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Ex-Guantanamo detainee confirms Qur’an abuse

Aljazeera.com
May 17, 2005

An Afghan ex-Guantanamo detainee confirmed on Tuesday that U.S. interrogators at the prison have repeatedly desecrated the Qur’an, which prompted a hunger strike and a U.S. apology.

In an interview on AVT Khyber television, Abdul Rahim said that abuse of the holy book was routine at Guantanamo Bay.

“Abuse of the Qur’an was done routinely particularly in the early days of detention,” Rahim said.

“They would throw the holy book on the ground, trample upon it and tell the prisoner under interrogation no one could stop them from doing that.

“The news of sacrilege sent shockwaves among the prisoners and all of us went on a hunger strike.

“We declined to participate in the interrogation and also did not eat anything for many days,” he said.

The hunger strike ended only after senior U.S. officials apologized for the desecration, Rahim added.

“All of us ended the hunger strike except for a Palestinian. It was due to our efforts and sacrifices that we restored the honour of the Qur’an,” he said.

Abdul Rahim’s statement comes after the Newsweek, the magazine that released a report saying that U.S. guards at Guantanamo abused the Qur’an, retracted its report.

In its May 9 edition, the magazine published a report describing the desecration of the Qur’an by Guantanamo interrogators, including throwing a copy of the holy book into a toilet to break the Muslim prisoners.

Rahim arrived back in Pakistan after he was released from Camp X-Ray last month.

He was arrested in Peshawar in 2001 and handed over to U.S. custody.

Rahim also said that Muslim detainees at Guantanamo were kept in cages like animals.

“The cages were made of steel and also the beds on which we used to sleep. At times we created lots of noise by thumping the steel cages that would disturb the Americans.”

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