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Omar Ahmad (Abdur) Rahman: Date Unknown (For Surely, they will Kill Me…)

My message and will to the blessed muslim nation Oh honorable brothers! Oh Muslims in all parts of the world!

Surely the US government has found in my imprisonment an opportunity;
an opportunity to defile the honour of a Muslim, snatching away his dignity and respect. They’ve placed me under siege, not only physically, but also psychologically.

I’ve been placed in isolation. I’ve been forbidden contact with any Arabic speakers. Days, weeks, months pass and there’s no one I can talk to, and no one to talk to me.

I’ve been deprived of everything inside my cell even media players or a radio. If it wasn’t for the recitation of the Quran, I would have had many physiological problems. In this oppressive siege, cameras are included throughout my cell. They monitor me continuously throughout the day, they even watch me washing my private parts during bathing and using the toilet. They don’t stop there, they exploit my blindness to achieve their vile objectives, for they frisk me by stripping off my clothes, just as I was born, and look at my private parts, front and rear.

What do they search for? Drugs and explosives? This happens before and after every visit. This is so shameful, it makes me prefer the earth to split in half and swallow me whole over their filthy actions. But as I said, to them this is an opportunity they seized to defile the dignity of a Muslim and his honor on this earth. I am also prevented from performing Jumu’a prayers, Eid and any contact with other Muslims! All of this is forbidden to me! They give me false justifications and they make up null excuses.

The prison wardens neglect my personal condition e.g. haircuts and nail-cutting for months. They also force me to wash my underwear. I soak, wash, rinse and hang it, I find it hard! Moreover, I feel the danger of this situation. For surely, they will kill me… they will! Especially now that I’m separated from the world. No one sees what they add in my food, my drink! They could use a slow method to kill me, they could poison my food or medicine or inject me with something. They could drug me with something which would kill me or drive me crazy.

My brothers, if they kill me – which they will – escort my Janazah, and deliver my corpse to my fam- ily. But never forget my blood, never forsake it! Instead take revenge upon them for me in the most severest and violent of manners! And remember that a brother of yours spoke the truth and was killed in the path of Allah.

These few words are my testament to you.
Wassalamu Alaykum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh

 
 

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UAE Solitary Cell: Detainee Unknown

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Cell in UAE State Security Facility – Sketch made by a detainee in solitary confinement

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2013 in Sketches

 

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Moath al-Alwi: July 2013 (The Only Way I Have Left to Cry Out for Life, Freedom & Dignity)

A month ago, the guards here at Guantanamo Bay gave me an orange jumpsuit. After years in white and brown, the colours of compliant prisoners, I am very proud to wear my new clothes. The colour orange is Guantanamo’s banner. Anyone who knows the truth about this place knows that orange is its only true colour.

My name is Moath al-Alwi. I have been a prisoner of the United States at Guantanamo since 2002. I was never charged with any crime and I have not received a fair trial in US courts. To protest this injustice, I began a hunger strike in February. Now, twice a day, the US military straps me down to a chair and pushes a thick tube down my nose to force-feed me.

When I choose to remain in my cell in an act of peaceful protest against the force-feeding, the prison authorities send in a Forced Cell Extraction team: six guards in full riot gear. Those guards are deliberately brutal to punish me for my protest. They pile up on top of me to the point that I feel like my back is about to break. They then carry me out and strap me into the restraint chair, which we hunger strikers call the torture chair.

A new twist to this routine involves the guards restraining me to the chair with my arms cuffed behind my back. The chest strap is then tightened, trapping my arms between my torso and the chair’s backrest. This is done despite the fact that the torture chair features built-in arm restraints. It is extremely painful to remain in this position.

Even after I am tied to the chair, a guard digs his thumbs under my jaw, gripping me at the pressure points and choking me as the tube is inserted down my nose and into my stomach. They always use my right nostril now because my left one is swollen shut after countless feeding sessions. Sometimes, the nurses get it wrong, snaking the tube into my lung instead, and I begin to choke.

The US military medical staff conducting the force-feeding at Guantanamo is basically stuffing us prisoners to bring up our weight – mine had dropped from 168 pounds to 108 pounds, before they began force-feeding me. They even use constipation as a weapon, refusing to give hunger strikers laxatives despite the fact that the feeding solutions inevitably cause severe bloating.

If a prisoner vomits after this ordeal, the guards immediately return him to the restraint chair for another round of force-feeding. I’ve seen this inflicted on people up to three times in a row.

Even vital medications for prisoners have been stopped by military medical personnel as additional pressure to break the hunger strike.

Those military doctors and nurses tell us that they are simply obeying orders from the colonel in charge of detention operations, as though that officer were a doctor or as if doctors had to follow his orders rather than their medical ethics or the law.

But they must know that what they are doing is wrong, else they would not have removed the nametags with their pseudonyms or numbers. They don’t want to be identifiable in any way, for fear of being held accountable someday by their profession or the world.

I spend the rest of my time in my solitary confinement cell, on 22-hour lockdown. The authorities have deprived us of the most basic necessities. No toothbrushes, toothpaste, blankets, soap or towels are allowed in our cells. If you ask to go to the shower, the guards refuse. They bang on our doors at night, depriving us of sleep.

They have also instituted a humiliating genital search policy. I asked a guard why. He answered:

“So you don’t come out to your meetings and calls with your lawyers and give them information to use against us.”

But the prisoners’ weights are as low as their spirits are high. Every man I know here is determined to remain on hunger strike until the US government begins releasing prisoners.

Those of you on the outside might find that difficult to comprehend. My family certainly does. If I’m lucky, I’m allowed four calls with them each year. My mother spent most of my most recent call pleading with me to stop my hunger strike. I had only this to say in response: “Mom, I have no choice.” It is the only way I have left to cry out for life, freedom and dignity.

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2013 in Letters from Moath al-Alwi, Risala

 

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Abdelhadi Faraj: July 2013 (This is My Call from Behind these Rusty Bars)

This is my call to the outside world from behind these rusty bars, in this monstrous cell. Does the world know what is happening in this prison?

Despite the long years we the prisoners have spent in this place from 2002 to 2013, the American government does not seem interested in solving the problem. The past few months have been among the harshest lived by the prisoners here. During the Bush years, solutions seemed possible. Under Obama, it seems like there is no will to solve the problem.

I once lived communally with the other prisoners in Camp Six. Now we are all in solitary confinement here, with only two hours of recreation a day. Some prisoners are too weak and sick to ever leave their cells as a result of the hunger strike and the U.S. military’s reaction to it.

The military here has used brute force against the hunger strikers. They have beaten us and used rubber-coated bullets and tear gas against us. They have confiscated everything from our cells, from toothbrushes to blankets and books. They have confined us to cold, windowless cells, beyond the reach of the sun’s rays or a fresh breeze. Sometimes, we don’t even know if it’s day or night out.

It isn’t unusual for prison guards here to search prisoners’ genital parts and their rectum ten times in a single day.

Daily, I am forced into a restraint chair, my arms, legs and chest tied down tight. Big guards grab my head with both hands. I feel like my skull is being crushed. Then, so-called nurses violently push a thick tube down my nostril. Blood rushes out of my nose and mouth. The nurses turn on the feeding solution full throttle. I cannot begin to describe the pain that causes.

Recently, a nurse brutally yanked out the force-feeding tube, threw it on my shoulder, and left the cell, leaving me tied down to the chair. Later, the nurse returned to the cell, took the tube off my shoulder and began to reinsert it into my nose. I asked him to cleanse and purify the tube first but he refused.

When I later tried to complain to another nurse about the incident, the other nurse threatened to force the feeding tube up my rear, not down my nose, if I didn’t suspend my hunger strike.

And when I tried taking the matter to a senior medical officer, he told me that they would strap me to a bed and make me urinate through a catheter forced into my penis if I kept up my peaceful protest.

I used to think I was the only one coping with severe joint pain, a weakened memory, having a hard time concentrating, and feeling constantly distracted as a result of all this. But I’ve since discovered that many hunger strikers struggle with the same symptoms. Without realizing it, some of the hunger strikers even speak to themselves out loud when they’re alone.

But we also know that there are peaceful protests in solidarity with our plight in many countries. Even in America itself, there are protests demanding that the U.S. government close this prison that has hurt America’s reputation. And international criticism mounts daily.

We the hunger strikers continue to demand our rights. President Obama can begin by releasing those of us who have been cleared for release years ago, followed by the prisoners who have not been charged with any crime after eleven years in captivity.

Despite the difficulties, the hard conditions, and the challenges created by the U.S. government, those of us on hunger strike will continue protesting until our demands for justice are met.

 
 

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Recollected: Aafia’s Essence of ‘Eid

This is based on a conversation involving Aafia where she discussed Eid Al Adha and what it meant beyond performing the ritual acts.

It was a casual social conversation sometime in the 1990s. The Hajj was about to conclude, and Eid Al Adha was approaching.  A point was made that perhaps this Eid is really only a celebration for those attending the Hajj as it marked the successful conclusion of their pilgrimage.  For the rest of the Muslim world it was only about the sacrificing of animals. As symbolic, solemn and beneficial to the poor as the ritual was, what was the cause for celebration?

As was the case with many of Aafia’s perspectives, the response was neither traditional nor focused solely on the logic of obedience to God, blessings for the Hereafter and remembering the enormous tribulations of the prophets of God. These reasons provide satisfaction and comfort to those already in the fold of “believers” and are popular when one is preaching to the proverbial choir. But the root of the question was a challenge seeking a more pragmatic response that would resonate more universally

To Aafia, Eid Al Adha, as a celebration, was not just about the rituals themselves even though it is the culmination of perhaps the most ritual laden event of the Islamic calendar – The Hajj.  In order to truly celebrate and enjoy this Eid universally, she suggested the examination of what the rituals were highlighting:

The Hajj essentially marks the challenges posed to the Prophet Abraham and his family as believed in the Islamic tradition.

First, the taking of Hagar and Ismail to a barren spot in the “middle of nowhere” and leaving them with no sustenance other than a faith that an unseen God will provide.  Then, later, the Hajj marks the willingness of a father to sacrifice his son, again on the order of that unseen God. So, is the lesson here one of blind obedience regardless of how harsh the commandments seem?    Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2012 in Collateral Damage, Flashback

 

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Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan: End the Silence!

It has now been one month since Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan were extradited to the US. Without being permitted to even make one final telephone call to their loved ones, they were transferred into the custody of US marshals and flown to Connecticut, where they are now in 23 hour solitary isolation.

Since their extradition, neither Babar nor Talha have been able to telephone their families or write to them despite sufficient funds having been transferred to them to do this. Furthermore, letters which the family members have sent to the men have not been given to them, increasing their isolation. The families have no idea what condition Babar and Talha are in or why they have been unable to communicate.

We request all campaigners and supporters to write to the British Foreign Secretary, the British Ambassador to the US and and your own Member of Parliament to request that they urgently intervene to ensure that regular contact is established between the men and their families.

Sample letters are below for your convenience (please do not forget to insert your name and and full address) but it is always more effective to use your own words. It is also possible to send your comments using Twitter and Facebook.   Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2012 in Campaigns

 

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Très bonne nouvelle!!! | Some Good News!!

Aujourd`hui, Djamel a été transféré de la maison d`arrêt de Bois d`Arcy à celle de la Santé. La grande nouvelle c`est qu`il est sorti de l`isolement dans lequel il se trouvait depuis 2 ans. Et qu`il reste dans la région parisienne, ce qui nous facilitera les visites, même si nous ne sommes pas souvent la-bas.

Il a pu nous appeler rapidement, et il avait l`air d`aller bien, le transfert s`est bien passé, ses affaires ont bien suivies apparement. Ce petit plus de liberté l`a tellement changé qu`il était fatigué, il était etonné de voir des détenus marcher devant lui alors qu`il était au téléphone, en accés libre dorénavant! Al HamduliLlah…

Il transmet son salam à tous et remercie les gens qui prient pour lui, prières qui ont sans doute été entendues, les choses ont été facilitées.

Nous sommes soulagés pour lui, et nous attendons dans un proche avenir d`autres bonnes nouvelles, jusqu`à la libération complète…

Merci à tous pour vos soutien de la part de notre famille

Today, Djamel was transfered from the Bois d `Arcy holding facility to la Santé.The great news is that he is out of solitary confinement, which he had been in for two years. For the time being he is in the Paris area, which will facilitate visits for us, although we are not often there.
He was able to call us quickly, and he seemed to be doing well, the transfer went well, and his needs were being attended to. That extra bit of ‘freedom’ is such a big change that he became overwhelmed; he was surprised inmates walking in front of him, then surprised that he able to use the phone, free access from now on! Al Hamdulillah …

He sends his salaam to all and thanks the people praying for him; prayers that without a doubt have been heard, as things have become easier.

We are relieved for him, and we expect in the near future more good news, until his complete release …

Thank you all for your support from our family

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2012 in Bushara, Collateral Damage

 

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