7th APRIL 2015 - Vol.XXXVIII No.018
Local News

I am losing my mind behind these horrible prison walls

A BAHRAINI detainee at Guantanamo Bay has written his own chilling account of violence, torture and humiliation at the hands of his captors. Juma Al Dossary's words paint a haunting picture of the brutality, desperation and hopelessness of life in the cages of the notorious US camp in Cuba.

"There is no-one by my side to talk to me in this dark isolation, no-one to take away my pain, no-one I can complain to," he writes.

"I am alone in this foreign land and my only comfort is the Holy Quran."

Mr Al Dossary tells of being interrogated 600 times in three years, of being beaten, sexually humiliated, fed rotten food and denied medical treatment.

Such is his distress that he says he could barely bring himself to write down what had happened to him, when lawyers suggested he put it all down on paper earlier this year.

"When I held the pen to write about my anguish and sorrow I did not know where or how to start," he says.

"What I have seen is far greater than what can be written on paper and just remembering what I have seen of the atrocities, which continue to this day, my grief and pain is renewed.

"My hand holding this pen is trembling. How do I begin to write about this tragedy,yes, tragedy in every sense of the word ?

"How do I recount these atrocities, horrible torture and abuse?

"I will write a story that has no end. I will write about years and months of suffering.

"From here, from behind these horrible prison walls, I write these lines about the life I spent and am still spending in American detention camps.

"Words of humiliation and anger at the attacks against me, my religion, my dignity and my humanity.

"I write in the name of combating terrorism to whoever reads my words.

"I write the story of my suffering from the time I was abducted from the Pakistani borders, being sold to the American forces and up to now in Guantanamo, Cuba."

The moving account has just been sent to the now dissolved Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, by US lawyers representing the six Bahraini detainees at Guantanamo.

There are no censorship marks on the handwritten pages, but two were removed by US authorities before the manuscript, written in July this year, was released to lawyers.

Mr Al Dossary describes being brutally beaten by up to eight guards and being forced to walk on broken glass, then having his face pushed down into it.

He describes an incident in 2002 reported in the GDN last week, in which he was stripped naked then shackled to the floor on his back, while a female interrogator squatted nude over him and smeared him with her menstrual blood.

In another incident, he alleges he was forced to watch a man and woman having sex, before being offered sex with the woman if he co-operated with interrogators.

The list of alleged incidents of abuse appears endless and Mr Al Dossary,who is thought to have attempted suicide more than once, says even the memory of them is torture.

"As I recall these incidents, I feel that I am losing my mind and my body is shivering, with a painful feeling deep inside me," he writes.

"Did I really live through these incidents? The images of those hours of torture will haunt me forever.

"The worst part was the psychological torture, which is far worse than physical torture.

"Physical torture will only bring me closer to God, but psychological torture devastated my soul.

"Due to the severe psychological pressure on me, I can't even stand. Even tears that normally calm the soul have failed me."

Mr Al Dossary says conditions at Guantanamo are so bad that even some of the guards are disgusted.

"I once overheard one of the American soldiers say that he would not even allow his dog live in a place like this," he writes.

"He said his dog back in the US lived in a place a hundred times better than here."

His anguish is evident in his words, though the handwriting is intricate and tidy.

"I write these words from behind the walls of this horrible detention centre," writes the 30-year-old, who has an 11-year-old daughter growing up without him.

"I write these words with my pain and grief.

"I don't know what the future will bring, what fate is hiding from me nor when all this will end and how will it end."

Mr Al Dossary says he fell into American hands after being duped by Pakistani forces.

He says he was on his way to the Bahraini embassy in Pakistan, after leaving Afghanistan in late 2001, but was detained by Pakistani soldiers. His "suffering and anguish" began at the hands of the Pakistanis.

"I met squads of the Pakistani military who were stationed there to abduct those leaving Afghanistan," he alleges.

"I told them that I wanted to go to my country's embassy and they welcomed me with deception and trickery."

Mr Al Dossary says he was moved to several prisons and later to the Pakistani military base in Kohat, on the northern border.

Here he alleges he was beaten during interrogation, detained in dirty prison cells, was forced to eat appalling food and had his property stolen.

"I was badly treated and was beaten several times during interrogation," writes Mr Al Dossary.

Weeks later, he says he and other detainees were told that a human rights organisation wanted to meet them and that they would hand them over to their respective countries.

"Instead, they handed us over to the American forces, who took us back to the same prison, where we were interrogated by US intelligence forces," he writes.

From there, the detainees were later taken into Kohan airport and put on a plane to Kandahar, where Mr Al Dossary had claimed he was beaten and abused by US soldiers.

"I was interrogated by two Ameri-cans and I asked them why was I being tortured, when they had not even began interrogating me," he said.

"I told them, give me a blank piece of paper and I will sign whatever you want.

"After the interrogators left me, a number of soldiers came back and hit me again.

"They took me to a place where there was broken glass and they forced me to walk on it bare foot.

"A soldier then pushed me from behind, I fell to the ground and my face hit the broken glass."

At first Mr Al Dossary did not want to put his name to his manuscript, because of his "shame" at the humiliation and abuse he says he has endured.

"However, I changed my mind after receiving a letter from my lawyer explaining the importance of revealing my name to the media and to convince other detainees to do the same, so that the world would know what happened and is happening in Cuba," he said.

"This is in addition to what I had heard about some American officials who denied any human rights violations in Cuba or any sexual abuse against detainees.

"What I am writing are facts, incidents and documented events that were witnessed by other detainees and representatives from the International Committee of the Red Cross as well as soldiers, interrogators and translators.

"All these events are filmed by a video camera and the film has been kept in a secret archive some place."

Mr Al Dossary is listed by US authorities as an "enemy combatant".

They claim he went to Afghanistan in November 2001 as a member of Al Qaeda and that he was at Tora Bora, where Osama bin Laden was thought to be in hiding.

Mr Al Dossary allegedly crossed the border into Pakistan in December 2001 without any documentation and surrendered to Pakistani authorities.

Lawyers representing the six say their best hope for freedom is if Bahrain reaches a deal with the US, as other countries have done.

Bahrain says it is "making progress" in talks aimed at bringing home the detainees.

The other five Bahraini detainees are Essa Al Murbati, Salah Abdul Rasool Al Blooshi, Adel Kamel Hajee, Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa and Abdulla Majid Al Naimi.

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