Summaries of Victims’ Abuse and Injuries (Petition to Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Regarding Torture and Abuse of Prisoners by U.S. Military in Afghanistan and Iraq)

March 19, 2012

Mehboob Ahmad

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Mehboob Ahmad is a 42-year-old citizen of Afghanistan. Ahmad was detained by U.S. military for approximately five months from June to November 2003. He was held at various locations in Afghanistan, including the Gardez firebase and the Bagram Air Base. During his detention, Ahmad was tortured and subjected to torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by U.S. military personnel.

Painful techniques used on Ahmad included hanging him upside-down from the ceiling with a chain, and repeatedly pushing and kicking him while he knelt on a wooden pole with his hands chained to the ceiling.

Ahmad was also sexually and psychologically traumatized by U.S. military personnel. He was forced to strip and stay naked for long periods of time, was probed anally and was threatened with a snarling and barking dog at close range. Interrogators taunted Ahmad by directing insults at his mother and sister and implying that soldiers would rape his wife. He was also threatened with transport to Guantánamo.

Like other detainees, Ahmad was subjected to extreme sensory deprivation and isolation. He was forced to wear sound-blocking earphones; he was forced to wear black, opaque goggles almost continuously for more than a month, and was not allowed to speak with other detainees for the five months that he was in custody.

Said Nabi Siddiqi

Said Nabi Siddiqi is a 55-year-old citizen of Afghanistan. Siddiqi was detained by the United States military for nearly two months from July to August 2003 at various locations, including detention facilities in Kandahar and Bagram. During his detention, Siddiqi was subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

Siddiqi was forced into painful and abusive positions for long periods during interrogations. Among other tactics, soldiers forced Siddiqi to hold a 15-pound piece of wood in his cuffed hands and maintain a pushup position while he was doused with water. Soldiers would beat Siddiqi if he did not maintain the positions, and also kicked and punched him during the interrogations, while flashing bright lights into his eyes and yelling directly into his ears at top volumes. During one two-week span, military personnel interrogated Siddiqi every night, keeping him handcuffed and blindfolded for that entire period of time.

American forces also exploited Afghan cultural norms to further demean and degrade Siddiqi. Soldiers sexually humiliated Siddiqi by stripping him naked and photographing him, and by probing his anus. During interrogations, soldiers made animal sounds and demanded to know which animals Siddiqi had sex with, and repeatedly told him that his wife was a slut and his daughter was a street beggar. Soldiers also threw stones at Siddiqi and other detainees while they used the toilet and forced them to publicly expose themselves.

During his detention, U.S. military personnel intentionally ignored Siddiqi's medical needs and treated him in a manner that worsened his health. Upon his detention, soldiers confiscated his asthma inhaler despite his shortness of breath. Soldiers also kept Siddiqi and other detainees from sleeping for lengthy periods by throwing stones at them all night and by awakening them and forcing them to roll around while dousing them with water and verbally abusing them. In addition, Siddiqi was kept for weeks in an outdoor area with no protection from the elements and extreme weather.

As a result of his treatment while in United States custody, Siddiqi suffered severe psychological and physical injuries.

Haji Abdul Rahman

Haji Abdul Rahman is a 55-year-old citizen of Afghanistan. Rahman was detained by the United States military for approximately five months, from December 2003 to May 2004. He was held at various locations in Afghanistan, including the Gardez firebase and the Bagram air base. Rahman suffered severe physical and psychological injuries as a result of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

While in custody, American personnel deliberately inflicted pain on Rahman. During interrogation, soldiers forced Rahman to wear blackout goggles and kneel with his hands cuffed behind his back; soldiers then placed a chain through the handcuffs, which they repeatedly jerked to pull his arms and wrench his shoulders and wrists. He was forced to wear painful restraints, blackout goggles and handcuffs for virtually the entire first month of his detention. After that first month, soldiers placed Rahman in solitary confinement for 15 days and made him wear blackout goggles and sound-deadening headphones for no reason other than to intimidate, humiliate and degrade him.

Like other detainees, Rahman was subjected to sleep deprivation. He was detained in brightly lit areas for approximately three months, during which time military personnel made loud noises to keep him awake. This sleep deprivation was used to disorient and dehumanize Rahman and other detainees.

Rahman was also sexually humiliated. He was forced to strip naked in front of other people and military personnel anally probed him on multiple occasions. Rahman was also forced to wear blackout goggles while he was naked. He was photographed repeatedly without his clothes on.         

Ali Hussein

Ali Hussein Ali was only 17 years old when he was detained by the U.S. military in August 2003. He was held in detention for four weeks at Abu Ghraib prison and other locations throughout Iraq.

During his arrest and subsequent detention, Ali suffered excruciating pain and was subjected to degrading and inhuman treatment. Soldiers shot Ali in the neck and back and threw him to the ground before arresting him. Military personnel refused to provide medical care for Ali for hours after the arrest, even though he was bleeding profusely from two gunshot wounds. The bullets were eventually removed from Ali's neck and back in a brutal fashion and without anesthetic. He was then denied food, water and pain medication for almost two days after he was shot.

The pain inflicted on Ali continued well after the bullets were removed. While he was housed in an outdoor tent at Abu Ghraib, Ali received a life-threatening shrapnel wound during a mortar attack. Once again, military personnel refused to provide Ali with adequate medical care and pain medication. While recovering from abdominal surgery, military personnel intentionally inflicted further pain and torture on Ali. He was dragged roughly from one location to another and kept shackled hand and foot to a bed with a blanket placed over his face. He was then moved to another prison location where he was forced to sleep on the ground outdoors in extremely hot weather without any shelter, despite being in excruciating pain and having an intravenous tube in his arm. Military personnel refused to change the bandages on Ali's surgical wound, which became infected and leaked pus.

Military personnel continued to degrade Ali even at the time of his release. After telling Ali that he would be sent to another prison, they cut off his identification bracelet, confiscated his release papers and physically threw him from a bus to the ground outside while he still had an intravenous tube in his arm.

Sherzad Kamal Khalid

Sherzad Kamal Khalid is a 42-year old Iraqi citizen who was detained by the United States military for approximately two months from July 2003 through September 2003. Khalid was held at various locations in Iraq where he was subjected to frequent and severe beatings, sexual abuse and other cruel treatment.

Military personnel regularly and intentionally inflicted physical abuse on Khalid during his detention. Soldiers would severely beat Khalid before each interrogation, leaving his body covered with deep bruises. They also kicked and punched Khalid repeatedly over a period of hours while he was hooded and shackled and seated on the ground, terrorizing and injuring him with random and unanticipated blows. On one occasion, Khalid was forced to run a gauntlet of 10 to 20 uniformed U.S. soldiers who beat him with batons.

Like many other detainees, Khalid was sexually assaulted and humiliated. During a severe beating, soldiers punched him in the mouth, breaking one of his teeth, and grabbed his buttocks while brandishing a long wooden pole and threatening to sodomize him on the spot and on every night of his detention. Soldiers also simulated anal rape by grabbing his buttocks and pressing a water bottle against the seat of his pants.

Throughout his detention, interrogators threatened to kill Khalid and subjected him to mock executions in order to coerce confessions. Soldiers would demand a false confession while holding a gun to his head, and placed him before a mock firing squad with simulated gunfire.

Khalid was also routinely deprived of sleep, food and water. At times, guards gave Khalid spoiled food, causing him to vomit. He was also kept shackled for extended periods and denied access to a toilet, which would cause him to soil his pants. On one occasion, Khalid was shackled to a fence with his hands behind his back and was forced to stand in that position for several hours at temperatures exceeding 120 degrees Fahrenheit, without any water or food. At another point of his detention, Khalid was forced to stay in a so-called ”silent tent” for several days, during which time he was severely beaten whenever he started to fall asleep.

After his release from custody, Khalid accompanied fellow detainee Thahe Mohammed Sabbar back to Abu Ghraib. Sabbar sought the return of property confiscated from him by U.S. forces and also wished to inquire about a colleague who remained in custody. Both Khalid and Sabbar were detained in a locked room by military personnel and were then released without receiving any response to their inquiries.

Thahe Mohammed Sabbar

Thahe Mohammed Sabbar is a 43-year-old Iraqi who was detained by the United States military for approximately six months from July 2003 to January 2004. Sabbar was detained at various locations in Iraq, including Camp Bucca and Abu Ghraib prison. While in American custody, Sabbar was subjected to acts of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. Sabbar's quality of life has suffered greatly since his detention.

Sabbar received frequent and severe beatings from U.S. military personnel. Soldiers used guns and an electric weapon to beat and shock Sabbar, and forced him and other detainees to run through a gauntlet of 10 to 20 uniformed soldiers, who screamed at them and beat them with wooden batons. Sabbar was also shackled to a fence with his hands behind his back and was left for several hours at temperatures exceeding 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

In addition to physical abuse, Sabbar was sexually assaulted by U.S. military personnel. On one occasion, one or more soldiers inserted their fingers into Sabbar's anus and grabbed and fondled his buttocks while making moaning sounds and jeering at him. This was done in the presence of other soldiers, including females, in order to further degrade and demean Sabbar.

Soldiers also staged mock executions with Sabbar and other detainees to terrorize and humiliate them. During one such execution, Sabbar and others were forced to stand against a wall in front of a firing squad. The squad simulated gunfire and then laughed as the detainees lost control of their bladders. Sabbar was also threatened by soldiers who told him they would send him to Guantánamo, where he would be killed.

Throughout his detention, Sabbar was routinely deprived of food and water. At times, guards gave Sabbar and other detainees spoiled food, which caused some detainees to vomit. He was also kept shackled for extended periods and denied access to a toilet, causing him to soil his pants. As a result of this treatment, and of the sexual and physical abuse, Sabbar currently suffers from incontinence, impotence and nightmares.

After his release from custody, Sabbar returned to Abu Ghraib to seek return of property confiscated from him by U.S. forces and to inquire about a business partner who remained in custody. Military personnel responded to his requests by detaining him once again in a locked room. He was finally released without his property.

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