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General Topic Areas

Rendition (35)
legalProceedings (41)
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Coverup (48)
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Prisoner deaths (20)
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Types of abuses performed by Americans

Use of dogs (11)
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Poor conditions (18)
Suppression Religion (7)
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Extreme temperatures (16)
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Ghost detainees (5)
Sexual temptation (2)

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Internal memos/reports (33)

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Qala-i-Janghi massacre (20)

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Mahmud Sardar Issa (3)
Khalifa Abdi (3)
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Assad (3)
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Abd al-Rahim al Nashiri (1)
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Unnamed prisoners
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Torture, rendition, and other abuses against captives in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere

 
  

Project: Prisoner abuse in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

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March 17, 2002

       US troops raid a compound in Sangesar, a village close to Kandahar, and arrest more than thirty anti-Taliban fighters, presumably by mistake. Taken to Kandahar, they are “thrown down,” face first, onto the ground, by US soldiers. One detainee later recalls: “They picked me up and threw me down on the rocks. It was painful. I couldn't rest on my chest. When I moved they kicked me.” Another says he is held by the feet and head and kicked in the back repeatedly. [Associated Press, 3/23/2002 cited in Human Rights Watch, 2004]
People and organizations involved: Taliban, Human Rights Watch
          

September 13, 2002

       The FBI arrests six US citizens with a Yemeni background, on information provided by the CIA: Sahim Alwan, Mukhtar al-Bakri, Faysal Galab, Yahya Goba, Shafel Mosed and Yaseinn Taher. Five are arrested in their hometown Lackawanna, a suburb of Buffalo, New York. The sixth, who is connected to the other five, is arrested in Bahrain and then transferred to the US. [CBS News, 11/9/2002] They are hereafter nicknamed “the Lackawanna Six.” They reportedly traveled to Afghanistan in April and May 2001 to join in Islamic jihad and receive military training at the Al Farouq camp run by al-Qaeda. They also allegedly met with Osama bin Laden. They are believed to have been encouraged to go to Afghanistan by two American veteran mujaheddin, Juma al-Dosari and Kamal Derwish, who fought in the war in Bosnia and who visited Lackawanna in early 2001. [Washington Post, 7/29/2003]
People and organizations involved: Juma al-Dosari, Yaseinn Taher, Kamal Derwish, Shafel Mosed, Faysal Galab, Yahya Goba, Sahim Alwan, Mukhtar al-Bakri
          

October 21, 2002

       A federal jury indicts the Lackawanna Six on two counts of providing material support to terrorism. They are charged with supporting terrorism because they trained at the al-Farooq camp in Afghanistan, run by al-Qaeda. If found guilty, they could face up to 15 years in prison. All of them plead not guilty. [CBS News, 10/22/2002]
          

November 25, 2002

       According to an FBI transcript of an interrogation session, a Guantanamo detainee tells his interrogator that over the weekend he has been informed by guards that there would be “four basic classes of detainees with regard to privilege/discipline issues.” All rewards and punishments would be based on detainees' behavior and their level of cooperation with investigators, the detainee was apparently told. Rewards that might be given to detainees include cold water and the ability to store food in their cells. Serious violators of camp regulations would be relegated to isolation units. [Sources: FBI, 11/25/2002] Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller is generally credited with introducing this system of rewards and punishments. [Washington Post, 5/16/2004]
People and organizations involved: Geoffrey D. Miller
          

February 6, 2003

       Newsday reports that Vincent Cannistraro, a former intelligence official, told reporters, “Better intelligence has come from a senior al-Qaeda detainee who had been held in the US base at Guantanamo, Cuba, and was ‘rendered’ to Egypt after refusing to cooperate. ‘They promptly tore his fingernails out and he started to tell things.’ ” [Human Rights Watch, 5/7/2004]
People and organizations involved: Vincent Cannistraro
          

April-June 2003

       At an Iraqi police station in Samarra, a town north of Baghdad, Sgt. Greg Ford witnesses soldiers repeatedly abuse detainees during interrogations. Ford, a soldier from the California National Guard, is part of a four-member team of the 223rd Military Intelligence Battalion. He sees his three fellow team members threaten prisoners with guns, stick lit cigarettes in their ears, and strangle them until they collapse. At one point he witnesses his team leader point a pistol at a detainee's head. On another occasion, he sees one of the soldiers stand on the back of the neck of a handcuffed detainee and pull his arms until they pop out of their sockets. Sgt. Ford later recalls trying to prevent the abuse. “I had to intervene because they couldn't keep their hands off of them. You weren't supposed to stand on their neck or put lit cigarettes in their ears. Twice I had to pull burning cigarettes out of detainees' ears.” In June, according to Ford, he reports the incidents to his commanding officers, but they dismiss his complaints. “Immediately, within the same conversation, the command said, ‘Nope, you're delusional, you're crazy, it never happened.’ They gave me 30 seconds to withdraw my request for an investigation.” But, he adds, “I stood my ground.” He is then ordered to see combat stress counselors, who send him out of Iraq. The Commander of the 223rd Military Intelligence Battalion, Lt. Col. Drew Ryan, later says, “All the allegations were found to be untrue, totally unfounded and in a number of cases completely fabricated.” [Associated Press, 6/9/2004] However, a report obtained by the New York Times details allegations of prisoner abuse in Samarra in the spring of 2003 that resemble the account by Sgt. Ford. The report says military personnel “forced into asphyxiations numerous detainees in an attempt to obtain information” over a period of 10 weeks. It concerned an official US army overview of the deaths and alleged abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan. [The Guardian, 5/26/2004]
People and organizations involved: Drew Ryan, Greg Ford
          

April 16-22, 2003

       At Camp Bucca, a large detention camp at Umm Qasr near the Kuwaiti border (officially called the Bucca Theater Internment Facility), representatives from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) witness a shooting incident resulting in the death of one prisoner and the wounding of another. [International Committee of the Red Cross , 2/2004]
People and organizations involved: International Committee of the Red Cross
          

April 30, 2003-May 9, 2003

       Khreisan Khalis Aballey, a 39-year-old Iraqi man, is arrested at his home with his 80-year-old father by US soldiers who are looking for 'Izzat al-Duri, a senior member of the Ba'ath Party. His brother is shot during the operation and never seen again. On July 23 (see July 23, 2003), Amnesty International will include an account of his detention in a memo to the Coalition Provisional Authority, which reads: “During his interrogation, he was made to stand or kneel facing a wall for seven-and-a-half days, hooded, and handcuffed tightly with plastic strips. At the same time a bright light was placed next to his hood and distorted music was playing the whole time. During all this period he was deprived of sleep (though he may have been unconscious for some periods). He reported that at one time a US soldier stamped on his foot and as a result one of his toenails was torn off. The prolonged kneeling made his knees bloody, so he mostly stood; when, after seven-and-a-half days he was told he was to be released and told he could sit, he said that his leg was the size of a football. He continued to be held for two more days, apparently to allow his health to improve, and was released on 9 May. His father, who was released at the same time, was held in the cell beside his son, where he could hear his son's voice and his screams.” [Sources: Iraq: Memorandum on concerns relating to law and order]
People and organizations involved: Khreisan Khalis Aballey
          

(May 2003-July 2003)

       An unnamed Iraqi is taken into custody by Coalition Forces and then subjected to severe abuse in the military intelligence section of Camp Cropper. The International Committee of the Red Cross will later interview the person and report the prisoner's allegations to Coalition Forces once in early July and then again in February 2004 (see February 24, 2004). The latter report will explain: “In one illustrative case, a person deprived of his liberty arrested at home by the CF [Coalition Forces] on suspicion of involvement in an attack against the CF, was allegedly beaten during interrogation in a location in the vicinity of Camp Cropper. He alleged that he had been hooded and cuffed with flexi-cuffs, threatened to be tortured and killed, urinated on, kicked in the head, lower back and groin, force-fed a baseball which was tied into the mouth using a scarf, and deprived of sleep for four consecutive days. Interrogators would allegedly take turns ill-treating him. When he said he would complain to the IRC he was allegedly beaten more. An ICRC medical examination revealed haematoma in the lower back, blood in the urine, sensory loss in the right hand due to tight handcuffing with flexi-cuffs, and a broken rib.” [New York Times, 5/11/2004 Sources: Report of the ICRC on the treatment by Coalition Forces of POWs]
          

(May 2003)

       In a homemade video journal, an unidentified female US soldier at Camp Bucca prison in Iraq candidly speaks of how she and her colleagues have shot and killed prisoners. “If we shoot any more of the Iraqis, or attack any of them, they're gonna supposedly come in and attack the camp.... But we'll believe that when it actually happens, because we've already killed another Iraqi just last night when I was working. So I don't know what's going on...” She does not describe under what circumstances the shootings had taken place. In another part of the video she admits to antagonizing the captives. “I actually got in trouble the other day because I was throwing rocks at them.” [CBS News, 3/12/2004]
          

May 12, 2003

       Four soldiers from the 320th Military Police Battalion severely beat prisoners after transporting them to Camp Bucca in southern Iraq. Soldiers spread the legs of some prisoners while others kick them in the groin. One prisoner allegedly has “his face smashed in.” The incident is reported by the MPs of another unit. After the soldiers are charged, one of the soldiers being investigated writes to his relatives to explain the charges: “A few of my MPs were assaulted by the enemy prisoners, and we had to use force to regain control, all justifiable.” [Associated Press, 7/27/2003; Washington Post, 5/9/2004, pp A01] The four MPs of Lt. Col. Jerry L. Phillabaum's 320th Military Police Battalion will be given less than honorable discharges, but not prosecuted. [US News and World Report, 7/9/2004]
People and organizations involved: Jerry L. Phillabaum
          

May 14, 2003

       One Guantanamo detainee is released and four Saudi detainees are transferred “for continued detention by the government of Saudi Arabia.” The Defense Department releases no further details. [Department of Defense, 5/16/2003]
          

May 24, 2003

       In relation to a hunger strike, there is unrest at Camp Cropper. One prisoner suffers a gunshot wound. [Sources: Report of the ICRC on the treatment by Coalition Forces of POWs]
          

June 2003

       An Iraqi prisoner is bound to a chair and interrogated by soldiers at a “classified interrogation facility” in Baghdad. He later dies. The autopsy will report that the man was “subjected to both physical and psychological stress” and died from a “hard, fast blow” to the head. [Denver Post, 5/18/2004]
          

(June 8, 2003)

       Detainees at Camp Cropper in southern Iraq riot after one of the prisoners hits an MP. When things calm down, a US soldier removes his shirt and flexes his muscles in front of the prisoners, provoking another riot. After a soldier is struck in the head by a rock and another is hit by a tent pole, the MPs open fire, wounding five or six prisoners. The incident is later investigated by US authorities who conclude that the soldiers' actions were justified. [Washington Post, 5/8/2004 Sources: Report of the ICRC on the treatment by Coalition Forces of POWs]
          

July 29, 2003

       The Washington Post reports that the fear of being declared “enemy combatants” has led “the Lackawanna Six” to engage in plea bargain talks. The six men all pleaded guilty of providing support to a terrorist organization and received prison sentences of six-and-a-half to nine years. “We had to worry about the defendants being whisked out of the courtroom and declared enemy combatants if the case started going well for us,” says Patrick J. Brown, attorney for one of the six. “So we just ran up the white flag and folded.” [Washington Post, 7/29/2003] “Basically, what was related to us,” says James Harrington, attorney for Sahim Alwan, “was that if the case was not resolved by a plea, the government was going to consider any options that it had. They didn't say they were going to do it [declare them ‘enemy combatants’], they just were going to consider it.” [The Guardian, 12/3/2003] This is corroborated by the US federal attorney responsible for the prosecution of the six, Michael Battle. He says his office never explicitly threatened invoking the enemy combatant status, because he did not have to. Everybody knew this threat was in the air. “I don't mean to sound cavalier,” he says, “but the war on terror has tilted the whole [legal] landscape. We are trying to use the full arsenal of our powers. I'm not saying the ends justify the means,” he adds. “But you have to remember that we're protecting the rights of those who are being targeted by terror as well as the rights of the accused.” [Washington Post, 7/29/2003] Neal R. Sonnett, speaking as the chairman of the American Bar Association's Task Force on Treatment of Enemy Combatants, says: “The defendants believed that if they didn't plead guilty, they'd end up in a black hole forever. There's little difference between beating someone over the head and making a threat like that.” [Washington Post, 7/29/2003] “Nothing illustrates the US government's new power over suspects ... better than the case of the Lackawanna Six,” Guardian journalist James Meek observes. [The Guardian, 12/3/2003]
People and organizations involved: Michael Battle, Neal R. Sonnett, Patrick J. Brown, Sahim Alwan
          

Late July or early August 2003-October 2003

       A detainee is forced to lie face down on a hot surface, possibly the hood of a car, while being hooded and handcuffed before being sent to Abu Ghraib prison. The treatment causes severe skin burns that require three months in hospital. During his stay, his right index finger is amputated. Red Cross personnel interview him in October 2003 and confirm his missing finger and the presence of extensive burns over many parts of his body. [Sources: Report of the ICRC on the treatment by Coalition Forces of POWs]
          

August 2003

       An unnamed US soldier witnesses two interrogators pull an Iraqi man, gasping for air, from the trunk of a black Mercedes after having driven around with him in the back for some time. “They kind of had to prop him up to carry him in. He looked like he had been there for a while,” the soldier later tells the Guardian. The soldier also notes that it had been extremely hot that day. According to the soldier, the torture tactic is referred to as the “bitch in a box.” [The Guardian, 5/14/2004]
          

(Late August 2003)

       At the Abu Ghraib prison facility in Iraq, prisoners are reportedly barefoot and have symptoms of untreated illnesses. [New York Times, 5/13/2004]
People and organizations involved: Iraq
          

(Late August 2003)

       A detainee is reportedly held in an extremely hot shipping container as punishment. [New York Times, 5/13/2004]
          

September 3, 2003

       Three detainees at Camp Bucca who volunteered for a cleaning job are severely injured when they inadvertently set off a cluster bomb. All three will have their legs amputated. [Sources: Report of the ICRC on the treatment by Coalition Forces of POWs]
          

September 7, 2003-Late November 23, 2003

       An Iraqi man from Tikrit is arrested and held for three days at Camp Iron Horse. Plain-clothed Americans take him out of his cell to another location where they hit him in the head and stomach. The soldiers then tie him to a chair. “After they tied me up in the chair,” the Iraqi later states, “then they dislocate my both arms. [sic]” One interrogator, according to the detainee, “asked to admit before I kill you then he beat again and again. [sic]” At one point a gun is stuck in his mouth and the trigger pulled, but no shot is fired as the gun is not loaded. “He asked me: ‘Are you going to report me? You have no evidence.’ Then he hit me very hard on my nose, and then he stepped on my nose until he broken [sic] and I started bleeding.” A rope is used to make him choke until he looses consciousness. Later, the detainee alleges, a soldier hits his leg with a baseball bat. The case is investigated but is stopped shortly after November 23, when a US soldier forces him to sign a statement denouncing any claims or be kept in detention indefinitely. According to the Iraqi, the soldier says, “You will stay in the prison for a long time, and you will never get out until you are 50 years old.” After it is revealed in the press that serious abuse has taken place at Abu Ghraib, the case is reopened. The investigation confirms that Task Force 20 interrogators questioned the detainee and wore plain clothes. A medical examination reveals that he indeed had a broken nose, scars on his stomach, and a fractured leg. But in October 2004, the investigation is closed because it “failed to prove or disprove” the allegations. [Sources: Memo, US Department of Army, 10/15/2004]
          

September 11, 2003

       A US military guard at the FOB [Forward Operating Base] Packhorse detention facility in Iraq fatally shoots a detainee who is throwing rocks. [Denver Post, 5/18/2004]
          

September 13, 2003

       Nine men are arrested in a hotel in Basra, Iraq, by Coalition Forces. According to a later report by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), they are “made to kneel, face and hands against the ground, as if in a prayer position.” Soldiers stump on the necks of those daring to raise their heads. The soldiers take the prisoners' money and send the nine Iraqis to Al-Hakimiya, a former office of the mukhabarat, the old Iraqi secret police, in Basra. There, soldiers beat them severely. One of the detainees, a 28-year-old, dies. Prior to his death, the other prisoners heard him screaming. The death certificate will say he died of “Cardio-respiratory arrest—asphyxia,” cause “unknown.” Someone who identifies the body, tells the ICRC the man had a broken nose, several broken ribs and skin lesions on the face. Two of the other captives are hospitalized with severe injuries. [Sources: Report of the ICRC on the treatment by Coalition Forces of POWs]
People and organizations involved: Iraq, International Committee of the Red Cross
          

September 16, 2003

       Military intelligence directs the stripping of a detainee. An entry in the MP log book for this day indicates that a detainee “was stripped down per MI [Military Intelligence] and he is neked [sic] and standing tall in his cell.” [Sources: AR 15-6 Investigation of the Abu Ghraib Detention Facility and 205th Military Intelligence Brigade, 8/23/2004]
          

September 19, 2003

       One of the Tiger Teams at Abu Ghraib, consisting of two soldiers from Guantanamo, and a female civilian interpreter, conduct a late night interrogation of a 17-year-old Syrian detainee. The detainee has been stripped naked and is using an empty Meals-Ready-to-Eat (MRE) bag to cover his genitals. One of the soldiers orders the boy to raise his hands thus deliberately exposing and humiliating him. [Sources: AR 15-6 Investigation of the Abu Ghraib Detention Facility and 205th Military Intelligence Brigade, 8/23/2004]
          

September 22, 2003

       A delegation from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) interviews a 61-year-old Iraqi who has been imprisoned in Camp Bucca. The elderly man tells the ICRC that at the time of his arrest, he was “tied, hooded, and forced to sit on the hot surface of what he surmised to be the engine of a vehicle....” The ICRC verifies his account noting that the presence of “large crusted lesions” on his buttocks were consistent with his allegation. [Sources: Report of the ICRC on the treatment by Coalition Forces of POWs]
          

September 22, 2003

       At Camp Bucca in Iraq, a Coalition soldier shoots a prisoner who is throwing stones. A February 2004 International Committee of the Red Cross report (see February 24, 2004) will recount: “Following unrest in a section of the camp one person deprived of his liberty, allegedly throwing stones, was fired upon by a guard in a watchtower. He suffered a gunshot wound to the upper part of the chest, the bullet passed through the chest and exited form [sic] the back.... An ICRC delegate and interpreter witnessed most of the events. At no point did the persons deprived of their liberty, and the victim shot at, appear to pose a serious threat to the life or security of the guards who could have responded to the situation with less brutal measures. The shooting showed a clear disregard for human life and security of the persons deprived of their liberty.” [Sources: Report of the ICRC on the treatment by Coalition Forces of POWs]
          

October 29, 2003

       The Associated Press reports that detainees in Iraq are being subjected to torture and inhumane living conditions and tells of an instance where a prisoner was shot and killed. It recounts the story of one prisoner, Saaed Naif, who said he saw another prisoner “shot dead at Abu Ghraib when he approached the razor wire.” The report also describes a type of punishment where the victim is confined to a razor-wire enclosed area—known as “The Gardens” —and forced to lie face down, hands tied behind the back, on the burning sand for two or three hours. In one incident, when a woman was sent to the “The Gardens,” her infuriated brother attempted to leave the razor wire enclosure around his tent but prison personnel “shot him in the shoulder.” Many former prisoners of the detainment centers agreed that some of the worst atrocities at the prisons were the guards' treatment of the women, sick, and disabled. [The Associated Press, 10/29/2004]
People and organizations involved: Saaed Naif
          

Early morning November 30, 2003

       A detainee at Abu Ghraib attacks Cpl. Charles Graner while he and another MP are forcing him into an isolation cell. When the cell is later checked, the detainee is found covered in blood. [Sources: AR 15-6 Investigation of the Abu Ghraib Detention Facility and 205th Military Intelligence Brigade, 8/23/2004]
People and organizations involved: Charles Graner
          

November 2003

       Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, at the request of George J. Tenet, orders military officials in Iraq to keep a high-value detainee being held at Camp Cropper off the records. The order is passed down to Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, then to Gen. John P. Abizaid, the commander of American forces in the Middle East, and finally to Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, the ground commander in Iraq. “At each stage, lawyers reviewed the request and their bosses approved it,” the New York Times will report. “This prisoner and other ‘ghost detainees’ were hidden largely to prevent the International Committee of the Red Cross from monitoring their treatment, and to avoid disclosing their location to an enemy,” the newspaper will report, citing top officials. The prisoner—in custody since July 2003—is suspected of being a senior officer of Ansar al-Islam, an Islamic group with ties to al-Qaeda. Shortly after being captured by US forces, he was deemed an “enemy combatant” and thus denied protection under the Geneva conventions. Up until this point, the prisoner has only been interrogated once. As a result of being kept off the books, the prison system looses track of the detainee who will spend the next seven months in custody. “Once he was placed in military custody, people lost track of him,” a senior intelligence official will tell the New York Times. “The normal review processes that would keep track of him didn't.” [Fox News, 6/17/2004; Reuters, 6/17/2004; New York Times, 6/17/2004]
People and organizations involved: Ricardo S. Sanchez, Richard B. Myers, John P. Abizaid, George Tenet, Donald Rumsfeld
          

Evening November 4, 2003

       Staff Sgt. Ivan L. Frederick II takes wires from a shower and places them on a hooded detainee's hands telling him he will be electrocuted if he falls off the box. [Los Angeles Times, 10/21/2004] An Army investigator has instructed Frederick to “stress out” the detainee so he will talk. The detainee allegedly knows the location of soldiers' remains. Frederick says the investigator has told him he can treat the prisoner anyway he wants “as long as you don't kill him.” Despite these directions, Frederick later confesses he is aware he is committing abuse. “I was wrong about what I did, and I shouldn't have done it. I knew it was wrong at the time because I knew it was a form of abuse.” [New York Times, 10/21/2004]
People and organizations involved: Ivan L. Frederick II
          

November 26 or 27, 2003

       A civilian contractor starts interrogating a detained Iraqi policeman at Abu Ghraib. He asks the detainee a question, and then warns that if he does not answer he will bring Staff Sgt. Ivan Frederick into the cell. A military intelligence soldier witnesses Frederick going in and out of the cell several times. At one point, Frederick puts his hand over the detainee's nose, not allowing him to breathe. Frederick also uses a “collapsible nightstick” to possibly twist the detainee's arm. At the end of the session, Frederick tells the military intelligence soldier he knows ways to do this without leaving marks. [Sources: AR 15-6 Investigation of the Abu Ghraib Detention Facility and 205th Military Intelligence Brigade, 8/23/2004]
People and organizations involved: Ivan L. Frederick II
          

November 29, 2003

       Personnel at Abu Ghraib photograph a detainee “dressed only in his underwear, standing with each foot on a separate box, and bent over at the waist.” [Sources: AR 15-6 Investigation of the Abu Ghraib Detention Facility and 205th Military Intelligence Brigade, 8/23/2004]
          

November 29, 2003

       Two military intelligence interrogators tell a detainee at Abu Ghraib that “he [will] go into the Hole if he didn't start cooperating.” [Sources: AR 15-6 Investigation of the Abu Ghraib Detention Facility and 205th Military Intelligence Brigade, 8/23/2004]
          

Early December 2003

       A picture is taken of an unidentified detainee being interrogated. In the photograph he is squatting on a chair, in what appears to be a “stress position.” [Sources: AR 15-6 Investigation of the Abu Ghraib Detention Facility and 205th Military Intelligence Brigade, 8/23/2004]
          

December 18, 2003

       A picture is taken of an incident of abuse at Abu Ghraib involving a dog. A “high value” Syrian detainee is photographed kneeling on the floor with his hands cuffed behind his back. An Army dog handler stands in front of him with his black dog, on a leash but not muzzled, a few feet away from the detainee. [Sources: AR 15-6 Investigation of the Abu Ghraib Detention Facility and 205th Military Intelligence Brigade, 8/23/2004]
          

January 13, 2004

       The Asian Wall Street Journal reports that a suspect detained by US forces in Iraq claimed that “he was ordered to stand upright until he collapsed after 13 hours” and that interrogators “burned his arm with a cigarette.” [Human Rights Watch, 5/7/2004]
          

January 23 - March 2004

       In Macedonia, Khalid el-Masri is told he is free to return to Germany. His guards videotape him as evidence that he is in good health when he leaves their country. El-Masri steps out the door of the motel where he has been held, and walks a few meters, when a pick-up truck pulls up next to him. Several men pull him inside, handcuff him, and put a hood over his head. The truck appears to be driving towards the airport. [New York Times, 1/9/2005; The Guardian, 1/14/2005] He hears the sounds of a plane, and the voice of one of his Macedonian minders saying he will receive a medical examination. [The Guardian, 1/14/2005] He is then taken into a building. [New York Times, 1/9/2005] “I heard the door being closed,” he recalls. “And then they beat me from all sides, from everywhere, with hands and feet. With knives or scissors they took away my clothes. In silence. The beating, I think, was just to humiliate me, to hurt me, to make me afraid, to make me silent. They stripped me naked. I was terrified. They tried to take off my pants. I tried to stop them so they beat me again. And when I was naked I heard a camera.” He is then rectally examined by force. [The Guardian, 1/14/2005] “After I was naked they took off my mask so I could see, and all the people were in black clothes and black masks. There were seven or eight people.” El-Masri is then dressed in a blue warm-up suit, and his hands are cuffed and tied to a belt; his feet shackled. Plugs are put in his ears and he is blindfolded. Next, they put him on a plane and force him to lie on the floor, while someone injects him with a drug that makes him fall asleep. [New York Times, 1/9/2005] But he vaguely notices the plane taking off. He receives a second injection during the flight. When he awakes, the plane has landed and he finds himself driven in the boot of car. Taken inside a building, he is thrown into the wall and onto to the floor of a small room that is to become his cell for the next five months. His head and back are stepped upon, while his chains are removed. [The Guardian, 1/14/2005] “Everything was dirty, a dirty blanket, dirty water, like from a fish aquarium.” Guards and fellow prisoners will later tell him he is in Kabul, Afghanistan. [New York Times, 1/9/2005] On the first evening of his captivity in Afghanistan, El-Masri receives a visit from a masked man, he assumes is a doctor, who takes a blood sample and appears to be an American. Accompanying guards repeatedly punch El-Masri in the head and neck. El-Masri says he nevertheless has the nerve to ask the American for fresh water. “And he said: ‘It's not our problem, it's a problem of the Afghan people.’ ” [The Guardian, 1/14/2005] He is also forced to run up and down a stairs while his hands are tied behind his back. The next morning, an interrogator shouts at him: “Where you are right now, there is no law, no rights; no one knows you are here, and no one cares about you.” [New York Times, 1/9/2005] Perhaps the same interrogator says, while seven or eight men with black masks watched silently, “Do you know where you are?” El-Masri answers: “Yes, I know. I'm in Kabul.” The interrogator replies: “It's a country without laws. And nobody knows that you are here. Do you know what this means?” [The Guardian, 1/14/2005] He discovers the identity of some of the other prisoners. There are two Pakistani brothers, who have Saudi citizenship, a man from Tanzania, who has been detained for several months, a Pakistani who has been there for nearly two years, a Yemeni, and a number of Afghans. [New York Times, 1/9/2005; The Guardian, 1/14/2005] Comparing his situation to that of the others, El-Masri concludes: “It was a crime, it was humiliating, and it was inhuman, although I think that in Afghanistan I was treated better than the other prisoners. Somebody in the prison told me that before I came somebody died under torture.” The identity of his interrogators remains a secret, though after about a month, he is visited by two unmasked Americans. One, referred to by the prisoners as “the Doctor,” is tall, pale, in his 60s and has long grey hair. The other, named “the Boss,” has red hair and blue eyes and wears glasses. [The Guardian, 1/14/2005] In the meantime, el-Masri's wife, Aisha, completely unaware of her husband's whereabouts, begins to think he has gone to marry another woman. Together with their children, she moves to Lebanon. [New York Times, 1/9/2005]
People and organizations involved: Khalid el-Masri
          

January 29, 2004

       Three juvenile Guantanamo detainees are released to their home countries, where they will be resettled with the assistance of non-governmental organizations. According to the Defense Department, two of them “were captured during US and allied forces raids on Taliban camps.” One was captured “while trying to obtain weapons to fight American forces.” Medical tests have determined they were under the age of 16 when captured. The Defense Department says they were housed separately from the adult prison population, and “were not restricted in the same manner.” The Pentagon stresses that “every effort was made to provide the juvenile detainees a secure environment free from the influences of the older detainees, as well as providing for their special physical and emotional care. While in detention, these juveniles were provided the opportunity to learn math, as well as reading and writing in their native language.” [Department of Defense, 1/29/2004]
          

Late January 2004

       A 52-year-old Iraqi farmer and his 26-year-old son are detained and beaten by US soldiers after an explosion near their home. [Electronic Iraq, 2/19/2004]
          

June 2004

       Russia releases all former Russian Guantanamo detainees from prison without trial after four months in jail. [BBC, 10/4/2004]
People and organizations involved: Russia
          


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