At least 10 current and former detainees at the U.S. military prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, have lodged allegations of abuse similar to incidents described by FBI agents...
At least 10 current and former detainees at the U.S. military prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, have lodged allegations of abuse similar to incidents described by FBI agents in newly released documents. The detainees’ claims were denied by the government but gained credibility with the reports from the agents, their attorneys say.
In public statements after their release and in documents filed with federal courts, the detainees have said they were beaten before and during interrogations, “short-shackled” to the floor and otherwise mistreated as part of the effort to persuade them to confess to being members of al-Qaida or the Taliban.
Some of the detainees’ attorneys acknowledged they initially were skeptical, mainly because there’s been little evidence that captors at Guantánamo Bay engaged in the kind of abuse discovered at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison. But the American Civil Liberties Union on Monday released FBI memos it obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit in which agents describe seeing or learning of serious mistreatment of detainees.
“On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position on the floor, with no chair, food or water,” an unidentified agent wrote Aug. 2, 2004, for example. “Most times they had urinated and defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18 to 24 hours or more.”
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Brent Mickum, a Washington, D.C., attorney for one detainee, said that “now there’s no question these guys have been tortured. When we first got involved in this case, I wondered whether this could all be true. But every allegation that I’ve heard has now come to pass and been confirmed by the government’s own papers.”
A Pentagon spokesman has said the military is investigating torture claims. Pentagon officials and lawyers say the military has been careful not to abuse detainees and has complied with treaties on the handling of enemy prisoners “to the extent possible” in the middle of a war.
Detainees say military personnel beat and kicked them while they had hoods on their heads and tight shackles on their legs; left them in freezing temperatures and stifling heat; subjected them to repeated, prolonged rectal exams; and paraded them naked around the prison as military police snapped pictures.
More than 60 of the 550 men who are detained have filed claims. Some have been held for nearly three years.