- Prisoners at Guantanamo Bay were subjected to Abu Ghraib-style
torture and sexual humiliation in which they were stripped naked, forced
to sodomise one another and taunted by naked female American soldiers,
according to a new report.
- Some of the abuse has been captured on videotape.
- Based on the testimony of three former British prisoners
who spoke with other detainees, the report details a brutal yet carefully
choreographed regime at the US prison camp in which abuse was meted out
in a manner judged to have the "maximum impact". Those prisoners
with the most conservative Muslim backgrounds were the most likely to be
subjected to sexual humiliation and abuse while those from westernised
backgrounds were more likely to suffer solitary confinement and physical
- In addition to the sexual and physical humiliation, the
report based on testimony provided by Rhuhel Ahmed, Asif Iqbal and Safiq
Rasul the so-called Tipton Three also details how prisoners had their religion
mocked. "There was a clear policy to try to force people to abandon
their religious faith," says one extract of the report, obtained by
The Independent. The report also details how prisoners were injected with
unknown drugs during interrogation sessions and were told they would only
receive medicine if they co-operated with interrogators.
- It was also reported that elsewhere in the report, Mr
Ahmed claims he was questioned for three hours by a British interrogator
claiming to be from the SAS while an American colleague held a gun to his
- Sir Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs
spokesman, said last night: "These allegations make profoundly unpleasant
reading. If they are true, they demonstrate a level of behaviour far short
of what is acceptable. The American authorities said that the Geneva Conventions
did not apply in Guantanamo Bay, but nevertheless they abide by their terms.
It seems they have signally failed to do so and one can't help drawing
a parallel with what happened at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad."
- Five British prisoners were released without charge from
Guantanamo Bay, on a US naval base on the south-east coast of Cuba, last
March and freed within a day by the British authorities. Another four remain:
Feroz Abbasi, Moazzam Begg, Martin Mubanga and Richard Belmar. Three UK
residents, Bisher al-Rawi, Jamil al-Banna and Jamal Abdullah, are also
there. It is understood that Mr Begg and Mr Abbasi, have been held in total
isolation for more than a year.
- The abuse detailed in the report, compiled by British
and American lawyers and being released today in New York by the Centre
for Constitutional Rights, is likely to trigger fresh outrage about the
way the US military treats prisoners. Investigators are examining allegations
of widespread abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prisoner west of Baghdad.
Male prisoners were abused, tortured and sexually humiliated by their US
guards. They are also investigating the deaths of several prisoners in
US military custody.
- One factor which links Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib
is Gen Geoffrey Miller, the former commander of the Cuban prison who left
to take charge of Abu Ghraib in August last year. Mr Miller reportedly
told his staff in Iraq that his intention was to turn the prison into an
intelligence hub and "Gitmoize" the operation (Guantanamo is
known in the US as Gitmo).
- The allegations in the report match those made by other
released prisoners. This week the French newspaper LibÈration detailed
claims by two French men who said they had been physically and sexually
abused, urinated on and refused medical treatment. And in a sworn statement
yesterday, Tarek Dergoul, another Briton, said he had been beaten, tied
up "like a beast", sprayed with pepper gun and had his head forced
down the toilet. He claimed the brutality was recorded on video. The Foreign
Office said yesterday no allegations of ill-treatment had been passed to
British officials when they visited inmates.
- 'I was tied up like a beast and beaten'
- A British prisoner at Guantanamo Bay said yesterday that
he was interrogated for up to 10 hours at a time while chained like a dog
to a metal ring in the floor.
- During his incarceration, Tareq Dergoul said that he
had endured similar abuse and humiliation to that meted out to the Iraqi
inmates of Baghdad's Abu Ghraib jail.
- In a sworn statement, he said he had been beaten, tied
up "like a beast", sprayed with a pepper gun and had his head
forced down the lavatory. He said the brutality was recorded on video camera.
- Mr Dergoul, from Mile End, east London, was picked up
by US forces in Afghanistan where he says he had travelled to buy property.
He was held in Guantanamo Bay for 22 months - including more than a year
in the isolation block - before being released without charge.
- He also said that he was stripped, subjected to a full
body search and photographed while naked, given forcible injections, forced
to lie on a metal bunk without bedding in freezing conditions, and refused
medical treatment when suffering frostbite. He later had to have a big
toe amputated. Mr Dergoul, 26, said he was put in solitary confinement
for translating from English for other prisoners and that soldiers mocked
the Koran, played loud music and forced him to look at pornographic magazines
during interrogation. "If I refused a cell search, military police
would call the extreme reaction force, who came in riot gear with plastic
shields and pepper spray. The ERF entered the cell, ran in and pinned me
down after spraying me and attacked me."
- He said he had been told to sign a form admitting he
was a member of al-Qa'ida, but had refused. His lawyer, Louise Christian,
said he had been a victim of a systematic regime of abuse "directed
and ordered by the top command".
- BRITONS HELD AT CAMP DELTA
- Feroz Abbasi, 23: Moved to Britain from Uganda aged eight.
May have attended Finsbury Park mosque. Arrested in Afghanistan.
- Moazzam Begg, 36: Ran a religious bookshop in Birmingham.
Was arrested in Islamabad in February 2002, then moved to Cuba in February
- Richard Belmar, 23: Held in Pakistan before being moved
to Cuba. Worshipped at Regent's Park mosque, close to his home in Maida
Vale, north London.
- Martin Mubanga, 29: Has joint Zambian and British nationality.
Lived in London. Was arrested in Zambia after reportedly arriving there
- Asif Iqbal, 22: Parcel depot worker from Tipton. Picked
up in Afghanistan. Family had suggested he go to Pakistan to meet a bride.
- Shafiq Rasul, 24: Captured in Afghanistan. From Tipton.
Travelled to Pakistan in 2001 for a computer course.
- Rhuhel Ahmed, 21: Left for Pakistan in 2001 with Rasul
and Iqbal to attend wedding. Held in Kandahar before being sent to Cuba.
- Jamal al-Harith or Jamal Udeen 37: Web designer. Believed
to have been captured in a Kandahar jail.
- Tarek Dergoul, 24: Former east London care worker. Believed
to have been sent to Cuba in May 2002.
- © 2004 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/story.jsp?story=547708