'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Friday, January 30, 2004

Well, It's Not in English So, Uh, It Must Not Be True ...

The Jordanian newspaper al-Arab al-Yawm ran a story by Ahmad Sabri on Tuesday in which former prisoners of the US occupation forces speak out about their time in captivity. This article was translated to English by Muhammad Abu Nasr:

Iraqi prisoners released by the American occupation forces recently are describing what they were subjected to during the periods of their detention and how and where they were arrested. In talks with al-Arab al-Yawm they have disclosed that Abu Ghurayb central prison camp, in which thousands of Iraqis are being held, was subjected on several occasions to mortar attacks resulting in the death of dozens of the prisoners and the American forces charged with controlling the prison camp.

Prisoner 'Ali Mahmud, who spent about five months in five different prison camps in various parts of Iraq before winding up in Abu Ghurayb, said that the charge against him was not based on any evidence but was merely slander. Yet the way he was captured was outrageous. "They raided my home in al-Karakh district late at night, provocatively wrecking our household goods. They stole five million dinars from my house and arrested three of my sons."

Mahmud said that the investigators used psychological torture on him throughout long hours of interrogation sessions during which his hands and feet were bound in iron chains.

Mahmud, who is known as 'Ali Mama, did not claim that he was beaten but said that some of the investigators used threats and intimidation regarding what would happen to him if he did not confess to his connections with Saddam and wit the so-called Army of Muhammad, connections with which he denied. Because he denied any connection with the Resistance, Mahmud says he was stripped naked and confined to an empty cell.

Mahmud described how during his imprisonment there he was subjected to a harsh form of punishment in which the jailers would pour water on his naked body, bringing on sickness. "I got terrible diarrhea and have fainting spells which I am now seeing a doctor about."

[ ... snip ... ]

Mahmud estimated the number of Iraqi prisoners in the camps that he spent time in during his five months of detention as being more than 10,000 prisoners. He said that the reason for the release of prisoners is that the prisons have filled up and are seriously overcrowded.

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