How are you, Mr. J. Wells Dixon and Ms. Seema Saifee? I hope that this letter reaches you before you come over, and I hope that it will be a little beneficial for our Turkistani brothers’ situation here.
We, the Turkistani brothers, left our homeland in order to escape from the brutal suppression and unfair treatment from the Chinese government towards our people. The Uighur youth back home were either incarcerated because of false accusations or prosecuted and executed because of bogus allegations. It was extremely difficult for any Uighur to see a future for themselves within our homeland, and both young and middle-aged Uighurs started to leave East Turkistan and try to find survival abroad, if anyone could find a way to get out. We, the Uighurs in Guantánamo, are also like those Uighurs. We left our homeland for the same cause and sought solace in our neighboring countries.
As you know, for some specific reasons we ended up in Afghanistan. When we arrived in Afghanistan, the U.S. army invaded. We had to depart for Pakistan, since we could not stay in Afghanistan. As we did not know anyone who could help us there, we had no other choice but to leave. The Pakistani people then arrested us and turned us over to the Pakistani government. Subsequently, the Pakistani government sold us to the U.S. Army for bounties. The U.S. Army then brought us to Guantánamo.
Since the very beginning of the interrogations, we have been saying this. Our circumstances are very clear to the U.S. government, the U.S. Army and related agencies. Thus, the East Turkistani people and we, the Uighurs in Guantánamo, have never had any revulsion against the U.S. at any time, and this would never be possible, because our homeland is being occupied and we need the help of others.
We were very pleased at the beginning when the Pakistanis turned us over to American custody. We sincerely hoped that America would be sympathetic to us and help us. Unfortunately, the facts were different. Although in 2004 and 2005 we were told that we were innocent, we have been incarcerated in jail for the past six years until the present day. We fail to know why we are still in jail here.
We still hope that the U.S. government will free us soon and send us to a safe place. Being away from family, away from our homeland, and also away from the outside world and losing any contact with anyone is not suitable for a human being, as, also, is being forbidden from experiencing natural sunlight and natural air, and being surrounded by a metal box on all sides.
I was very healthy in the past. However, since I was brought to Camp 6, I got rheumatism. My joints started to hurt all the time and are getting worse. My kidneys started to hurt ten days ago.
My countryman Abdulrazaq used to have rheumatism for a while, and since he came to Camp 6 it got worse. Sometime in early August, the U.S. Army told Abdulrazaq that he was cleared to be released, and also issued the release form to him in writing. As a result, Abdulrazaq requested to move to a camp that had better conditions, for health reasons. When his request was ignored he embarked on a hunger strike, which has lasted for over a month now.
Currently, he is on punishment and his situation is even worse. He is shackled to the restraint chair and force-fed twice a day by the guards, who wear glass shields on their faces. This has taken place for the past 20 days. For someone who has not eaten for a long time, such treatment is not humane. Abdulrazaq would never want to go on hunger strike. However, the circumstances here forced him to do so, as he had no other choice. If the oppression was not unbearable, who would want to throw himself on a burning fire? In the U.S. Constitution, is it a crime for someone to ask to protect his health and to ask for his rights? If it does count as a crime, then what is the difference between the U.S. Constitution and the Communist constitution? What is the difference between this and Hitler’s policies during the Second World War?
I have heard that an Egyptian man broke his back and became handicapped while he was being handled by a team in Camp 1 or 2, and then he was sent home as a crippled person for the rest of his life [Sami el-Leithi, released in October 2005]. Another Libyan broke his arm also. I worry that Abdulrazaq will face a similar or worse situation while being force-fed twice a day for a long time, and I am also concerned for his psychological condition as it is extremely difficult for him to keep his mental state normal under such circumstances.
Recently, I started to wonder, “Why are we staying in this jail for so long?” I wonder if we will be released after we damage our internal and external organs and our arms and legs. Or is it necessary for a few Turkistanis to die, as happened in the past here in this jail, in order to gain others’ attention and their concern towards our matter? Such thoughts are in my mind all the time. The reason I am writing this letter to you is that I sincerely hope that you and others related to law and enforcement can solve this issue quickly and help us in a practical manner.
Abdulghappar Turkistani (281)
December 12, 2007
Guantánamo Bay Jail, Camp 6
(Translated by military censors, edited by Andy Worthington)