American though MI5 officers came on one occasion. He always

maintained the same account to his interrogators. They also started to show

photographs of people from the UK (people he did not know).

143. (It was very clear to all three that MI5 was content to benefit from the effect of

the isolation, sleep deprivation and other forms of acutely painful and degrading

treatment including ‘short shackling’ (see below). There was never any suggestion

on the part of the British interrogators that this treatment was wrong or that they

would modify their interrogation techniques to take this into account or the long-term

consequences of isolation, humiliation and despair. All three men express

considerable anger at the fact that the MI5 agents were content and in fact quite

happy that they were long shackled and attached to a hook through-out their

interrogations.)

144. The quality of the questioning was extraordinarily low. Each was asked

repeatedly for names and details of all of his relatives in England, in Pakistan or

Bangladesh or other countries where their families had a connection (in the case of

Asif his father was born in Kenya which led to questioning about bombings in Kenya

in 1998). He was also asked about the ‘Cole’. He did not know what the ‘Cole’ was

(a ship in the Yemen that had been attacked). It was they who told him about these

events.

145. After 6 months Rhuhel was moved to the cell opposite Shafiq. Asif had been

taken to isolation over the incident with the food (see below). (He stayed there for

about one month). This was the first time Rhuhel had seen Shafiq since Kandahar.

49

146. After about a month, Shafiq and Rhuhel were moved to Camp 2 together.

Rhuhel was then not interviewed for the next 6 or 7 months. They were there for

about one month and then Shafiq was moved back next to Asif. Rhuhel stayed in

the new block in Camp 2 for about another month. Again there was no one to speak

to. They were all French speakers, but there were also many prisoners from

Uzbekistan. After this Rhuhel was moved back to the same block as the other two.

Within a week he was moved to isolation. Rhuhel says ‘I complained about the

food. The portions were less than normal and this was seen as a disciplinary

offence. I was not ERF’d but was taken in shackles to isolation where I stayed

for one week’.

147. After this he was moved back opposite Shafiq and Asif. He was then moved to

another block for a night and then a third block where he stayed for about 3 months.

There were mainly Arabs and Afghanis in the third block but by then he had learnt

Arabic so he could communicate. After some 3 months he went back to the same

block as Shafiq and Asif but within a week he was moved to isolation. Rhuhel says ‘I

was in my cage singing a song but this was again seen as a disciplinary

offence. The song I was singing was an American rap song with some abusive

words in it. One of the female guards took offence and I was sent to isolation.

This is an example of how difficult it is to get by without there being any clear

rules because singing by itself was not necessarily an offence. I stayed in

isolation for one week and then moved back next to Asif. We stayed there for

a few months. At this point I was on tier two, but I was still not getting

interrogated, unlike the other two’’.

148. (Rhuhel’s next move was following the ‘discovery’ of the video and his 8 hour

interrogation (see below). He had started to be interrogated for a few times by Steve

but was handed over to "Sarah".)

149. Asif was also moved on occasion to isolation. He says that ‘after about one

month at Camp Delta, I was moved to isolation as a punishment. The reason

for this punishment was that I’d been making fun of a military policeman. As

a result of my jokes, I was told that I’d be given less food. When the next meal

50

time came around I was given such little food that it was ridiculous. I agreed

with one or two others that we would not condone this treatment by eating the

food, and therefore when they came to collect the paper plate, I ripped mine

up and threw it out of the cell. The guards then said that they wanted to

search me and therefore I had to put my hands through the cage in the

regulation fashion so that they could be chained. I refused to do this as well. I

was lucky that the guards did not rely on the ERF team but I was told to leave

the cell and accompany the guards. I was shackled as usual but because I

was cooperating they did not rely on the ERF team. I was taken from my cage

to isolation. On another occasion I scratched ‘have a nice day’ on my

Styrofoam cup and this was seen as a disciplinary offence for which I spent

another week in isolation’.

150. After this second period of isolation Asif was moved to a block which housed

only Chinese speaking detainees. Given that every move was observed, recorded

and monitored he takes the view that was a deliberate move to ‘break him’. He also

believes that the British were complicit in this decision b ecause he explains that

shortly before, he had been taken to be interrogated by two officials from MI5

(including ‘rat face’ – see above). There was also an Embassy official present. He

says that the guards who came to take him to this interrogation were extremely

aggressive and as they secured him to place the shackles on his hands one of them

put such pressure on Asif's neck that he was in terrible pain. When he got to the

interview he refused to speak to the interrogators. The Embassy official on this

occasion suddenly started acting as a third interrogator which upset Asif even more.

He told them that he had been promised for months that if he co-operated with them

he could go home but they had done nothing for him. He had sworn at them and

refused to identify people in photographs they put in front of him which they said

were of people from Tipton.

151. The move to the block with the Chinese (possibly Uighurs) was very difficult for

Asif. There was no-one to talk to. As a result he explains, ‘I started to suffer what I

believe was a break down. I couldn’t take it any more. I asked to speak to a

psychologist but all they said was that I should be given Prozac which I didn’t

51

want to have. The other prisoners who had this were just like zombies and put

on loads of weight. I was having flash backs and nightmares about the

containers and couldn’t sleep at night. I was in this block for 3 months. While I

was there I was interrogated three times. I kept telling the interrogator that I

was about to crack up and I’m sure it was obvious that I was in a bad way. All

he would say to me was that I should ‘behave on the blocks’ which made it

clear to me that they had thought carefully about the best way to punish me

and break me and decided that as I am quite sociable and like talking I should

be kept with people I couldn’t communicate with. I began to behave in the way

they wanted. I would not make jokes in the interrogation and just answered

their questions. At the end of my third interview the interrogator told me to

‘hang in there’ because he could see how distressed I was. I was moved from

the Chinese block three weeks later ’.

152. Recreation in Delta was compulsory. Initially this was quite restricted, but

eventually the regime was 15 minutes of exercise/recreation twice a week. If a

detainee did not go to recreation at his allotted slot, the ERF would come and take

him. Shafiq says ‘you had to attend even if you were ill. We did look forward,

occasionally, to recreation, because it was an opportunity to stretch our legs;

however the exercise had to be done alone in a small yard watched over by

the guards. Initially we had to wear shackles but they eventually let us walk

freely. The problem with recreation was that whenever it was your time to

come to the yard you had to leave immediately. Even if you were in the

middle of your prayers they would give you at the most one minute to finish

and then drag you out. This was the same with the showers’.

153. Asif says, ‘returning to the question of the monitoring and observation, I

should say that when we moved to Delta, a short time later, we found out that

all the cages had been bugged. One of the detainees accidentally broke a tap

by the sink and a microphone literally fell out. In Delta, you could talk to the

people next to you without much difficulty, or opposite you but you couldn’t

shout or yell further down the block. This made things a little easier because

we could share experiences and talk fairly openly (notwithstanding the bugs)’.

52

Explanation for Detention

154. Shafiq says ‘as far as I know, none of us were ever told why we were in

Cuba other than we had been detained in Afghanistan. Of course we were

told that they considered us "unlawful combatants" but whenever any of us

asked what this meant they refused to give us a definition’. Asif says that ‘I was

told it is easy to get to Cuba but hard to get out’.

155. As set out above, there was never any redress when they were mistreated or

rules were broken. Throughout their time none of the men ever heard of any

procedure or rules, guidebook or structural process for complaining. The Americans

operated according to their ‘standard operating procedures’ (which also governs

their operations on bases in the UK but is so secret prosecutors in English Courts

and the police are n ot allowed to see it) but no one was allowed to see these or

become aware of the details other than from experience. They were never told how

they could progress through the system (or indeed what the system was). They

found out, through discussions with others and their own experiences, that the

interrogators were applying a four tier system that was based on a degree of

cooperation from a particular detainee.

156. In this system level or tier four was considered the worst. Such detainees were

often removed (as set out above) and placed in a separate camp. This was called

Camp Echo (see below). Level or tier one denoted the highest degree of

cooperation. As far as the men understood it, many of the detainees were admitting

to almost any of the allegations p ut to them simply to alleviate the harsh conditions.

Asif says that ‘ in my case I admitted to many things in an attempt to get home

and to have an easier time whilst I was in Cuba’.

157. Shafiq says, ‘I was moved from Camp X-Ray to Camp Delta at around the

beginning of May 2002. Throughout my time at Guantanamo I had never been

placed in isolation. Towards the end of December 2002 a new system was

introduced, although we weren’t aware of it as a system as such whereby

53

detainees would be placed on different levels or tiers depending on their level

of co-operation and their behaviour in the camp. At the beginning I was placed

on Level 2, the second highest level. This meant that I had all the so called

comfort items, including toothpaste, soap, cups etc. The only better position

to be would have been Level 1 where you were also given a bottle of water.

Apart from the time when I was questioned about a video I remained on tier

two until after the video incident when I went to tier one’.

158. Despite this, different p eople were still placed on different tiers for no apparent

reason. Many people took the view that some of those being given tier one status

were simply getting it as part of an attempt to suggest that they were informers or to

try and encourage people to believe that they were cooperating where as in fact

they weren’t.

54

(Re the ‘level that you were placed on)

159. "It wasn’t always possible to know why you were on the level you were on.

So far as there seemed to be a rational explanation, in relation to the ‘intel

blocks’, ie a block where the interrogators put you, these are blocks where the

people placed in them are people the interrogators think have special

knowledge. They might be people who are cooperating or who are not

cooperating but they’ve been put there because they’re of interest to the

interrogators. We were on ‘intel’ blocks all the time. The military police told us

that if you looked in the computer at our files it would say ‘high priority’ on

them and that no one else in the camp had that, but we’ve no idea why that

was. It apparently was only there for the last year and we wonder now if it

could have been because of our Court case in America although we did not

know anything about that at the time or we knew nothing about that except for

what one guard once let slip to us."

160. The authorities in Guantanamo have absolute power over the detainees. They

are not accountable to anybody and there is, as far as the men can see, no control

on their behaviour. Shafiq says that ‘when you are detained in those conditions,

you are entirely powerless and have no way of having your voice heard. This

has led me and many others to "cooperate" and say or do anything to get

away’.

161. "It is clear to us that the military police were not free to make individual

decisions at all and that … We had the impression that at the beginning things

were not carefully planned but a point came at which you could notice things

changing. That appeared to be after General Miller around the end of 2002.

That is when short-shackling started, loud music playing in interrogation,

shaving beards and hair, putting people in cells naked, taking away people’s

‘comfort’ items, the introduction of levels, moving some people every two

hours depriving them of sleep, the use of A/C air. Isolation was always there.

‘Intel’ blocks came in with General Miller. Before when people were put into

55

isolation they would seem to stay for not more than a month. After he came,

people would be kept there for months and months and months. We didn’t

hear anybody talking about being sexually humiliated or subjected to sexual

provocation before General Miller came. After that we did. Although sexual

provocation, molestation did not happen to us, we are sure that it happened to

others. It did not come about at first that people came back and told about it.

They didn’t. What happened was that one detainee came back from

interrogation crying and confided in another what had happened. That

detainee in turn thought that it was so shocking he told others and then other

detainees revealed that it had happened to them but they had been too

ashamed to admit to it. It therefore came to the knowledge of everyone in the

camp that this was happening to some people. It was clear to us that this was

happening to the people who’d been brought up most strictly as Muslims. It

seemed to happen most to people in Camps 2 and 3, the ‘intel’ people, ie the

people of most interest to the interrogators."

162. "In addition, military police also told us about some of the things that were

going on. They would tell us just rather like news or something to talk about.

This was something that was happening in the camp. It seemed to us that a lot

of the MPs couldn’t themselves believe it was happening. They said to us they

wanted to get out when their time was done and they would not go back in.

They said that they felt ashamed of the Army that these things were going on.

Most of these people were reservists. Many of those at the camp were people

who as reservists had been recently drafted. And many of them thought that it

was a big personal mistake they’d made. We got the impression that most of

them had done it because they wanted the pension that being a reservist

carried or to put them through college and then suddenly found themselves in

Cuba as a result and they had no choice. They told us that they couldn’t say

no and that otherwise they would be sent to a military prison. Some of the

MPs had Muslim friends in America and they were ones who were nicest to

us."

56

163. "They told us about the fact that they were going to be sent to Iraq and

how they didn’t want to go. They’d come and tell us about how they read of

soldiers being killed each day in Iraq. Although they didn’t want to be in Cuba,

for them it was at least better than going to Iraq."

57

Camp Echo

164. The three men never saw C amp Echo but report that Moazzam Begg (see

below) and Feroz Abbasi are detained there. In this Camp the detainees are held in

total isolation indefinitely. They are apparently allowed a Koran with them but all the

other conditions of isolation described below also apply. They are kept under 24

hour watch by a guard sitting outside the cell, though the guard is not allowed to

speak to them. This means that the only people they are ever allowed to speak to

are the interrogators.

58

Assaults at Guantanamo

165. All three report that when they were at Camp Delta around August 2002 the

medical corps came round to see them and asked if they wanted an injection

although they wouldn’t say what it was for. Most of the detainees therefore refused

to have one. A few hours later the medical corps returned, this time bringing the

Extreme Reaction Force (ERF team). The ERF team was dressed in padded gear

so they had pads on from their boots, padded vest, helmets like motorcycle helmets

with visors, thick gloves up to their elbows and some of them had riot shields. They

were always accompanied by someone who filmed them.

166. Rhuhel says ‘the ERF team would come into the cell, place us face down on

the ground then putting our arms behind our backs and our legs bending

backwards they would shackle us and hold us down restrained in that

position whilst somebody from the medical corps pulled up my sleeve and

injected me in the arm. They left the chains on me and then left. The injection

seemed to have the effect of making me feel very drowsy. I was left like that

for a few hours with my legs and arms shackled behind me. If I tried to move

my legs to get in a more comfortable position it would hurt. Eventually the

ERF team came back and simply removed the shackles. I have no idea why

they were giving us these injections. It happened perhaps a dozen times

altogether and I believe it still goes on at the camp. You are not allowed to

refuse it and you don’t know what it is for’. Asif and Shafiq describe similar

experiences but they were not left shackled.

167. One example of such an assault happened in the same block as Asif and Shafiq

as well as David Hicks and Feroz Abassi. Jumah al Dousari from Bahrain, who had

lived in America for some time, was already mentally ill. He used to shout all the

time. The guards and the medical team knew he was ill. Whenever soldiers would

walk past his cell he would shout out and say things to them. Not swearing but silly

things. He would impersonate the soldiers. One day he was impersonating a female

soldier. She called the officer in charge, the commander that day, whose name was

59

Blanche (the same person who was in charge the day that the dog was brought into

Asif’s cell; see below) – a staff sergeant E6, E6 being his rank structure. He came to

the block and was speaking to Jumah. Shafiq says "I don’t know what was said

but the next thing he called the ERF team. While the ERF team was coming he

took the female officer to one side. I heard him say ‘when you go in that cell

you’re going to f-ing kick him’. She seemed apprehensive. He kept shouting at

her to make her say back to him what he had said. It was very odd. There were

usually five people on an ERF team. On this occasion there were eight of

them. When Jumah saw them coming he realised something was wrong and

was lying on the floor with his head in his hands. If you’re on the floor with

your hands on your head, then you would hope that all they would do would

be to come in and put the chains on you. That is what they’re supposed to do.

The first man is meant to go in with a shield. On this occasion the man with

the shield threw the shield away, took his helmet off, when the door was

unlocked ran in and did a knee drop onto Jumah’s back just between his

shoulder blades with his full weight. He must have been about 240 pounds in

weight. His name was Smith. He was a sergeant E5. Once he had done that the

others came in and were punching and kicking Jumah. While they were doing

that the female officer then came in and was kicking his stomach. Jumah had

had an operation and had metal rods in his stomach clamped together in the

operation. The officer Smith was the MP Sergeant who was punching him. He

grabbed his head with one hand and with the other hand punched him

repeatedly in the face. His nose was broken. He pushed his face and he

smashed it into the concrete floor. All of this should be on video. There was

blood everywhere. When they took him out they hosed the cell down and the

water ran red with blood. We all saw it."

168. Asif describes being in isolation. They took his Koran away from him having

already taken his other possessions. His hands were shackled in front of him. He

was looking back. The guard taking him held his neck to push it back so he couldn’t

look back. He was pushed into a corn er and was punched in the face numerous

times and kneed in his thigh. They opened his chains, put him on the floor of his cell

and then left and locked the door before he could get up. The doctor came shortly

60

after, not for that reason but to give him Ensure because he was seriously

underweight. She saw the heavy bruising all over his thigh. Asif asked to call the

senior officer to complain about what was done to him. "The guards saw me

talking to the doctor, called her over and told her to do nothing." That was the

last Asif saw or heard of anyone. He told the next shift and they told him that he

should have told the previous shift.

169. On another occasion Asif witnessed a man on the toilet. The guards came to

take him for interrogation. He was still on the to ilet. (The guards are not supposed to

open the door unless you stick your hands out. That’s the procedure.) So they

pulled him off the toilet, shackled him and took him to interrogation. He complained,

that is to other guards in the block and were told those were the orders from

interrogation. There were many many further assaults. An MP even boasted that he

had beaten someone in isolation with a large metal rod used to turn on the water to

the blocks. He said there was no one to tell.

61

Interrogations at Camp Delta

170. In relation to the interrogation blocks at Delta, they fell into the following

categories: yellow building, brown building, gold building, blue building, grey

building and orange building. All the booths either had a miniature camera hidden

in them (it was possible to see the cameras in the air vents) or they had one way

glass behind which sometimes it was possible to make out other individuals using

video cameras. Asif states that ‘during one particular interview with MI5, I

remember seeing people behind the MI5 man filming me. Most of the

interrogations in Camp 1 were in the brown or the yellow building. After they

built Camp 2, most of the routine interrogations took place in the gold

building and the brown building was then used for the torture’.

171. After a while it became apparent that the interrogators were no longer interested

in any "information" they might obtain from the men, or indeed in getting

"confessions". Asif states that in early 2003 he was told by one of the interrogators

that ‘this source has no further value’. Shafiq says ‘I certainly began to think that

junior interrogators were being brought in to "practice" on us because they

would repeatedly go over the same ground that had been covered by another

interrogator say a week or ten days earlier. They were often junior and

confused about our background or the circumstances that had led to us

arriving in Guantanamo’. The interrogations continued however in the same way.

They would often continue for 2 to 3 hours (sometimes 5 or 6 hours). The men

would be chained to the hoop in the middle of the floor having to put up with

question after question which they had answered a hundred times before.

172. So far as the American interrogators were concerned they did not seem

knowledgeable at all about the subjects they were questioning us about. The

Americans wanted to know about Afghanistan, who we knew there, who we

met, what we saw. They asked us, for instance, if we saw laptops, explosives,

chemical weapons, barrels, metal containers with skull and crossbones on

and a danger sign and missiles and ammunition dumps and anyone with

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satellite phones. We hadn’t seen anything. We hadn’t even seen electricity.

One interrogator, James, said to us, looking at his piece of paper, ‘some of

these questions are so ridiculous I’m not going to ask you’. However, Shafiq

was asked questions like ‘if I wanted to get surface to air missiles from

someone in Tipton who would I go to?’ We were asked if we had seen laptops

and computers in Afghanistan with pictures of liquids and laboratories and

chemical weapons.

173. At some interrogations we were shown photographs of Donald Duck,

Mickey Mouse, Tom & Jerry, Rug Rats, Abraham Lincoln, Michael Jackson,

Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Osama Bin Laden and famous people from

different countries. Actresses for instance, Sharon Stone, etc. One American

interrogator called Mike Jackson, from LA FBI, said that he had been sent by

‘the Queen’ according to him. He said that MI5 had sent him photographs

because they couldn’t come and had asked him to ask us about them. These

were photographs of British citizens. There was one English woman with

blonde hair amongst the photographs. These were all surveillance

photographs taken of people as they went shopping in Tescos, etc. or with

their friends. Very different people came in fact with the same set of photos

(all Americans) and none of them knew that we had already been asked about

the photographs on other occasions. This in fact happened numerous times

during the interrogations. We’d be asked the same thing again and again by

different sets of interrogators who didn’t know the answers. There seemed to

be no coordination of the information that they were getting or trying to get.

The Army would come and show the pictures to us, then the FBI and then the

CIA. They didn’t seem to pass information amongst themselves. And from the

FBI different people would come from different departments.

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Isolation and interrogations (pre May 2003) – Shafiq

174. Shafiq says ‘between October 2002 and May 2003 I was interrogated maybe

5 or 6 times. Most of the interrogators simply repeated the questions I had

been asked before although they did also introduce some maps of Pakistan

and Afghanistan and asked me to point out what routes I’d taken when I had

entered the country and where I’d stayed. They also showed photographs of

Muslims who I assumed were British although I didn’t recognise anybody.

Around about the end of March, beginning of April 2003, I was taken to the

Gold building for an interrogation. I was taken into a room where I met

somebody I had not met before who was not formally an interrogator. He was

there to conduct a polygraph test. Before I entered the room I met two

interrogators who had interrogated me right at the start when I first arrived at

Camp X-Ray. One of them said to me that hopefully if I passed the polygraph

test I would be allowed to return home. I felt very hopeful that this might be

the beginning of the end at Guantanamo Bay. For the first time since being

detained by the U.S, I was asked questions without being shackled.

175. I was made to sit on a chair facing the wall and the man placed some pads

on my fingers which were connected to a lap top machine he had on a desk

behind me. Additionally I had a blood pressure pad tied around the calf of my

left leg, also connected to the lap top and something else was tied around my

chest. I was then asked a series of questions. Throughout the period of about

an hour when I was questioned I was told that I must not move at all. He first

asked a couple of control questions like: ‘are the lights on in the room’ and

‘do you drink water’. He then went on to ask me if I was a member of Al-

Qaeda. He had a list of training camps and he asked me if I’d trained at any of

those camps. He asked if I had special weapons training and if I had any

experience or training in chemical warfare. I answered truthfully and

negatively to all the questions put to me. He asked the same questions about

six times each and I gave the same answers on each occasions.

64

176. After about two hours of questioning he didn’t say anything to me but just

left the room. After that I was taken away back to my cell and I never saw that

man again. I had no idea what the results of the tests were at that stage.

177. About two weeks later I was taken to the Brown building where I met a

female interrogator who I had met previously in the block but she had not

asked me questions before. She was Army personnel, I believe, but in civilian

clothing. She said to me: "congratulations, you have passed your polygraph

test." I was obviously very pleased and asked if I would be allowed to return

back to England. She said she couldn’t give me any information about that.

178. I then waited for about a month and didn’t hear anything. I did not have to

attend any interrogations during that period.

179. I was aware that Asif had also been asked to do a polygraph test in fact we

were both taken at the same time. Rhuhel was not taken for polygraph testing

at that time (see below). I am not aware as to whether any other detainees

were asked to do polygraph tests.

65

Isolation and interrogations (May/August 2003) – Shafiq

180. After a while the guards suddenly came to collect me and moved me to

Tango block (I’d previously been on Lima block). Tango block was for Level 4

detainees and all my comfort items were therefore removed. I asked why I was

being moved but nobody would explain the reason.

181. After about a week I was in my cell when I heard a guard talking to a

detainee in the cell next to me and saying "look at that British guy next to you,

we have found out that he and his two friends from Britain are terrorists and

linked to Al-Qaeda as well. We have found videos which prove that they are

linked to the men who carried out the September 11th attacks". When I heard

this I called the soldier over and said "what is all this about?" He told me that

"my superiors have told me that they have found video evidence on you and

your two friends". I was extremely shocked and did not have a clue about

what he was talking about. I didn’t see that soldier again.

182. About a week later I was suddenly collected and taken to one of the three

isolation blocks, ‘November’. I asked the Sergeant why I was being moved and

he simply said "we don’t know. The order is from the interrogators". I was

placed in a metal cell painted green inside. It was filthy and very rusty. There

was a tap, sink, toilet and a metal bunk. It was extremely hot, hotter than the

other cells I’d been in previously. Although there was an air conditioning unit

it was turned off so the cells were much hotter than the ones I was previously

held in because they were completely closed off and no air could come into

the cell. There was a glass panel at the hatch at the front of the cell so they

could keep an eye on us. Whilst it was extremely hot in the daytime, at night

when it got cold, anyway, they would turn the air conditioning up so that it

became freezing. I didn’t have a blanket or a mattress and had only my

clothes to keep me warm so I got absolutely freezing at night. For the first

week I had no idea what was going on. I was not taken to interrogation; I just

had to sit there waiting. I felt like I was going out of my mind. I didn’t know

66

where the others were, I didn’t know why I was being held there. Nobody

would talk to me. I was taken out maybe just twice for showers but that was it.

I was extremely anxious. Then about a week later I was taken by two soldiers

to interrogation at the Gold building.

183. I was taken into a room and short shackled. This was the first time this had

happened to me. It was extremely uncomfortable. Short shackling means that

the hands and feet are shackled together forcing you to stay in an

uncomfortable position for long hours. Then they turned the air conditioning

on to extremely high so I started gett ing very cold. I was left in this position

on my own in the room for about 6 or 7 hours, nobody came to see me. I

wanted to use the toilet and called for the guards but nobody came for me.

Being held in the short shackled position was extremely painful but if you

tried to move the shackles would cut into your ankles or wrists. By the time

that I was eventually released to be taken back to my cell I could hardly walk

as my legs had gone completely numb. I also had severe back pains.

184. I was returned to my cell with no explanation as to why I had been brought

to interrogation and I was then left in the Isolation cell for a further week.

Again, nobody would explain to me what was going on and I felt I was going

crazy inside my head. Some time during that week I saw Asif and Rhuhel

being brought into the November block and placed in cells further down the

corridor.

185. The next day after Asif and Rhuhel had arrived I was taken to interrogation

in the Gold building. I was long shackled and chained to the floor. There was

an interrogator in the room this time. He showed me some pictures which I

later discovered were stills taken from a video. The pictures showed about 40

people sitting on the floor in a field. He asked me if I recognised anybody in

the picture. The picture was not very clear and I didn’t recognise anybody.

186. He then showed me another picture where three people were sitting

together and there were arrows pointing with my name as well as Asif and

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Rhuhel’s name. Behind the three men who were supposedly th e three of us

there was another person with an arrow indicating that he was Mohammed

Atta one of the September 11th hijackers. I don’t know whether the picture was

Mohammed Atta or not, the man in the photograph had a beard whereas the

only pictures I’ve seen of Mohammed Atta are of him being clean shaven. I

believe the interrogator was from Army Intelligence. He was an American

Arabic guy who I knew by the name Bashir although other interrogators called

him Danny. He started basically accusing me of being present at the meeting,

of being the person in the picture and of being involved with Al-Qaeda and

with September 11th hijackings. I was denying it but he wouldn’t believe me.

187. When I saw the photographs I could see that they were purportedly from

2000 and I knew that I was in England during that time, which I told him.

188. After the first interrogation I was brought back to my cell and then a few

days later brought out again. This time I was short shackled. I was left

squatting for about an hour and then th is Bashir came back again and he

started questioning me again about the photographs and trying to get me to

admit that I was in the photographs. I was telling him that if you check you will

find out that I was in England during this time. After a while he left the room

and I was left again in the short shackle position for several hours (I think for

about 4 hours) before I was eventually taken back to the cells. When we were

left in the interrogation rooms we were not provided with food and we missed

meals. We also missed our prayers.

189. After this I was taken back to my cell and then at intervals of about 4 or 5

days at a time I was brought back to the same interrogation block where I was

short shackled and left for hours at a time and not interrogated at all. This

happened about 5 or 6 times.

190. On a couple of occasions when I was left in the short shackle position they

would play extremely loud rock or heavy metal music which was deafening.

Probably the longest period of time I was left in the short shackle position was

68

7 or 8 hours, which was on the first occasion. On other occasions I would be

left in the room for up to 12 to 13 hours but in the long shackle position.

Nobody would come in. Occasionally someone would come and say that an

interrogator was on their way but they wouldn’t turn up. For a period of about

3 weeks I was taken backwards and forwards to interrogation but not actually

asked any questions.

191. Also during that period a marine captain, together with a number of

soldiers and some interrogators turned up at my cell in isolation. I was told to

get on my knees I was shackled and then moved from November block to

Tango block.

192. About 10 to 15 minutes earlier I had seen Asif being moved in the same

manner. I have no idea why I was moved. It was slightly better than being in

isolation because at least it was open. However, after only three days I was

then moved back again to November block. By this time Rhuhel had been

moved and I’d no idea where he and Asif were being held.

193. I remained in isolation after this for a further two months without any

comfort items at all, apart from a blanket and mat.

194. On one occasion when I had been questioned by Bashir I said to him how

can you ask me these questions when you know I’ve passed my polygraph

test. Bashir told me that I’d actually failed my polygraph.

195. On an earlier occasion when I was brought to interrogation from isolation I

met with a different set of interrogators who were from C riminal Intelligence

(CID). They told me that they were the ones that were going to start the

tribunals. One of the guys was called Drew and another Terry. They were

asking me questions about the video again and I was asking what date the

video was taken because I could show that I was in Britain. He told me, "I’m

not going to tell you". I said "are you trying to screw me over?" He said

"maybe".

69

196. I was interrogated repeatedly about my presence at this meeting but the

Americans had made up their mind and refused to accept my account. I told

them in detail that at the time the video was supposed to have been taken I

was working in Currys in England and going to college. When I said this, they

would turn it around and say that I knew I was going to Afghanistan at the

relevant time and therefore I had laid a false alibi trail before I left. Whatever I

said they would ignore and refused to listen to me.

197. About a month after I’d first been brought into isolation for the second time

I was taken to interrogation and met Bashir again. I was in long shackle

position and on this occasion he also brought along a female in civilian

clothing. Bashir told me that she had come all the way from Washington to

show me a video. I was then shown a video on a 14" tv on the table in front of

me. Before they put the video on they told me that it was an Osama Bin Laden

rally in Afghanistan. Apparently the rally took place at somewhere called

Turnok Farms somewhere in Afghanistan.

198. There was no sound on the video but you could see a number of men

sitting down and Osama Bin Laden appearing and giving a speech. I wasn’t

sure whether it may have been filmed by a hidden camera. The quality of the

picture was not good. She suggested to me that the three men sitting down

that had previously been pointed out in the photograph were me, Asif and

Rhuhel.

199. I said it wasn’t me but she kept pressing that I should admit it. She was

very adamant. She said to me "I’ve put detainees here in isolation for 12

months and eventually they’ve broken. You might as well admit it now so that

you don’t have to stay in isolation". Every time I tried to answer a question

she insisted I was lying. She kept going on and on at me, pressuring me,

telling me that I was lying, telling me that I should admit it. Eventually I just

gave in and said "okay, it’s me". The reason I did this was because of the

previous five or six weeks of being held in isolation and being taken to

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interrogation for hours on end, short shackled and being treated in that way. I

was going out of my mind and didn’t know what was going on. I was

desperate for it to end and therefore eventually I just gave in and admitted to

being in the video.

200. I was the only one out of the three of us to see the video. I could not bear

another day of isolation let alone the prospect of another year and can only

imagine how terrifying it must be for Feroz Abbasi or Moazzam Begg being in

detention and isolation for so long.

201. As soon as I broke down and admitted that it was me she just got up and

left the room and then I was taken back to my cell.

202. After that I remained in isolation for another five or six weeks. I was not

taken for interrogation, apart from to Brown building where the FBI showed

me photographs of various people asking if I knew any of them but I didn’t.

Apart from those periods I was left on my own in isolation, not knowing what

was going to happen to me or what was going on. I thought that perhaps now

I would be tried for a crime although I didn’t know what was going on with Asif

and Rhuhel.

203. After about five or six weeks I was moved to Oscar block (another isolation

block) where I became aware Asif and Rhuhel were being held. I wasn’t able to

speak to them as I was at the other end of the block. I must have been there

for a further few weeks, again I was denied ‘comfort items’, denied everything

apart from showers two or three times a week. During this period they

stopped allowing us out for exercise at all, until the International Red Cross

told them that they had to let us exercise. Whilst I was held on Oscar block I

was not taken for any interrogation.

204. Then, around the middle of August 2003, I was moved to another camp

within Camp Delta and placed on Echo block. This time I was placed on Level

1 and was given back all my comfort items and additionally given a bottle of

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water. Nobody explained why I had been moved back to this block. About two

weeks after being on Echo block I was called into the Brown building where I

met for the first time an interrogator called James, from Army Intelligence. He

told me that I would be moving into the same block in cells next to Asif and

Rhuhel. He didn’t ask me any questions. I asked him what was going on with

the video and everything and he said I will be seeing you later in the week and

I’ll explain what’s going on.

205. After that meeting I was then taken to Kilo block where Asif already was.

Kilo block is run by Intel (ie by the interrogators who decide what you’re

entitled to and what you’re not entitled to). I had previously been on an Intel

block when I was held in Lima before being moved to isolation.

206. Rhuhel was brought to Kilo block the next day and the three of us were

able to talk to each other. I think that the reason we were taken away from

isolation to this block was because the same interrogators were now dealing

with us and they may have thought they would get more information out of us

if they allowed us to talk to each other as the blocks were bugged so they

could overhear our conversations.

207. Over the next two weeks every day I was brought to the Brown building to

be questioned by the new interrogator James, from Army Intelligence.

208. During the first two weeks I was on Kilo I was brought every day to be

questioned by James. We would be brought in succession, usually Asif first,

then Rhuhel and then myself. He started asking me lots of questions about my

movements during the period of the video in 2000. He was asking for alibi

evidence. I told him where I was working and when I was at university and that

he could get my records to prove that I was in England. He was gathering

various details.

209. On one occasion he asked me to do a voice stress analyzer test. He told

me that it was better than a polygraph. I said to him that I didn’t want to do it

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as I had already passed my polygraph test, even though Bashir had said I had

failed. He told me I would have to do it but I refused. The reason I refused was

because I felt they were playing a game. They had previously told me that I

had passed my polygraph and I would be going home and then they told me I

had failed my polygraph. I felt they kept moving the goalposts and I d idn’t

want to co-operate with their tests any more.

210. During the time I was questioned by James he would bring cakes in to eat.

The last interrogations I had with James he started showing me photographs

of other detainees at Guantanamo Bay and asking me if I knew them. I said

well, yes, I do, because I’ve seen them here. I felt that he was clutching at

straws to try and find a way of implicating me in some way or other. This

seemed to be part of a pattern of encouraging people not just to give

information in interviews but also to inform on others in the camp. They would

announce upon loud speakers (particularly when people were released) that if

we co-operated with them they would release us. We knew this included

acting as an informant.

211. After the last in terrogation with James I was told I was now going to be

handed over to Navy Intelligence. However, before this happened, whilst I was

still being questioned by James in September 2003 I was brought into

interrogation and I was left to sit on my own for 8 hours waiting for the

interrogators to arrive. I had been fasting that day and when it was the end of

the day I asked for a glass of water but was told I could not have any. I also

asked for food and to pray but they refused to allow me. Nobody came to see

me that day and I was taken back that evening. Then the next day I was

brought to interrogation and this time the British officials arrived. These

included a British Embassy official who I knew by the name of Martin and two

MI5 agents named Lucy and Alex.

212. During the first consultation with Martin, he asked me if I was okay, or if I

had any problems. I told him that I’d been kept in isolation for three months

for no reason. I also told him my knees were in a lot of pain because of the

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lack of exercise I was getting. He told me that he had two letters, one from my

mother and one from my brother which he took out and I actually saw them

but he said he wasn’t allowed to give them to me until they had been cleared

with the authorities. I never actually saw those letters. I hadn’t heard any news

from home since about February 2003. I asked him what was happening,

whether I was going to be tried, whether I would have lawyers, and various

other questions. He said MI5 officers would be coming the next day and they

would answer my questions. I should say at this point that in our experience if

MI5 were to visit the camp we were never left in isolation. We think this is

because they would ask each time what level we were on (after the level

system started). We don’t know if it was for their records. We know however,

that they would know we’d been in isolation if only because we told them.

213. I was returned to my cell that night and the next evening all three of us

were taken to the interrogation block (this time it was the CIA building). I was

taken to Orange building where I met the two MI5 officers, Alex and Lucy. I

had previously met Lucy on two occasions, once in December 2002 and once

in April 2003. I had previously met Alex in June 2002. They asked me some

questions about what I was doing during the year 2000. I became quite angry

and said look, you’ve got all my files, and you know what I was doing in 2000

and I explained that I was not in the videos. I told them that I was working and

had been at university during this period in England. They then said we don’t

need to ask you any more questions. I asked what was going to happen to me,

whether I was going to get to see a lawyer and the other questions I had asked

the Embassy guys. They told me that they couldn’t answ er those questions

that the Embassy man should have answered those questions for me. That

was the last I saw of any British officials except Martin who I saw the day

before I was released. I carried on seeing James a few times before being

handed over to Navy Intelligence.

214. After this we were still held on Kilo building and would occasionally be

brought for questioning by Navy Intelligence and a guy called Romo. I was

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asked similar questions to before and was told that basically they believed us

but we were a political pawn now.

215. This was because some British detainees were, they said, lying, therefore

we couldn’t go back to England and they seemed to be playing games with

us’.

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Isolation and interrogations – Asif

216. Asif says in relation to the isolation a nd treatment experienced following the

recovery of the Bin Laden video, that ‘in about March/April 2003 I was at Camp

Delta. I was taken one day to interrogation and asked to perform a polygraph

test. During that test I was asked questions such as had I trained in

Afghanistan? Had I handled chemicals, bombs, explosives? Am I a member of

Al-Qaeda? They asked the same questions on a number of occasions and I

answered each question truthfully, most of the answers were ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

Immediately after the test the man who conducted the polygraph said I had

failed but he would send it away for tests.

217. I’d been at the doctors one day and when I returned I found that I had been

moved to a different block and relegated to Level 4. Level 4 was the lowest

tier. It meant that you had all your comfort items removed, ie you had no soap,

toothpaste, cup, towels or blanket. You only had your clothes and had to

sleep on the bare metal. You had to drink water with your hands. I had been

on Level 4 on a couple of occasions before. I was left there for two weeks

without any explanation and then I was taken to the isolation block. I had

previously been in isolation as punishment.

218. When I had been in isolation before, you would be left for maybe three or

four days and the guards would have to write a sworn statement, although

there was no adjudication or anything, but you were then put in isolation.

There seemed to be two reasons why you would be placed in isolation:

1) for punishment and you would be informed of the reason and to ld that you

would be spending, e.g. three days in isolation for that reason;

2) the other would be for interrogation where there was no specific time limit.

219. After I had been on Level 4 for about two weeks I was then taken to

isolation on the instructions of intelligence officers. Shafiq has already

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described the conditions in Isolation. I was taken to the November block and

found myself placed in a cell opposite Rhuhel. He had been brought to the

block about the same time as me. I could see him through the glass panel and

tried talking to him but soldiers became aware of this and after a couple of

days I was moved to a cell further along the corridor. This cell had been

occupied by a guy who had developed severe mental health problems and

had smeared excrement everywhere. It was absolutely disgusting. I had no

soap or anything and I was left in this cell. I could not sit anywhere. It stank. It

was extremely hot. Finally different soldiers came on the night shift and they

gave me some cleaning material and I scrubbed the whole place down.

220. After about a week I was taken to interrogation. I was taken there by

guards from 9/4. These were the Rhode Island, Massachusetts Soldiers. They

had a reputation for the worst violence. I remember once General Miller had to

investigate them for using excessive force as they had beaten up one man

who ended up as a cabbage.

221. I was taken to "Res" ie Reservation, and brought into a carpeted room with

swivel chairs. I was placed on a seat and long shackled and met somebody

called Mr Smith. He had magazines on the table, drinks, nuts, cigarettes,

crisps. I asked him why I was in isolation and he told me because I was being

influenced by other detainees. He said he had some photographs he wanted

me to look at. I told him that I wouldn’t look at them. I was then led away. I

wasn’t given any of the treats that were on the table.

222. After about a week I was called back to another room. On this occasion I

had been having my shower, my hair was still wet, and I was taken to this

other room and placed in the short shackle position. This had not happened

to me before and it was extremely uncomfortable. I was then left in this room

and they turned the air conditioner down to 40° Fahrenheit (there was a sign

on the conditioning unit which said it should not be put below 70°). I was then

left in this room in the short shackle position for about three hours. I was

absolutely freezing, particularly also because my hair had still been wet from

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the shower. Then Mr Smith came into the room and said "it’s nice and cold in

here". He asked me if I was going to look at the photographs. He said "I can

get you anything you want". He was sitting at a desk while I was in the short

shackle position. He then pulled out some pornographic magazines. He

showed me a photograph and said "look, you’re going to see pussy again". At

that I started laughing as the whole thing seemed so ridiculo us. Then I swore

at him and he walked out. I told him I wouldn’t talk. He left me in that room for

another three or four hour. I was absolutely shaking and shivering with the

cold and when I was finally returned to my cell I came down with the flu. That

day I had been short shackled for seven or eight hours. One of the military

police told me that intelligence had said I wasn’t allowed any medication.

223. The next day I was escorted by a Marine Captain and about 15 soldiers to

Oscar block. This was also isolation. I was left in a cell there for a couple of

days and then taken to interrogation. I was suffering from a temperature and

felt very ill.

224. This time I was short shackled again. A different interrogator who I came to

know by the name of James, came in to question me. I had been left in the

short shackle position for about three or four hours. It was agony because I

had back problems, I was calling out in agony. James came in and said "who

has authorised this?" He apologised to me and I was unshackled.

225. He said to me "I am the new interrogator and I will see you in a couple of

day’s time." We then just chatted before I was returned to the cell.

226. After three days I was taken to "the Brown building". I was long shackled

and sat in a chair. I was left in a room and strobe lighting was put on and very

loud music. It was a dance version of Eminem played repeatedly again and

again. I was left in the room with the strobe lighting and loud music for about

an hour before I was taken back to my cell. Nobody questioned me.

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227. The next day I was taken back to the interrogation and this time I was short

shackled and left for maybe five or six hours before returning to the cell.

Again, nobody came to question me. That night I asked to see James in

Reservation. He denied he knew anything about the short shackling. I told him

I would co-operate. I was asked a series of questions about the photographs.

He told me that the photographs were with Bin Laden. I just answered all his

questions as honestly as I could. He said to me you are not being consistent. I

was next taken to interrogation with a man I came to know as Drew. He was in

the Criminal Intelligence Department. There were some other men present as

well. He showed me photographs but I refused to look at them. They then left

the room and I was short shackled for maybe about four or five hours. They

came back. By that time I couldn’t bear it any longer and I just said "it’s me in

the photograph". I didn’t even look at the photographs. I was returned to my

cell.

228. About four days later I was taken to be interviewed by FBI. They asked me

questions about what I had been doing during 2000. I gave them full details.

They said that they were going to check out my story for the relevant period.

229. I was then back in the isolation cell. I was brought to ‘Res’ at some stage

and chatted with somebody from the FBI. He was trying to be friendly. He

brought me magazines and I asked if there was any news. He brought some

articles he had taken from the internet and read some extracts of news about

myself. He said "I really like talking to you but I need some information". He

said "I need some help from you, there are some evil people here, I need some

information". He was obviously trying to get me to spy for him. I said I can’t

speak Arabic and I’m not here to spy on people. He left me in the room for

maybe 12 hours long shackled. I was not given anything to eat and eventually

I was just taken back to my cell.

230. During the period that I was in isolation and being interrogated by James,

on one occasion I saw a Military Intelligence officer called OJ who asked me

"have you ever been to New York?" I asked him what sort of question was

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that. He threatened to beat me up. He said "I am not like the other

interrogators; if I want I’ll beat you up". He was a very large guy, quite

intimidating. He said to me "just answer the questions". I later found out that

this man was in charge of Feroz Abbasi’s case. I think his first name is Oscar.

231. I remained in isolation for a further two or three months but I was not really

interrogated again, or at least not seriously, after I had admitted to being

present in the photographs. Perhaps after about a month Rhuhel was moved

into the cell in front of me and we were allowed to talk and call to each other. I

think after I’d made the admissions they wanted they weren’t really interested

in me.

232. The conditions in isolation were very hard. The cells were made of metal.

They were extremely hot. The air conditioning was broken and hot air would

come out. Sometimes the soldiers would put it on really hot. You had to sleep

on a metal bunk. In the first few weeks I was given nothing, not a mattress or a

blanket and I was denied all comfort items. I couldn’t talk to anyone. The only

thing I was given was my Koran. I sort of learned a way of dealing with it and

tried not to let the isolation bother me. It was impossible to know what time it

was. In fact throughout this time (in fact throughout the time that I was in

Guantanamo) I had no concept of the time or date. We were not allowed to

know what day it was and nobody was allowed to wear watches. The guards

were told not to let us see their watches (though sometimes they forgot).

They certainly never told us what time it was. They stopped doing the call for

prayers after about a year. (In the first year it was on sometimes and not

others.) It stopped after General Miller came.

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Isolation (Asif continued)

233. "Amongst the effects of isolation was that over a period of time it was

certainly draining. You would get worn out from it. If you were already

depressed it makes you more depressed because you keep thinking

repetitively about the same thing and there’s no one there to comfort you or

distract you. Sometimes you welcome interrogation when you’ve been in

isolation because there is someone to talk to and it’s a release and no doubt

that’s what interrogators are counting on when they keep you there. The

isolation blocks were it seemed to us, deliberately kept in as depressing a

state as possible. The other blocks, they had to redo from time to time

because the salt from the sea air corroded everything. With the isolation

blocks it was all peeling paint and everything rusting. Even though things

were modified or renovated, it wasn’t painted. (While we were in Guantanamo

in fact there were three renovations, showing the rate at which structures

would deteriorate there.)

234. After about three months in isolation we were all brought out and moved to

Kilo block. This was a normal block that was also run by Intel as opposed to

the Army. The three of us were placed in this block and we were no longer in

isolation, we were allowed to talk to each other.

235. I was taken to interrogation and asked to do a voice stress analyzer. This is

apparently another way of testing whether you are telling lies. A microphone

was attached to my throat and I was asked a series of questions including

"are you in the photos". I said "No". "Have you ever met Osama Bin Laden". I

said "No". I was told that I had failed on these two questions. He asked me the

same questions again and I answered "Yes" and he said I was telling the

truth.

236. During one of the sessions after this when I was being questioned by

James and he was asking about my movements in the UK, I said "I can’t wait

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until I go to the tribunal because I want to make you guys look stupid". He

said "what do you mean?" I told him that during the relevant period that I was

supposed to be in the photograph with Osama Bin Laden, I had been in

trouble with the police in England. I said I could get ten policemen who could

be witnesses, if necessary. I told him that I had court records. I had a solid

alibi which they wouldn’t have been able to deny.

237. About four days later I was brought back and somebody read to me a letter

which came from Britain. The letter basically proved that I was in England at

the relevant time, although it said at the end that you should take into account

that he may have traveled on a forged passport.

238. During the last six weeks or so of my time on Guantanamo Bay I remained

in Kilo block and they started to treat me a lot better. Myself, Shafiq and

Rhuhel would be taken to a place known as "the love shack" in the Brown

building. This would be every Sunday where we would get to watch DVDs, eat

McDonalds, eat Pizza Hut and basically chill out. We were not shackled in this

area. The first three times or so Romo was present and then we were handed

over to FBI, a woman called Lesley and she was the one that really treated us

well and gave us treats and food. We had no idea why they were being like

that to us. The rest of the week we were back in the cages as usual, but it was

nice to have that period. I think we were the only three that were treated in this

way. On one occasion Lesley brought Pringles, ice cream and chocolates, this

was the final Sunday before we came back to England. Lesley told us that we

would be leaving next week to go back to England.

239. About 5 days before we were due to return the five of us, me, Shafiq and

Rhuhel and two other Brits, Jamal and Tarek were all taken to isolation to b e

kept apart from the other detainees. We weren’t denied our comforts apart

from Tarek who was on Level 4.

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Isolation and Treatment – Rhuhel

240. In relation to the treatment and isolation experienced following the ‘discovery’ of

the Bin Laden video, Rhuhel says that ‘I was in my cage in a separate block to

the others and an interrogator called Sarah took me to interrogation. I was in

interrogation for about 8 hours. She went though my whole story again. Then

she says I will assess your paperwork as this was part of a tier three

interview, meaning if I passed I would move to the next stage. She also

recorded my voice at that time. At the end of the interview she asked what I

wore in Afghanistan. I said I took an Adidas tracksuit. She then pulled out a

photo which looked like a still from a video and there was someone circled in

it. She said who’s this? It was someone in an Adidas top but it was not me.

She said ‘you are lying the person in the picture is you.’ She pointed to

another man next to the guy in the Adidas top and said this is your friend Asif.

This went on for another 2 hours. By now I had been in interrogation for 11

hours. I was then taken back to my cage. The next day I was transferred to

isolation. I remained there for three months.

241. I was intervie wed every 3 or 4 days. The routine would be I was taken,

short shackled and the air conditioner would be turned up to make the room

freezing. The longest time I was short shackled was for about 6 or 7 hours.

After about one month I was seen by someone we c alled ‘Steve Smith’. He

used to be my previous interrogator before Sarah. He pulled out photos from

the video and said I had been lying to him. He said ‘we know it ’s you – admit

it!’. I said it’s not me and kept insisting on this. He kept me there for 7 hours.

Then I was not interrogated for ages until I saw James. He had a reputation as

a torturer. His office was the Brown building. He took me in and showed me

the photos again and insisted that I was in them. I was taken back to my cell,

but then a few days later we were all three moved to an Intel block. A week

after the move I did a stress analyzer test. He told me I had failed and that I

was lying. He then showed me the date of the photos which was ‘1.8.2000’. I

did not know whether this was the American dating system which would make

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it 8th January 2000 or the English system which would make it 1 August 2000.

On both dates I was England and I told him to get my police, community

service and probation records. He said he would check with MI5 who would

look into it. Despite this on other occasions, after I had left isolation I would

be taken to interrogation, short shackled and left in a room with very loud

heavy metal music and sometimes Eminem. This would usually last for 4 or 5

hours. The interrogator would never come. After about three weeks I saw

James and asked him about this but he denied it saying it was nothing to do

with him. He then told us he would transfer us to Romo and the Navy Intel

guy. Before I saw Romo, I saw Lucy and Alex from MI5 who asked about

where I was at the time of the photos. I believe they had the photos with them

and were just confirming things. The next day I saw Martin from the Foreign

Office who just asked how I was. He showed me two letters but I never

received them. After this we were dealt with by Romo and I was not short

shackled after that point. He was trying to be nice and took all three of us to

watch a movie. At my next interrogation with him he pulled out the photos and

said ‘admit it is you, be a man about it’. I got pissed off and said "yeah it’s me.

What are you going to do about it?" He said "it doesn’t matter if it is you, just

admit it." About a week after this I had my polygraph test.

242. I went into the room and there were two women from the FBI. I took about 4

tests and the woman says you failed all four and then said admit it is you. I

said if you think it is me then it’s me. She took me to another room and left me

in the cold without food for hours. She then took me back into the original

room but this time I wouldn’t talk to her. She got her colleague, a male, to

come and talk to me but we ended up arguing and swearing at each other. He

then calmed down but said he would send me to isolation. I told him, I did not

care. I told him Romo had already said the whole thing had been a big mistake

and the Army had ‘fucked up’. I think he contacted Romo whilst I was still in

the room. That’s why instead of sending me to isolation he sent me back to

the block with Asif and Shafiq. A few weeks later I got a new interrogator

called Leslie. She was an FBI agent.

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243. She hardly ever interviewed me and she eventually said that we would

probably be going home. She arranged for us to see movies on Sunday. This

was because they knew they had messed us about and tortured us for two

and half years and they hoped we would forget it.

244. Before we left five of us British detainees were taken to isolation.

Returning to England (Asif)

245. In relation to their return to the UK Asif says, ‘on Sunday 7th March I was taken

to see the Red Cross in Juliet building. This was just a formality for them to

check how I was before returning back to England. After that I was taken to

see some military officials who asked me to sign a piece of paper. I don’t

remember exactly what the piece of paper said but it was along the lines that I

was a member of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, however I have since changed. In

other words I had changed my mind since I was detained at Guantanamo Bay.

It went on to say that if I was suspected of anything at any time by the United

States, I could be picked up and returned to Guantanamo Bay. Whilst I was

shown this piece of paper I was also being photographed and filmed on video

camera. I said that I would not sign it. An officer said to me if you don’t sign it

you’re not going home. I didn’t really believe him’.

246. The men had known from at least four weeks earlier, having heard from the

military police and others that it was all over and that they would be returning to

England fairly soon. All three say this was the main reason they were not

intimidated by the demands to sign the document described by Asif. Asif goes on to

say that ‘I was brought back from my cell a few hours later and this time I sat

down and again more photographs were taken and film was taken and again

this same document was read to me and I was asked to sign. I refused again.

The woman who was dealing with me at that point asked if I agreed with the

statement and I said no’.

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247. One morning all five British detainees scheduled for return were taken from their

cells. Asif explains that they were to be taken for interrogation. They initially refused

to go or be shackled. As Asif explains ‘I was told that I had to have my beard

shaved off and if I refused they would use force, in other words they would

get the ERF team. When I refused the sergeant in charge said that I would

definitely "get ERFed". I said "we’ll see". However the captain in charge came

in and said they are going home anyway so what’s the point of shaving their

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beards off. Despite this some of the Army personnel working in the block

were telling us that we weren’t going home that we were going to spend the

rest of our lives in prison’.

248. That evening all five detainees were (separately) brought before the British

Embassy representative, Martin, and a police officer from the UK who read through

a document saying that he had a right to handcuff them and to use reasonable force

to move them. They were then each told that they would be returning to the UK the

next day.

249. The next day they were collected and transported to a plane that was waiting for

them. Despite protests from the Americans they were not hand cuffed and they

were flown back to the UK where they were arrested

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Contact with the outside world

250. Shafiq says, ‘When we were in Afghanistan and captured, first by the

Northern Alliance and then the Americans, we did not have any contact with

our families or anyone in England. We were not allowed to write and we did

not receive any correspondence. When we first arrived in Guantanamo Bay on

the first day after the shackles were removed after the horrendous journey, we

were told to write a letter. All I remember writing was that I was in American

custody. I could hardly write because my hands were so numb from having

been restrained in tight shackles for such a long period of time and when I

was asked to write my hands were still cuffed together. I don’t know whether

those letters were ever sent.

251. About two weeks after we had first arrived and were in Camp X-Ray the

Army came round with a piece of paper for each of us so that we could write

home to our family. I wrote home at that time. I didn’t hear anything from

home until around about the end of February 2002 when MI5 came to see us.

This was the second occasion when they came and they produced letters

from home. I was given a letter from my brother. I think he had received my

letter. After that we might get a letter perhaps once every two to three months.

We continued to write letters until around about August 2003 when suddenly

they stopped giving us any letters they may have received from home. For

about 6 or 7 months I had no communication at all from my family’. Nor, all

three men discovered later, had their families received any communications from

them for a similar time.

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Legal advice

252. Shafiq states that the question of their legal rights was very much on all the

detainees’ minds. He goes on to say, ‘we were never given access to legal

advice. I asked at various points but they just said that this is not America this

is Cuba and you have no rights here. Around about August 2003 I spoke to a

guard who told me that he’d seen my name on the internet and that I was

represented by a lawyer, Gareth Peirce in England. I never heard anything at

all from the interrogators, the Embassy or the Red Cross about the fact that a

case was being brought on my behalf through the US courts and was on its

way to the US Supreme Court. I only found out about that when I got back to

England. When we asked the interrogators and the Embassy and MI5 more

about what the guard had said about a legal case they said they knew

nothing.’

253. They were intended to be kept without hope and starved of information. Asif

says that in about January or February 2004 he had a conversation with a military

guard who told him that he was g oing to go home. He goes on to say that ‘the

guard who was moving me (I was shackled and being brought to Reservation)

said "It’s true, you’ve probably heard it loads of times before, but this time it’s

true". He told me that the US can’t fight my case, they will lose, and it will cost

them too much money so they are going to send me home anyway.

254. The guards never spoke to us when we were on the block but individual

guards on rare occasions passed on information when they were escorting

us.

255. About three or four weeks before we left, perhaps around the end of

February 2004, we saw the Red Cross and they said to us that "something’s

happening, but they are not sure exactly what" and they can’t tell us until it’s

confirmed. Then a week later they told us that Jack Straw had made a speech

in which he’d mentioned the five of our names and that we would be released’.

89

Red Cross

256. The International Red Cross used to visit the detainees from time to time to

inspect the camps and the conditions they were being held in. The men would see

them wandering around the blocks and occasionally they would call to see

detainees. Shafiq says that ‘ the guards would bring us one by one to see them.

We complained about the conditions and the Red Cross said that the Army

were not following all the guidelines. They were concerned about whether or

not complaints should be made or the matter taken to court because it would

mean that individuals would be completely cut off from contact with the family

as the Red Cross was the only means for contact’."

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Embassy visits

257. The officials from the British Embassy would always come together with officers

from MI5. All three believe they saw somebody from the Embassy on about six

separate occasions. They would ask if they had any problems but all three men got

the impression that the officials didn’t seem interested at all. Only Asif reports that

on one occasion an official wrote down his list of complaints but the only changes

came about as a result of the hunger strike by the prisoners themselves. Shafiq

says that on one occasion the Foreign Office was due to come but he was told their

plane hadn’t got to the island. When they came the next day it seems they’d come

with the MI5 officer who had arrived to interrogate them. When Shafiq asked the

Foreign Office official what was going on he said ask MI5. When he asked MI5 they

said ask the Foreign Office. The Foreign Office official asked him questions about

his welfare. Nobody explained why he was there. Asif also reports that on more than

one occasion the British Embassy officials acted as a third interrogator asking

questions that had nothing to do with their welfare but were of interest to the

interrogators. None of the men felt they could trust or rely upon the Embassy

officials.

258. Shafiq belie ves he was interrogated by British personnel on about 6 or 7

occasions. Despite asking on many occasions he was never allowed access to

lawyers. They were allowed to write home but they believe most of the letters were

never sent out and they received few from their families. When they flew back to

London, the Foreign Office man whom they knew as ‘Martin’ was present on the

flight. He told them to ‘make sure you say you were treated properly’.

259. All three men believe that the Foreign Office and MI5 were always in total cooperation

with the Americans. When they asked about going home, the Americans

would say "when the British want you home you can go home". But the British

would say "we can’t do anything because you are in US custody". When any of

them complained about the treatment in Guantanamo Bay, about the food and

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general conditions, the Foreign Office would always say there is nothing we can do.

They seemed to try and make a joke of it.

260. Shafiq also adds, ‘I would mention other problems. These included the lack

of any proper medical treatment, for example with my knees and my back

pain. We suffered sleep deprivation and did not get enough food. The water

was undrinkable and they disrespected our religion and the Koran. I raised all

these with the Embassy officials, sometimes they made brief notes, but didn’t

really comment on them and nothing changed. We asked about legal

representation but on each occasion they would just say ‘we don’t know

about that’. My impression was that they were told by the American

authorities that they could not tell us anything. I also thought it was fairly

certain that they had been briefed on everything that was going on, our

treatment, conditions of detention, what came up in the various interrogations

as well as our behaviour since they last visited. I am sure that they were aware

of the abuses for example the short shackling. They certainly knew that we

were in isolation for three months’.

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MI5

261. "From approximately July 2002 MI5 officers interrogated us without

American interrogators or guards present in the room. We were in exactly the

same physical circumstances of interrogation as when the Americans

interrogated us, sitting on a plastic chair shackled to the floor. We complained

to MI5 as well as the Foreign Office about all the things that were being done

to us in Guantanamo Bay. You couldn’t tell the difference between the MI5 and

the Foreign Office. Neither was interested in us other than to get information

we didn’t have. The last three interrogations Asif did not ta lk to them at all.

When we saw the Foreign Office we were chained in exactly the same way as

when we were being interrogated."

262. "Both MI5 and the Foreign Office wrote down on different occasions long

lists of all of our complaints. We all made complaints. We understand that

claims are now being made that we did not make complaints of at least some

of the things that happened to us. We complained about everything that was

being done to us and notes were made. We cannot believe how it can now be

being said that we did not complain. After the guards had told us that they

had seen on the news that we had a case happening on the outside we asked

the Foreign Office and MI5 and our American interrogators about it and they

all said they knew nothing. They didn’t bring us news."

263. "Primarily MI5 were interested in getting from us information about people

in England and the British detainees who were in Cuba but we didn’t have any

to give them. They also wanted us to get information out of other British

detainees."

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Re British interrogators

264. "We know that the British asked questions not just of British detainees but

certainly of French, Belgian, Danish, Swedish, Bosnian, Algerian and some

Arabs, Libyans, anyone they thought had either been in Britain or had

information about people in Britain."

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Suicides

265. While they were in Guantanamo Bay a large number of people tried to commit

suicide. In addition, of those a number tried to commit suicide repeatedly. The

attempts undoubtedly go into several hundred altogether, at least. (Asif recollects

the first instance of which he was aware was in Camp X-Ray. The first time Asif saw

it was during the day time. "Someone from Saudi Arabia just suddenly made a

noose and hanged himself in front of me. I and everyone else shouted and in

fact the guards came and he did not die."

266. "We were told by soldiers what happened to one detainee where we were

not present. Someone called Michal from Saudi Arabia who we understand

hung himself. His oxygen was cut off and he passed out. The guards took h im

down but then beat him up and now he is basically a cabbage. He is

apparently slowly recovering. For a while someone had to feed him but we

understood now he can eat by himself. We understand that he was in

intensive care for over a year. He never went back to the block again. As well

as being in intensive care he is apparently shackled to the bed by hand and

foot. The guards told us and Rhuhel saw him when he was in hospital seeing

a dentist. (This happened shortly prior to coming home – four days before

because we were coming home and they wanted to show we were being

treated decently. Rhuhel had been in pain for over a year and had been asking

to see a dentist for over a year.)"

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Medical care

267. They describe a very high percentage of detainees there are now on

antidepressants/Prozac and would say at least a hundred detainees have become

observably mentally ill as opposed to just depressed. "For at least 50 of those so

far as we are aware their behaviour is so disturbed as to show that they are no

longer capable of rational thought or behaviour. We do not describe in detail

here the behaviour but it is something that only a small child or an animal

might behave like. All of those who have become seriously mentally affected

seem to be kept in Delta block." Asif describes how the first time he walked past

Delta block on the way to interrogation he could hear strange inhuman noises. "The

military police told us that they liked working in Delta block because it was

‘easy work’. On Delta block they would have 16 people working as opposed to

four. Four of them would be medics, so you have very little work to do. Each

guard was watching about five people. They seemed to take a malicious

pleasure in describing the disturbed behaviour that they were watching. They

said that they were playing music for them like drums and that pornographic

pictures were put outside."

268. "These people were obviously seriously ill and yet we understand they still

get interrogated and if they say someone is from Al-Qaeda then that

information is used. Military police told us this. We did not get the impression

that what they were telling us they were making up for any purpose. The

guards who were telling us this were telling us it with amusement and

suggesting that they were getting information from people and that they were

doing basically the job they were meant to be doing, i.e. the mission was

successful."

269. "The last year we were there, on Christmas Day the guards came through

our cages with batons banging on the cages with dogs. The year before on

Christmas Day they had taken everyone’s sheets away apparently a rumour

having been spread which was completely untrue that everyone in the camp

96

was going to hang themselves. Dogs would be patrolling in the camp, around

the camp all the time but would be brought in about three times a day to

cages, into the blocks. They were Alsatians and the guards ordered them to

bark. Dogs were not used as directly as they were in Kandahar to intimidate

but we knew of instances where people had been bitten in Guantanamo by

dogs and there was always that fear that the dog would be let into your cell."

270. On one occasion this happened to Asif where as the dog went through the block

someone said ‘Meow’ and Asif got the blame and was intimidated by the guard who

came into his cell and brought the dog in.

271. There were aware of one man, Abdul Rahman Madini, a Saudi Arabian, where a

dog was brought in to bark at him throughout his interrogation. Another man,

Moussa Madini got bitten in his cell in isolation by a dog very badly, taking, they

understood a big chunk of his leg out, the muscle part of his calf. They understood

he was in hospital after that and then taken to Camp Echo. He was very mentally

affected and for instance, he would hardly eat. (Rhuhel used to be next to him.

Shafiq also saw him. He was extremely skinny and could eat very little. He would be

pacing around his cell really fast for hours. It would consist of stepping back and

stepping forward because there was no space at all. This is a recurrent theme in the

camp, that there are so many people seriously depressed and as a result they don’t

eat.) (The names referred to are familial names, as is customary.)

272. They noticed that detainees who had either visited America or lived in America

for any length of time were given a particularly rough time. They were all being

accused of being Al-Qaeda cells. These were men from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait,

Bahrain. These were people who had been, most of them, students. One man,

Jarullah, whose sister-in-law is in America and is American, was told that his sisterin-

law would be treated very badly in America and that she would be imprisoned.

They understood that he was told that she was already in prison in America and that

bad things were being done to her. They were interrogated more than anyone. Arab

nationals also had a particularly hard time. There were on the other hand Afghanis

97

and Pakistanis, mostly Afghanis, who were simply not interrogated for a very, very

long time. They were just there without any reason for keeping them there.

98

Re psychiatrists

273. "We are aware that there were a large number of psychiatrists at

Guantanamo Bay although we think they were not all qualified but many

trainees there. The whole camp was aware that one detainee had fallen in love

with a psychiatrist and cut her name in his arm. Her name was Fleur. She was

specialist E4. We heard that perhaps she was disturbed as well and was said

to have behaved most inappropriately with that detainee and that she was

removed to outside the wires."

274. "One psychiatrist there was good. He was a captain, actually a doctor. He

used to worry about people. You could tell from his face." When Rhuhel and

Asif complained about losing weight drastically he prescribed Ensure and MREs

(prepacked meals) for them. Shafiq says "we used to tell him about other

detainees who had problems and he would try to help. When he came on the

block he would come to us three first and ask us about other people. He was

unusual. The others would largely come to the block and ask us questions

like ‘do you want to kill yourself? Do you have any desire to kill American

soldiers? Or cellmates/inmates?’ If you answered ‘no’ to those questions then

they’d say ‘you’re okay’. The psychiatrist that we thought was good would

come onto the block with translators in Urdu, Arabic, Pashtu, Farsi and would

try to understand people’s problems. The others would come without

translators and then disappear for five or six days before a translator would

come back with them. He was unusual in that he was not prescribing Prozac

across the board like the others were. He’d look at your problem, like ‘you’ve

got no one to talk to’ and try to put you with someone. There was of course

only a limited amount that he could do."

275. "We didn’t know the name of the good psychiatrist. They had to cover their

names with black tape. The names that we know were because at the

beginning they didn’t have to cover up their names. We were told by soldiers

that the soldiers were told that they had to cover up their names because

99

when the detainees were released they would go home and then come back to

America and kill them. There were some who thought that they shouldn’t

cover their names and their attitude was ‘why should we?’ but they were

ordered to."

100

Shafiq – medical problems/injuries

276. In relation to the medical facilities at the camp Shafiq adds that ‘whilst I was in

Kandahar I started experiencing some problems with my knees. These

became a lot worse when I arrived at Camp X-Ray. I think the problem was

aggravated a lot by the position I was made to sit in for so long on the plane

journey. Throughout the time I was at Guantanamo and still today I have quite

a lot of pain in my knees. I experience pain when I’m walking or when I kneel

to pray. When I was at Guantanamo I asked for medical treatment. Often when

you asked a corps man for a doctor no-one would come. Occasionally when a

doctor was doing a round I would see him and explain my problems.

Sometimes the doctor would give me some painkillers. I was always given

them when I hadn’t had anything to eat so the tablets caused severe stomach

ache as the pain killers were obviously really strong.

277. I also had similar problems with my back. That seemed to start from when I

was in Camp Delta sleeping on metal bunks and when I was made to squat, or

sit, in really awkward positions. It was made much worse by the short

shackling. I still have back pain in my lower back. I have been to my GP who

can see there is a problem and has given me some medication.

278. The other injuries I have were from when I was handcuffed in Kandahar

and when I was on the plane. I got very bad cuts on my ankles and wrists from

the tightness of the cuffs. When we were taken off the plane they were

pushing us about and kicking us so I sustained bruising’.

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Rhuhel – medical problems/injuries

279. Rhuhel in particular has suffered irreversible damage to his eyes. He suffers

from a condition where the cornea of his eye is misshaping (into a shape like a

rugby ball). The condition is controllable by a gas permeable contact lens which is

what he had before he was detained. Throughout the time he was at Guantanamo

he was urgently asking for lenses and the solution to go with them. His family wrote

to him that they had sent lenses for him. No one ever told him they had come.

There was some contact between the American authorities and Rhuhel’s specialist

in England but still no lenses were ever provided. Every time he asked his

interrogators they would say "it’s not a holiday camp" . About a week before he

left some more lenses were produced but again with no correct solution. Since he

has seen his specialist and he has had it confirmed what he was of course aware of

himself, that his eyesight has drastically deteriorated as a result of the lack of any

medical attention at all. Rhuhel and Asif are also suffering from pain in their knees

and lower back pain for the same reasons as explained by Shafiq.

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Military personnel

280. One unit of guards came from Puerto Rican Infantry. They treated the detainees

like human beings. They were noticeably pleasanter than other units that were

based there. "They did their job professionally, ie treating us like human

beings. They were taken off duty. They told us that they were in trouble

because they were treating us well. They told us that they knew what was

right and what was wrong but that they got into trouble for doing what was

right. They were blamed, we understood, for all the problems in the camp. To

our knowledge it was not they who made problems. There were two units of

Puerto Ricans. We are aware that the first unit got sent to Iraq and the second

unit we believe also after it returned to America got sent to Iraq. The second

group of Puerto Rican soldiers was in fact split up into different units so that

they didn’t work as one unit. There was also a unit from the Virgin Islands who

were treated in a similar way. It was very clear to us that there was

discrimination and racism. The soldiers themselves used to tell us about the

racism and the discrimination they suffered."

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The state of some other prisoners

281. A few prisoners only are mentioned here.

1. Jamil el-Banna and Bisher al-Rawi

282. Asif says he was in Mike block in Camp Delta next to Suwad Al Madini (a Saudi

national whose wife is British and whose children are British, also known as Shakir

…). He recollects, "A large number of the men were brought into the block from

isolation. I believe they came in February 2003 having spent a month in

isolation in Guantanamo Bay after they arrived. Abu Ennis, Jamil el-Banna,

was put in the cell next to me. Given that he had been in isolation for a month

and before that in Bagram Airbase (and before that I understood in Gambia),

he was still coping but quite soon after he began to deteriorate. I didn’t talk to

him much about the Gambia but knew he’d gone there to set up a business.

He said that Bagram was very rough. When he arrived at Guantanamo he had

very little facial or head hair which he said had all been shaved off in Bagram

Airbase. He said that he had been forced to walk around naked, coming and

going from the showers, having to parade past American soldiers or guards

including women who would laugh at everyone who was put in the same

position. When he arrived at Guantanamo his English was not good and still is

not good. Bisher al-Rawi was placed on the same row of cells and he used to

translate for him. El-Banna was in constant pain from his joints because he

suffered from rheumatism and he was diabetic. He told them repeatedly that

he was diabetic and they would not believe him."

283. "They used to come and take his blood and say that there was nothing

wrong with him. Bisher al-Rawi also told them that el-Banna was not well.

When you come new they come and take your blood." (Shafiq recollects that

they were told by the guards and by the medical officers who were military, that

costs were being cut in respect of food and medicine. They said that the cost of the

military personnel was going up and that meant that they had to cut costs in other

ways which included food for the prisoners and medical care for the prisoners.

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284. "It was very noticeable by the time we left that the quality of food and the

amount of food had gone down. The food had been particularly bad at the

beginning. It had improved slightly during the time we were there, but used to

noticeably improve just before there was a visit from the Foreign Office."

285. (During the first Ramadan Asif recollects they were fasting, obviously. However

they would only be provided with two meals a day and those were drastically

reduced amounts like four teaspoonfu ls of rice. "We were under the firm

impression during the first Ramadan that it was part of a policy to stop us

fasting and to cause us to abandon our religious practices. When Ramadan

finished the food went back up to normal levels and therefore it was very

obvious that it was designed to put pressure on us to stop fasting, which also

the doctors and the guards were telling us to stop. The guards served us the

food who had been told (they told us this) that they were under orders to give

us that much food from their superior officers. When we asked after Ramadan

why we were back to normal sized rations we were told that the General had

ordered that now." )

286. "It was very clear that el-Banna was devoted to his family. He had

photographs of his children including his new daughter. These had come in

through the Red Cross. I can recollect one day when the interrogator came to

visit him in the block. When she visited him in the block he showed her the

pictures of his children and started crying and she said to him we’re trying to

get you out of here (this was an American interrogator), we know you’re an

innocent man. I could see as the months went by," says Asif, "that he was

worrying more and more and that this was having an effect on his mental

health. He constantly talked about his children and who would look after

them." (Asif and Shafiq both comment that the repeated questions for Jamil el-

Banna whom they questioned less than they questioned Bisher al-Rawi, concerned

Abu Qatada and where he was. In the light of the fact that Abu Qatada is known to

have been arrested in England in late 2002, it seems extraordinary that this was a

question that the Americans were asking.)

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287. Shafiq says that to his knowledge during the time that el-Banna was in

Guantanamo he lost about 40 kilos in weight. He started off as someone quite bulky

and became someone very, very thin. Asif is aware that el-Banna found it almost

impossible to eat the food that was provided. What was provided was a meal

packet. "The meal packets were what we could eat. We were told they cost $7

each and consisted of a main meal, pasta and Alfredo sauce, pasta and

vegetables in tomato sauce, black bean burrito, cheese tortellini. The soldiers

said that they were inedible, that they wouldn’t eat them, but to us they were

much much better than what we had before. There were more calories in them

and they were more filling. They weren’t nice but we felt fuller. Some of these

packages were marked to show they were over 12 years old. But then they

stopped them around July 2003 and we were told by the guards that they cost

too much. (However, a brand new cafeteria was built for the guards. At that

point we were told that they had ice cream added to their menu.) el-Banna

could manage to eat the packaged meals (called MRE), but he couldn’t eat

anything else. When they stopped giving those el-Banna couldn’t manage to

eat anything else. He told the doctors but the General said no one could have

these prepackaged meals anymore and he couldn’t eat what was on offer.

We’re completely sure that for the three weeks before we left he wasn’t able to

eat at all. Eventually we are aware that they put Bisher al-Rawi next to him

(they had been separated) to try to keep him going mentally and physically.

We would say that mentally basically he’s finished. The last thing we heard

about him this year before we came back to England was that when he went to

interrogation they told him that he was going to be sent back to Jordan and he

was extremely scared of that prospect. We knew that he’d been living in

England for about ten years and was a refugee and that his whole life was in

England and his wife and children. They were clearly the centre of his whole

existence and all he ever really thought about. The prospect of being sent to

Jordan meant to him the end of his life. He knew that he would be tortured or

killed there."

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2. Re Bisher al-Rawi

288. Asif and Shafiq both remember that he was taken for a lie detector test about

two weeks after he arrived from isolation in Guantanamo Bay (about six weeks after

he got to Cuba), and was told that he’d passed it. He was put up to Level 1, the

highest level (when Shafiq was there) but then "for reasons we don’t know and

after he’d passed his lie detector test we suddenly heard that he was in

isolation and the ‘privileges’ that he’d been given like magazines were taken

away as was everything else. We asked him later on when we saw him why

he’d been put in isolation and he had no idea. They kept saying to him that he

knew more than he was saying.

289. Bisher al-Rawi had an armband on saying ‘Iraq’ and Jamil el-Banna had an

armband on saying ‘Jordan’, even though both of them lived in England.

290. When Bisher was put in isolation they shaved his head and beard. We

know that Bisher was interrogated probably more than 5 0 times (unlike el-

Banna who was probably not interrogated more than about five times). We

don’t know the exact reasons why Bisher al-Rawi’s hair and beard were

shaved off but we know that what used to happen to others would be that if

you said you didn’t want to go to interrogation you would be forcibly taken

out of the cell by the ERF team. You would be pepper-sprayed in the face

which would knock you to the floor as you couldn’t breathe or see and your

eyes would be subject to burning pain. Five of them would come in with a

shield and smack you and knock you down and jump on you, hold you down

and put the chains on you. And then you would be taken outside where there

would already be a person with clippers who would forcibly shave your hair

and beard. Interrogators gave the order for that to be done; the only way in

which this would be triggered would be if you were in some way resisting

interrogation, in some way showing that you didn’t want to be interrogated. Or

if during interrogation you were non-cooperative then it could happen as well.

291. (It was our view that they were looking for vulnerabilities all the time and

that the people who seemed most comfortable having a beard or most used to

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it, those were the ones that they would shave it off. We think with the three of

us that they thought we would not be so affected if it happened to us. They

would watch how you wash, how you eat, how you pray and the guards would

talk to you and perhaps because we sounded more like the guards

themselves and western that they did not think that we had those same

vulnerabilities. They undoubtedly thought we had vulnerabilities, but different

ones such as liking to talk to people, not liking to be alone, etc., and those

were the ones they focused on with us.)

292. According to Bisher they seemed obsessed with what he was doing in

Gambia and who sent him there and where he got the money from to go and

to finance their business project. They were still asking him about a battery

charger that he had in his possession in his baggage on the plane. The

Americans were asking him about that.

3. Moazzam Begg

293. Moazzam Begg we never saw. We only heard about him, particularly from

Saad Al Madini, who was a Pakistani brought up in Saudi Arabia. He had been

in Bagram Airbase with Moazzam Begg and he had himself been taken from

Bagram Airbase. He had been we think handed over by Indonesia to the

Americans, kept in Bagram Airbase, taken from Bagram Airbase to Egypt

where he had been tortured and then taken back to Bagram and then to

Guantanamo.

294. While we never saw Moazzam Begg, we did talk to guards who had had

contact with him and they told us that he had been in isolation all the time he

was there and had only seen them and no one else. Four guards told us that

he was in a very bad way. In addition, he was in Bagram for a year and no one

that we know of had ever been there for a year and must be in a worse state

coming out of it. People coming from there used to tell us that there was a

British guy imprisoned there and that must have been Moazzam Begg.

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295. We don’t know but have the impression that he may have had ‘admissions’

forced out of him at Bagram which he did not want to continue when he got to

Guantanamo Bay and the authorities kept him in isolation to stop him being

able to go back on what he may have said or to have the chance of getting any

support from anyone else that might cause him to resist what they wanted.

We believe that he was in isolation in Camp Delta and then in isolation in

Camp Echo. The impression we have is that the point of keeping people in

complete isolation in Camp Echo was so that they would in every way be

under the control of the people who held them there. They would have no

other information than what they were given by the guards or the

interrogators and would be o bliged to put all their trust in what they said and

would know nothing whatsoever about what was happening in the outside

world or even in Guantanamo Bay. The guards were especially picked to go to

Echo. We talked to people who had come back from Camp Echo.

4. Mamdouh Habib

296. One was Mamdouh Habib, who was the Australian. He said that there was

no natural light at all there. Even when you went to the shower, which was

‘outside’, it was still sealed off so you couldn’t see any natural light at all. You

couldn’t tell what time of day or night it was. You were in a room and a guard

was sitting outside watching you 24 hours a day. That was his job, just to sit

outside the cell and watch you.

297. Habib himself was in catastrophic shape, mental and physical. As a result

of his having been tortured in Egypt where he was taken from Bagram and

then brought back, he used to bleed from his nose, mouth and ears when he

was asleep. We would say he was about 40 years of age. He got no medical

attention for this. We used to hear him ask but his interrogator said that he

shouldn’t have any. The medics would come and see him and then after he’d

asked for medical help they would come back and say if you cooperate with

your interrogators then we can do something. (Shafiq says "Habib told me this

and I have also heard them say it to other detainees as well".) Asif recollects

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that "another man who’d been taken to Egypt and tortured there, Saad Al

Madini, was also refused medical assistance for the same reason. We know

from Al Madini that he had had electrodes put on his knees and that

something had happened to his knees and something had happened to his

bladder and he had problems going to the toilet. He told us that when he was

in interrogation he was told by the interrogators that if he cooperated he

would be first in line for medical treatment.

5. Omar Khadr

298. Rhuhel recollects "the same thing also, we are aware, happened to a young

Canadian man, Omar Khadr, who was aged 17 when we left. He had been shot

three times at point blank range and his lung punctured and had shrapnel in

one eye and a cataract in the other. They would not operate on him. He was

told that was because he would not cooperate. We were told one time when he

was in isolation he was on the floor very badly ill. The guards called the

medics and they said they couldn’t see him because the interrogators had

refused to let them. We don’t know what happened to him (he had had some

sort of operation when he was still in Afghanistan but he was in constant pain

in Guantanamo and still undoubtedly is and they would not give him pain

killers." (He was one door from Rhuhel in the same block and all three used to talk

to him.)

6. Mohamed Rajab

299. One man, a Yemeni, Mohamed Rajab, was in a particularly bad state. Every

two hours he would get moved from cell to cell, 24 hours a day, seven days a

week, sometimes cell to cell, sometimes block to block, over a period of eight

months. He was deprived of sleep because of this and he was also deprived of

medical attention. He’d lost a lot of weight. We were aware that he had a

painful medical problem, haemorrhoids, and that treatment was refused

unless he cooperated. He said he would cooperate and had an operation.

However, the operation was not performed correctly and he still had

problems. H e would not cooperate. We were aware that shortly before we

110

came back to England he was put into Romeo block where you were stripped

naked. We would see people go and come from Romeo. When they went they

would go fully clothed. When they came back they would only have shorts on.

They told us that they would have all their clothes taken off in the cell. The

Red Cross is aware of this. If the interrogators after that thought you should

be allowed clothes, then you were allowed them. This appeared to be an openended

process depending on the interrogation and the interrogators. The

people we know who went to that block were not people who caused

problems or were disruptive. The whole application of these measures was

entirely to do with interrogators and whether they thought they were getting

out of them what they could and should get out of them. All the Bosnians

were there for instance.

7. Algerian detainees kidnapped in Bosnia

300. "By Bosnians we mean six Algerians who were unlawfully taken from

Bosnia to Guantanamo Bay. They told us how they had won their Court case

in Bosnia. As they walked out of Court, Americans were there and grabbed

them and took them to Camp X-Ray, January 20, 2002. They arrived five days

after us. They were treated particularly badly. They were moved every two

hours. They were kept naked in their cells. They were taken to interrogation

for hours on end. They were short shackled for sometimes days on end. They

were deprived of their sleep. They never got letters, nor books, nor reading

materials. The Bosnians had the same interrogators for a while as we did and

so we knew the names which were the same as ours and they were given a

very hard time by those. They told us that the interrogators said if they didn’t

cooperate that they could ensure that something would happen to their

families in Algeria and in Bosnia. They had dual nationality. They had families

in Bosnia as well as in Algeria.

301. (From what we could see interrogators used to prey on particular groups

of nationality so that Europeans would have the same interrogators, North

Africans would have the same, etc.). One of the methods of interrogation was

111

to say that someone in Cuba had told them that we were in a particular place,

for instance, the video we’ve described and training camps in Kandahar.

When we asked who it was, they would not tell us."

302. (On one occasion Asif was told who had implicated him because he was shown

the photograph of a particular detainee in Guantanamo and told that that man had

implicated him and said that you were in a mosque in a training camp in

Afghanistan. However, this was a detainee whom Asif knew was mentally ill. Before

Asif was told this the man was placed in a cell opposite him for about five days and

then taken away and it was after that that Asif was accused. "We could see the

process by which the interrogators seemed to get excited, because they

finally got some piece of ‘real’ evidence and simply didn’t care that it had

come from someone who was mentally unbalanced. One of the interrogators

did also let slip that another detainee had identified us as the three who were

in the video and said he’d seen us in Guantanamo Bay." (Shafiq recollects

examples of interrogators inventing ‘information’ about us, about the three, and then

informing other detainees of it. For example, one detainee came back after

interrogation and said he’d been told that Shafiq said that he and another detainee

should not be put together because they were in dispute with each other which was

completely untrue. Shafiq had never said anything like that.

303. "We were told by one Algerian (not one of the Bosnian Algerians) that he

had been taken to interrogation and been forced to stand naked. He also told

us he had been forced to watch a video supposedly showing two detainees

dressed in orange, one sodomising the other and was told that it would

happen to him if he didn’t cooperate."

304. An issue that all three men have concerns about is the treatment of those

detainees from countries with a worse human rights record than the UK. Whilst in

the Chinese block Asif managed to understand from one of the other detainees that

they had originally all denied they were from China. They had apparently said they

were Afghani. He says that they were very rarely interviewed. Eventually the

Americans told them that if they admitted where they were from they would not tell

112

their governments (it seems they did not know if they were Chinese or from one of

the Southern republics due to their dialect). The detainees admitted to being

Chinese and within one month Chinese officials arrived to interrogate them. The

Chinese officials told them that the US had provided full co-operation. If they are

returned to China they will all be executed. All three men report similar concerns in

relation to the Russian detainees. It seems that a number of these (possibly 20)

have been returned to Russia and their fate is unknown.

8. David Hicks

305. Asif says "I first saw David Hicks in Camp X -Ray. He was a very surprising

sight. A tiny white guy not more than 5’3" with a lot of tatto os on him. He told

us he had endured an extremely bad experience having been held on a ship

where he had been interrogated by Americans and hooded and beaten.

Despite that experience, he was in better shape then that he was when we last

saw him in Mike block. We thought that he had gone downhill. By downhill

we mean that he seemed to be losing all hope and more willing to co-operate

as a result. We were interrogated a lot but he used to get interrogated every

two to three days, sometimes every day. He was told that if he didn’t

cooperate he would never go home. It started when he was moved to Delta,

that he began to be moved all the time. They wouldn’t let him settle with

anyone. We met him again in Mike block after Delta and had the impression

that he was being forced to make admissions, the "force" consisting of offers

of benefits if he co-operated and removal of anything that could make life

slightly easier if he did not. We were aware for instance that he needed

essential medical treatment for a hern ia and that he was told he would only

get it if he cooperated. We do not know the reason for his appearance when

he arrived at Mike block; he had always been proud of his hair, but when he

arrived there his head hair was shaved off, although he still had a beard. We

were told by some guards that he was taken to Echo after he started cooperating

and that in Echo he had access to more basic comforts as a reward,

although It is our understanding that he was in Camp Echo i.e. in complete

isolation from the summer of 2003 onwards and we presume still there, where

113

the only people he could communicate with would be interrogators. The same

guards also told us that he had been taken out of Echo for another operation,

but we don’t know if that is correct

9. The Kuwaitis

306. Fouad Mahmoud Al Rabiah was a businessman, we understand, who had

studied in America and graduated from Miami in aeronautical engineering. To

us he sounded Scottish. He had lived in England/Scotland for approximately

ten years. He was given a particularly hard time, being constantly moved

around, every two hours, after General Miller came to the Camp. He took his

polygraph test and passed a long time ago and was initially sent to the best

section of the Camp but then brought back again after a while. He got

extremely harsh treatment including short shackling. Because he was

educated, we understand, wealthy, and they were determined that he had to

be part of a cell. We understood that he was seized in Pakistan, basically sold

by the Pakistanis and then the Americans invented accusations to try and fit.

In 2004 the Kuwaiti government came and told all the Kuwaitis that they would

be going home in June. When they wanted to know what would happen to

them when they got home, they were told "you will find out when you get

home." We could see that he was suffering from serious depression, losing

weight in a substantial way and very stressed because of the constant moves,

deprived of sleep and seriously worried about the consequences for his

children. Every father in the camp had a huge worry about his family which

added to the stress.’ Shafiq recollects when he was next to him in isolation that he

was suffering from serious stomach pains and that medication was denied. He was

told that he couldn’t receive medication unless he cooperated.

10. Other detainees (including detainees sold to the Americans)

307. Asif describes a disturbing number of detainees who have clearly been sold. All

three are convinced that there must be a paper trail which will show huge sums of

money paid out by the USA for many of those now in Guantanamo. These are

some examples (some of the names are familial names, as is customary).

114

a) ‘Two brothers from Pakistan, one is a scholar the other a reporter,

reason they are there because they were having a feud with another

family, the other family told some people they are al Qaeda now they are

in Cuba. Both were sure that the Americans were paying money for

captives.

b) Numerous other people in Cuba who are from Afghanistan and Pakistan

were sure they had been sold by corrupt individuals. A lot of people who

were having land disputes were sold by the disputers to the Americans.

These people were brought to Cuba. The Americans know they are

innocent but still they are not letting them go.

c) Abu Ahmed Makki, a Saudi Arabian citizen married to a Pakistani wife

lived in Pakistan with his wife and was arrested in Pakistan by the

Pakistan authorities. Most of his possessions were taken including his

motorbike and cash. Upon his release in Pakistan by the authorities he

asked for his valuables back but he was re-arrested and handed over to

the Americans who took him to Cuba and he has been there for over two

years. He was told he should not be there but they wanted him to spy in

the camp for them. He was told once he had cooperated and helped the

Americans they would release him.

d) Abu Ahmad Sudani, a teacher in Pakistan who has a wife and a child in

Pakistan believes he also was sold to the American forces. He was told

that he would be released over a year ago but he is still in Cuba. He

doesn’t know when they will release him to. He wants to go to Pakistan

because his wife and child are in Pakistan. His wife and child are

Pakistani nationality and he is a Sudani. ’

e) One Afghani man, a farmer about 55 years old, is a farmer from Bamyam.

He was next to Shafiq. He speaks Farsi and although in Cuba for over a

year was only interrogated on two occasions; on one occasion there was

no Farsi translator and he was brought back to his cage. He does not

know what he has done to be in Cuba. He doesn’t even know where

Cuba is! He is depressed, scared and badly affected.

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11. Camp Four

308. Asif says ‘numerous other detainees have been told that their interrogation

has finished, they have passed numerous tests e.g. lie detector, stress

analyser test. They have been taken to Camp 4 but they still have not been

released.

309. It is called a medium security section. When we were in Guantanamo there

were four blocks. One block has four bays in it. Each bay has ten or twelve

people in. Instead of wearing orange they all would be wearing white. These

are the detainees who are always shown on TV playing football. They don’t

wear chains or shackles. They are said to be people who are about to go

home but they yet have been there about one year. These are examples of the

hundreds of people who should never have been in Cuba in the first place.

The authorities seem paralyzed. They can’t send them home, they don’t

bother to interrogate them so they are just stuck.’

Shafiq Rasul

Asif Iqbal

Rhuhel Ahmed

26th July 2004

 


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