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Affidavit of Muhammad al Ansi, April 21, 2009

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

 

MUHAMMAD AHMAD ABDALLAH AL-ANSI, Petitioner, v.

BARACK H. OBAMA, et al., Respondents.

Civil Action No. 08-cv-01923-GK

 

DECLARATION OF MUHAMMAD AHMAD ABDALLAH AL ANSI


1.

My name is Muhammad Ahmad Abdallah al Ansi. I am over the age of 18 and otherwise competent to give this declaration. I am the Petitioner in the above styled habeas case. The following is based on my personal knowledge.

2.

[handwritten: At the beginning of Ramadan in 2001], I entered Pakistan. I immediately went to Pakistani authorities to obtain assistance in reaching the Yemeni Embassy, where I needed to go to make arrangements for my return to Yemen because I no longer had my passport.

3.

I was immediately taken to a police station, where I was held one to two days alone.

4.

After two days, I was moved to a big detention camp in Peshawar that had approximately 5000 other prisoners. It was a mixture of all nationalities, Christians and Muslims. The prisoners were held separately based upon religion and sects. I was held at the detention camp for several days. I was forced to sleep on the ground without bedding. I was given very little food, maybe a piece of bread or some hot water with one or two lentils. There were no interrogations during this time.

5.

Early in the morning on about the sixth day, I was blindfolded, restrained, and put into a car with a siren on. It was a long drive. I was taken into building still blindfolded.

6.

When the blindfold was removed, I was in a room with Pakistani soldiers. They were holding Kalashnikov guns.

7.

Two civilians entered the room including an American and an interpreter. I was told that I was now under detention in American custody. I wondered why I was there but I had no opportunity to speak because everyone in the room was screaming at me. Then, they took [handwritten: several] photographs of me and blindfolded me. [handwritten: Before taking the photographs, they placed a strange hat on my head for the photos. It was not mine.]

8.

The Pakistani guards had told me that they had received payment by the United States Government to tum me over to United Stated custody but I do not know how much. When taken into United States custody, they took away my clothing and jacket, my papers and telephone numbers, a small diary, money, watch and a ring. I have never seen my belongings again.

9.

At midnight, they put me on a bus. I was blindfolded and restrained. Sometimes they removed my hand restraints but never the leg restraints. I was put onto a plane. I had to sit on the floor with my legs forward and hands extended backward, tied to the side of the plane. There was a rope on my legs and feet, a sack on my face [handwritten: with a drawstring and] very few small holes. This position was very painful.

10.

I was taken to Khandahar (I learned later). I was carried him [sic] into a huge tent by two men. They were hitting me from the left and the right like they were practicing boxing.

11.

I was brought into another tent and they removed my blindfold. An Arab came in and started screaming at me: "Confess you belong to al-Qaeda." An American was kicking me. At midnight, I was put into a tent with some clothes, water and a small sheet. I was freezing.

12.

The next day, there were no prayers and no washing. I was brought an MRE [or Meal Ready to Eat, a military ration] but did not eat it fast enough and it was taken away before I finished it. I sat in a tent all that day.

13.

That night, I was told to lie on the floor with my hands behind my back. Four American military soldiers jump on my back and repeatedly kicked me. Then all four carried me outside blindfolded into unbearable cold. They took off the blindfold. I saw a female interrogator, an interpreter, and a soldier with a pistol aimed at me. And then the questioning started. The interrogator kept yelling at me to confess to what they were saying, confess to 9/11, confess you are al Qaeda, confess you are a terrorist, and confess you know Osama bin Laden'. I told them they were incorrect.

14.

Then the four American soldiers came into the room and beat me up. [handwritten: My hands were  tied behind my back and I was on my knees]. They were [handwritten: choking] me and [handwritten: shaking my head] and beating from all sides. The female  interrogator got close [handwritten: and pressed her breasts in my face] and said, "If you want mercy, then confess. These four men will kill and torture you if you do not do what I say." She gestured at the four soldiers. They beat me [handwritten: with their open hands and fists and kicked with their feet and knees].  This started around midnight and lasted until sunrise.

15.

I was taken back to my tent, and all day nothing happened. At midnight, the four American men came again and got me. It was extremely cold. I was told to sit in a steel chair (which was also cold). They brought a blanket to make me warm but when I did not confess, it made the female interrogator angry, and she took away the blanket. Four American soldiers came and took me into another room. It was not a tent. They put me on a slab (the size and shape of a bed) made of bricks. I was made to lay on my stomach with my head hanging over the edge. They brought in a big water container and placed it under my head. They would [handwritten: forced [sic]] my head and shoulders [handwritten: under] into the water until I almost drowned and lift my head out at the last minute. They did this over and over. During this time, the interrogators asked me to confess to being a part of 9/11, confess I am part of al Qaeda, confess that I swore allegiance to Osama bin Laden, confess I have explosive weapons training, and confess to knowing several names that I had never heard of. This continued for one to two hours. I said nothing other than: "Have mercy on me."

16.

They took me back to the first room. [handwritten: My shirt was] completely wet and [handwritten: I was] freezing. I was so cold I could not have spoken even if I wanted to because I was shivering so much. The people in the room were laughing, shouting and screaming, including sexually orientated insults. I witnessed some strange [handwritten:  sexual] behavior between men [handwritten: and women] soldiers that appeared to be designed to get a reaction from me.

17.

At sunrise, they took me back to the tent. I had my normal day routine. In the afternoon, they brought me back to the same room with the brick slab to scare me but then just brought me back to the tent. That night, they took me back to the same room with the brick slab and asked over and over again if I was going to talk. They were shouting and screaming but it was not as bad as the past few nights.

18.

Then, a new male American interrogator came in and asked me to confess. He threatened: "If you want to keep your fingers safe, and [sic] then talk." What happened after that is blurry and hard to remember. But this is what I recall. I was so cold and I was unable to talk. My fingernails and [sic] had been growing because of where I had been with no opportunity to cut them. The man had a tool in his hand. [handwritten: The tool was in the shape of a pen.] I felt a severe burning sensation and then I fainted. I came to and my hands were bleeding. I had no idea what he cut off. I cannot tell the details of that night because I was in an out of consciousness. But they had used the metal tool to pull off all of my finger and toe nails. [handwritten: He put a liquid on the place where my nails had been that burned]. I passed out and suffered temporary memory loss as a result of this trauma. I was returned to my tent. My hands were swollen, greenish, and bleeding. The wrist restraints were so tight it hurt to my bones. The restraints cut into my flesh because of swelling.

19.

On the next night, they took me from my tent, beat me, cussed at me, and threatened me, then returned me to my tent.

20.

The next interrogation occurred around 3 a.m. on the fifth night. I was taken into an interrogation room, where guards were shouting and screaming at me. They handed me a piece of paper and a pencil and told me to write a confession. When I did not write anything, other soldiers came into the room with a small machine (6 inches by 8 inches approximately) with electric cables. They taped the electric cables to my hands and sent electric shocks into my body. They increased the electric shocks when they wanted me to talk until I screamed, then they would lower it. This happened all night.

21.

During the last interrogation in Kandahar, they threatened to kill me. I had to sit on the floor in a specific uncomfortable position while a guard kicked me repeatedly. [handwritten: I continue to suffer pain from injuries that night and now have an ankle brace for a broken ankle I got that night]. I stayed in that room until I left for Guantánamo.

22.

I spent approximately fifteen days in the prison in Kandahar. On the last day, I was taken to another tent and completely shaved. My wrists were swollen and bleeding because the wrist shackles were cutting into my flesh. Where my finger nails and toe nails had been removed there was bleeding. It was freezing. They placed headphones and eyeblocks on me and I sat in a tent all day without access to food, water, or bathrooms. [handwritten: In the evening,] I boarded a plane. Initially I was made to sit in a tight chair but later put on the floor. I was given an injection and some pills and do not recall the rest of the trip. I was like a zombie. The plane did make one stop where we were transferred to another plane. I was given no food other than an apple but my hands were shackled, and it was too painful to lift my hands to eat the apple due to the flesh wounds.

23.

When I arrived in Guantánamo, guards immediately began screaming at me and demanding me to confess that I was a part of al Qaeda. They thrust blank papers at me and asked me to sign them [handwritten: , which I did]. I have no idea what they did with the blank papers.

24.

In the first few weeks in Guantánamo, the ERFs [emergency response force] came into my cell and beat me up on a daily basis. I was also interrogated three times but there was no torture in those sessions, just threats to hurt my family and myself. During the early part of my time at Guantánamo I was told repeatedly that if I contacted my family or talked to a lawyer that they would kill me and my family. I was so scared by these threats that I have not contacted my family in seven years. I am also still afraid that I will be tortured for meeting with my lawyers.

25.

I lived in Camp X-Ray when I first arrived at Guantánamo. For the first fifteen days, I had no recreational time, showers only once a week, and I could not talk to other detainees. Eventually, the treatment improved and after a few weeks I was allowed to walk once a week, shower twice a week, and talk to other detainees but the treatment was still savage. But I was still routinely threatened, beaten, and my religion was insulted.

26.

After three months, I was transferred to Camp Delta. In the first four months at Camp Delta, there were no interrogations. Then I had [handwritten: many] interrogation sessions ([handwritten: and two were] conducted by an Arab delegation), where they threatened my life and my family and screamed at me to confess.

27.

In my second year at Guantánamo, 2003, I was approached by an interrogator who told me I had the choice between improving my life in Cuba or making my life in Cuba "hell." In order to obtain the improvements (such as medical treatment, cold drinking water, furniture, movies, and books), I was told I had to confess to various things, including being a member of al-Qaeda. When I did not respond, he said that he would choose for me.

28.

Over the next year, I was locked in dark rooms with loud music for hours at a time. Sometimes they flashed strobe lights in my eyes during this time. Other times, they played strange movies or pornographic movies. I have no idea how long I was kept in the dark rooms but I was usually brought back to my cell to sleep for about two to four hours then returned to the dark rooms, where often there was no water, no restroom, and no prayer time. The temperatures of the rooms varied. Sometimes it was so extremely cold that I shivered. Other times it was so hot that I was covered in sweat, at which point I would be brought in the cold room to shiver. Sometimes I was forced to stand for six hours (while handcuffed and shackled to the floor, which forced me to stand with my knees and back bent) and beaten if I fell. Other times I was tied to a metal chair in a painful slouch or hanging position for hours.

29.

As the year progressed, the length of time in the dark rooms increased and the extreme lights, music, and temperatures got worse. They experimented with smells and smoke. The abuse in the dark rooms occurred every day for six months. Once I was forced to walk around the building in the rain without shoes until I was so exhausted that I dropped to the ground. After days of sleep deprivation and exposure to the dark rooms, I would be interrogated.

30.


During this time, eleven interrogators were assigned to me. They brought photobooks that would sit in front of me for days with pictures of [handwritten: many men] digitally altered with a beard and without a beard. If other detainees had been shown my photograph from Khandahar or my arrival in Guantanamo Bay, I would have been unrecognizable. I had been beaten up and they shaved my beard.

31.

For four months of this period, I had no recreation time, no time to exercise, and no showers. Because I had been in solitary confinement, I was unable to communicate with anyone. The ERFs continued to visit my cell during the time I spent there and they kicked and beat me. Often they used pepper spray. Guards sometimes sprayed me with pepper spray to keep me awake. So during the time when I was returned to my cell to sleep, I was afraid to sleep. Often my cell would be rearranged or even moved during the time I was in the dark room so that I would be disoriented when I was returned to "sleep" for two to four hours.

32.

After almost a year of this torture, I got new interrogators and the tactics changed. There were more women interrogators. The women offered better treatment (movies, better food, items, moving me to any cell block) if I confessed. One woman pleaded with me to have mercy on myself and tell them what they want to hear because I had gone through enough. I did not confess. The torture continued but never as bad as that prior year had been. It was reduced to one or two times a month.

33.

For the next year and a half, I had three [handwritten: groups of] interrogators. I believe there was one from the FBI, one from CIA, and one from CTIF. They each had their own methods of interrogations: one threatened me, one appeased me and tried to be nice, and one attempted to bribe me with food and special treatment.

34.

During this year, a particular male [handwritten: interrogator] started calling on me. Sometimes it was one [sic] a week, sometimes once a month, and sometimes every other day. There was no specific sequence. He used extreme cold and a metal chair in the dark room. He would yeIl at me to confess and then leave me in the dark cold room for six to ten hours. Sometimes he brought in young females with exposing clothes and their breasts showing, and they would just look at me. One time he told me to pick a girl. I never spoke to him at all.

35.

I have been subject to electric shocks at least seven times since I have been in Guantánamo Bay. Some of these occurred in the guise of treating my injured shoulder during which the voltage was turned up extremely high - much higher than would be used for treatment of an injury.

36.

For the past several years, I have been ill. I have been diagnosed with a stomach ulcer. As a result, I vomit blood and there is blood in my feces. I have repeatedly been refused medical treatment. I have been told on several occasions from medical personnel that if I want treatment, I must respond to the interrogators' questions. One doctor told me that the stomach ulcer was so bad that there is nothing that could be done for it and suggested that I should not even bother taking any medicine. Another doctor was going to prescribe medication for the ulcer. When that doctor returned from checking my file, he stated that because of a "red flag" by my name in my file, that he could no longer prescribe any medication or treat the ulcer further. The typical response to inquiries about my medical condition is: "There is nothing that I can do." Those were the first English words that I learned in Guantánamo Bay.

37.

Since my fingernails were removed, they grow back through my flesh and cause bleeding. I also have untreated skin allergies on my face and arms. I also have knee and shoulder pains from injuries suffered while in U.S. custody that have not been treated.

38.

During the last two years, I have been subject to regular interrogations. Although they pressure me and use some of the same tricks, the physical and mental pain has not been as bad as those first years. My last interrogation was on September 21, 2008. I was not formally interrogated again but when I received the first letter from my attorney in February, 2009, I was threatened.


               PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. § 1746, I DECLARE UNDER PENALTY OF
               PERJURY THAT THE FOREGOING IS TRUE AND CORRECT.

This [handwritten: 21] day of [handwritten: APRIL], 2009.

                                                                                                   s/Muhammad al Ansi

Get original here

CSHRA Note

The handwritten comments were made by Mr. al Ansi's lawyers, Mr. Emmet Bondurant and Ms. Lisa Strauss, as Mr. al Ansi corrected the affidavit when it was read back to him.

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