Guantanamo Bay Detainee Statements
This is a summary of the statements made by Mr. Jum'ah Mohammed Abdul Latif Al Dossari to his lawyers. It is taken, verbatim, from pp. 1-9 of Guantanamo Bay Detainee Statements, a document produced in May 2005 by attorneys Mark Sullivan and Joshua Colangelo-Bryan, of the firm Dorsey & Whitney LLP.
Pursuant to an order entered by the U.S. District Court in the habeas corpus litigations initiated by a number of prisoners, all notes taken during client interviews with Guantánamo prisoners must be reviewed by the Department of Defense and deemed unclassified by them. The statements on which the Sullivan and Colangelo-Bryan summary are based have been reviewed by the Department of Defense and deemed unclassified.
Summary of Mr. Al Dossari's Statements
A. Treatment While in U.S. Custody in Afghanistan
Mr. Al Dossari was seized in Pakistan in or around December 2001 and held by Pakistani authorities for several weeks. Mr. Al Dossari was transferred from Pakistan to Kandahar, Afghanistan via airplane by U.S. authorities. On the plane, he was shackled by chains on his thighs, waist and shoulders, with his hands tied behind him. The chains were so tight around his shoulders that he was forced to lean forward at an extreme angle during the entire flight. This caused great pain to Mr. Al Dossari's stomach, where he had had an operation some years before. When Mr. Al Dossari complained about the pain, he was hit and kicked in the stomach, causing him to vomit blood.
Upon arriving in Kandahar, Mr. Al Dossari and other detainees were put in a row on the ground in a tent. U.S. Marines urinated on the detainees and put cigarettes out on them (Mr. Al Dossari has scars that are consistent with those that would be caused by cigarette burns). A U.S. soldier pushed Mr. Al Dossari's head into the ground violently and other soldiers walked on him. Mr. Al Dossari lay on the ground for approximately an hour, wearing only a thin pair of overalls he had been given in jail in Pakistan, despite the fact that it was January and the weather was quite cold.
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Mr. Al Dossari and the other detainees were then tied together by a wire that was placed around their arms, and taken to a tent In the tent, Mr. Al Dossari was kicked in the head, and hit in the eye with an object that he was not able to identify. A soldier put a boot he was wearing into Mr, Al Dossari's mouth. Other detainees received similar treatment.
Mr. Al Dossari was then brought to a different location, where pictures were taken of him. At that point, Mr. Al Dossari began to offer to do anything requested of him (for example, to admit to being a terrorist, to sign a statement, etc.) in the hopes of preventing further beatings.
The next morning Mr. Al Dossari was taken for an interrogation. Prior to arriving at the interrogation room, he was made to walk barefoot over barbed wire and his head was pushed to the ground on broken glass; Mr. Al Dossari has scars visible today that he attributes to this experience.
In the interrogation room, Mr. Al Dossari told his interrogator that there was no need to beat him because he would sign any statement put in front of him. The interrogator told him that beatings were not permitted. Thereafter, the interrogator left the room and other soldiers arrived. These soldiers carried an electric device of some sort with which they shocked Mr, Al Dossari. The soldiers told Mr. Al Dossari that they knew he was a terrorist. A very hot liquid (Mr. Al Dossari believes it was tea) was then poured on Mr. Al Dossari's head. Mr. Al Dossari asked for a doctor and, in response, was spat upon by a U.S. soldier who said, "we brought you here to kill you."
During the subsequent two weeks, Mr. Al Dossari was housed in freezing tents. Soldiers would line up Mr. Al Dossari and other detainees at night and threaten to shoot anyone who moved. Then, instead of shooting, the soldiers would beat anyone who moved. Because of the cold and being awakened by soldiers, sleep was virtually impossible. One bucket served as a bathroom for all detainees in a given tent.
Mr. Al Dossari was interrogated several more times while in Kandahar. During one interrogation, Mr. Al Dossari was beaten to the point that he began to cry. His crying seemed to cause the beating to become more intense. Eventually, Mr. Al Dossari vomited blood and then fainted. When Mr. Al Dossari regained consciousness, he was lying on the ground with his head under a soldier's boot He was returned to the tent by soldiers who cursed the Muslim prophet Mohammed.
Red Cross representatives visited Mr. Al Dossari in Afghanistan and were able to observe clear signs of physical abuse on Mr. Al Dossari.
B. The Trip to Guantanamo Bay
One night, in or around the end of January 2002, military personnel put a very tightly fitting pair of goggles (the lenses of which had been blackened) onto Mr. Al Dossari, along with a pair of plastic safety ear muffs (such as those worn by airport personnel). Mr. Al Dossari and other detainees were taken to an airplane, the engine of which could be heard despite the ear muffs. Mr. Al Dossari was taken inside the airplane and chained to some portion of the airplane's interior with other detainees. When he complained about the discomfort of being chained in this
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manner, Mr. Al Dossari was hit repeatedly. Eventually, however, he was given pills which induced him to sleep.
After many hours, the plane landed. Mr, Al Dossari was dragged off the plane, still chained to other detainees. Mr. Al Dossari and the other detainees were put on a second plane. By this point, Mr, Al Dossari's nose was bleeding, which he attributes to the fact that the goggles he was wearing fit so tightly to his face. Mr. Al Dossari was again given what he believes were sleeping pills.
The second plane landed in what Mr. Al Dossari later discovered to be Cuba. He and the other detainees were made to lie on the ground for hours upon their arrival, still chained together. Mr. Al Dossari was then taken to a cement building, where his goggles were finally removed, as was his clothing. Mr. Al Dossari was given a cold shower. He was then questioned and photographed. He was also instructed to write to his family, which he did.
C. Camp X-Ray
1. Conditions in Camp X-Ray
Mr. Al Dossari was taken to a camp that he later learned was called Camp X-Ray. At the time of Mr. Al Dossari's arrival in Camp X-Ray, the detainees were forbidden to speak with each other, to pray or even to move within their cells. After several weeks, the detainees were allowed to sit in order to pray. Subsequently, they were allowed to move in order to face Mecca while praying. However, when new detainees arrived, the restrictions on praying and moving were imposed again for various periods of time.
In Camp X-Ray, there were no bathrooms in the detainees' makeshift cells. Detainees were shackled painfully before being escorted to the bathrooms. For this reason, detainees began refusing to go to the bathrooms. As a result, buckets were given to detainees to use in their cells.
Frequently, rats, snakes and scorpions entered Mr. Al Dossari's cell, because the cell was fully exposed to the outdoors. In addition, the clothing that Mr. Al Dossari was given was always quite dirty and caused him to develop rashes. Mr. Al Dossari was allowed three-minute showers every four days or so. Further, no exercise was allowed, although this rule was later modified to allow for occasional periods of exercise that lasted no longer than ten minutes.
During this initial period in Camp X-Ray, copies of the Koran were sometimes thrown on the floor. On one occasion, a detainee was beaten while praying. This beating sparked a hunger strike.
On one occasion, Mr. Al Dossari returned to his cell and saw that the few items that had been in the cell had been removed. The head of shift, an MP named Webster, pushed Mr. Al Dossari to the ground of the cell and cursed at Mr. Al Dossari. Mr. Al Dossari yelled in response. Webster then told staff sergeant Branch (or Blanche) to bring an immediate response force ("IRF"),
A lieutenant arrived and Branch informed him that an IRF had been summoned. Mr. Al Dossari was told by the lieutenant to go to his knees. In response, Mr. Al Dossari lay on the floor with his hands on his back.
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When the IRF arrived, a female MP named Smart entered with the IRF, even though she was not a member of the IRF. At this time, Mr. Al Dossari saw that Branch had a video camera and was filming the scene.
The IRF opened the door to Mr. Al Dossari's cell. An MP named Smith jumped on Mr. Al Dossari's back wearing full riot gear. According to other detainees who viewed this incident, Smith weighed approximately 240 pounds. Mr. Al Dossari then felt at least two men holding him by his legs. Smith began to choke Mr. Al Dossari with his hands and Smart repeatedly hit Mr. Al Dossari's head on the floor. Mr. Al Dossari lost consciousness.
Former Guantanamo Bay detainees from the United Kingdom later told Mr. Al Dossari that the IRF team pulled Mr. Al Dossari's face up for the video camera that Branch held after Mr. Al Dossari had lost consciousness. (A report created by these now-freed U.K. detainees, which addresses this incident, may be viewed here at paragraph 167). These detainees reported that Mr. Al Dossari was put on a stretcher and his cell was cleaned with water. The report describes Mr. Al Dossari's cell as so covered in blood that the water used to clean it turned red. According to the report, this episode was captured in its entirety on videotape. The former detainees told Mr. Al Dossari that this event occurred on April 27 or 28, 2002. This incident is also addressed in the book "Inside the Wire," which was written by Erik Saar, a former Guantanamo Bay military intelligence interpreter. According to Saar, "the MPs had somehow lost the videotape" of this incident.
Mr. Al Dossari awoke in the hospital tent, unable to move. He saw doctors and Branch, who still had the video camera. Mr. Al Dossari was then taken by ambulance to the regular U.S. Naval Hospital at Guantanamo Bay, where a CAT scan was performed. He was then returned to the detainee hospital tent, although he made several trips back to the Naval Hospital.
During one visit to the hospital, Mr. Al Dossari was seen by two representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross, including a doctor (perhaps with the last name Casbar). The doctor seemed quite upset by the condition in which he found Mr. Al Dossari and told Mr. Al Dossari that he would make an inquiry of the U.S. military regarding the incident.
Mr. Al Dossari later asked Smith why Smith had beaten him. Smith replied, "because I'm Christian."
A delegation from the Bahrain Interior Ministry visited Mr. Al Dossari approximately one month after he had been beaten by the IRF. Mr. Al Dossari's face was still swollen from the beating at the time of this visit.
We have been informed that the government of Bahrain made a formal request to the U.S. Department of State to investigate this incident. No response has been made to this request.
2. Interrogations in Camp X-Ray
Mr. Al Dossari was interrogated repeatedly while in Camp X-Ray. It took approximately 15 minutes to walk to the interrogation room from Mr. Al Dossari's cell. Mr. Al Dossari was shackled quite uncomfortably during this walk, and the soldiers who escorted him would push his head down and force him to move very quickly, which made the shackles even more painful.
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On one occasion, while in the interrogation room, an MP trained a rifle directly on Mr. Al Dossari at close range, despite the fact that Mr. Al Dossari was shackled to the floor. On another occasion, an interrogator in civilian clothing threatened to send Mr. Al Dossari to a prison with murderers, where he said Mr. Al Dossari would be raped.
At a subsequent interrogation, Mr. Al Dossari was told that it was known that he was a low-level al Qaeda soldier and that if he admitted this, he would spend five to ten years in prison. If he did not confess, Mr. Al Dossari was told, he would spend 50 years or perhaps the rest of his life in jail.
During another interrogation, a woman Mr. Al Dossari believes was of Egyptian origin banged Mr. Al Dossari's head on a table. Further, the chain wrapped around Mr. Al Dossari's waist was so tight that it caused him to vomit.
On a different day, Mr. Al Dossari was shown a flyer that contained photographs of the faces of bin Laden and high-ranking Taliban officials. The photographs had been altered so that one-half of the faces were skeletons. Mr. Al Dossari was asked if he thought these flyers should be dropped in Afghanistan.
D. Camp Delta
1. Conditions in Camp Delta
In or around the spring of 2002, Mr. Al Dossari was moved to Camp Delta. Several days after arriving in Camp Delta, Mr. Al Dossari was unable to eat because of stomach pain. He was sent to solitary confinement for five days as a result.
On or about Christmas 2002, the head of shift banged on detainees' cells, yelling Merry Christmas and cursing Allah. In response, Mr. Al Dossari and other detainees began yelling and Mr. Al Dossari then began praying. The head of shift came into Mr. Al Dossari's cell and hit Mr. Al Dossari repeatedly. The head of shift then put Mr. Al Dossari's flip-flops on Mr. Al Dossari's copy of the Koran. Subsequently, a lieutenant arrived and entered Mr. Al Dossari's cell, whereupon he hit Mr. Al Dossari.
In early 2004, Mr. Al Dossari received treatment in the detainee clinic. In the clinic, Mr. Al Dossari was given only shorts and a t-shirt to wear despite the fact that his room was quite cold due to excessive air conditioning. At one point, his blanket was taken from him on orders from a doctor. Mr. Al Dossari was not provided with the plastic flip-flops normally given to detainees and, therefore, he was forced to use the toilet in his bare feet, which is forbidden in Islamic culture. Mr. Al Dossari's doctor refused to allow Mr. Al Dossari to have a copy of the Koran
a. Isolation and Interactions with a Psychiatrist
Mr. Al Dossari was transferred from the clinic to cell number 1 in the India Block of Camp Delta. Mr. Al Dossari remained in this cell in isolation for approximately five months. Mr. Al Dossari was not permitted to leave the cell during these five months other than for a handful of interrogations and weekly showers.
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Upon arriving in this cell, Mr. Al Dossari discovered that the cell's faucet had been locked. Therefore he was forced to ask MPs for water. The MPs provided single cups of water that often had a dark color and very unpleasant odor. On these occasions, if necessitated by thirst, Mr. Al Dossari drank from the toilet in his cell.
Some months later, Mr. Al Dossari began to receive five basins of water daily. However, this water also was often darkly-colored. When Mr. Al Dossari complained, an African-American female sergeant told him that MPs had spit in the water while chewing tobacco; it was at this point that Mr. Al Dossari understood why the cups of water that he had been provided earlier often had had a brownish color and foul smell.
During the first several months that Mr. Al Dossari spent in India Block, he was not given a mattress, blanket or clothes other than shorts. His cell was kept quite cold and Mr. Al Dossari would wrap himself in the thin mat he had been given in an attempt to stay warm. After some time, Mr. Al Dossari was given pants, but they were taken away after several days. A corpsman told Mr. Al Dossari that a doctor had ordered that the pants be taken. In his fourth month in India Block Mr. Al Dossari received a t-shirt.
For the first two weeks in the India Block cell, Mr. Al Dossari was not provided with any toilet paper. Thereafter, he was given seven squares of toilet paper daily.
During the first few months in India Block, a psychiatrist known as "Dr. P." visited Mr. Al Dossari weekly. During this time, a sergeant told Mr. Al Dossari that Dr. P. had ordered that Mr. Al Dossari not be given a mattress, additional clothing or toilet paper. Upon learning this, Mr. Al Dossari asked Dr. P. for changes to his conditions of confinement. In response, Dr. P. laughed.
Approximately three months after being transferred to India Block, Mr. Al Dossari was being interrogated when Dr. P. entered the interrogation room. He told Mr. Al Dossari that he was leaving Guantanamo and that he had come to say goodbye. He said to Mr, Al Dossari, "I hope you have a terrible life. You're a big criminal."
On several occasions, an overweight white man with glasses, who identified himself as a psychiatric doctor (not Dr. P.), interrogated Mr. Al Dossari. Mr. Al Dossari was told by an interpreter that this man, who was in uniform, was with naval intelligence. Other interrogators, corpsmen and nurses told Mr. Al Dossari that this doctor was responsible for determining the manner in which interrogations could be conducted, including with respect to applying pressure to detainees. The doctor had extensive knowledge about Mr. Al Dossari's background and questioned Mr. Al Dossari extensively regarding many issues, including Mr. Al Dossari's childhood.
2. Interrogations Generally in Camp Delta
Mr. Al Dossari was interrogated on numerous occasions in Camp Delta (most of which occurred other than when Mr. Al Dossari was in India block). Once, an interrogator wrapped Mr. Al Dossari in Israeli and U.S. flags. Mr. Al Dossari was then asked by the interrogator for his opinion regarding the U.S.'s support of Israel. The interrogator told Mr. Al Dossari that a holy
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war was occurring, between the Cross and the Star of David on the one hand, and the Crescent on the other.
On another occasion, Mr. Al Dossari was short-shackled to the floor of an interrogation room for approximately 16 hours. The floor had been treated with excessive amounts of a powerful cleaning product that made breathing very difficult.
At another time, interrogators told Mr. Al Dossari that he had failed a polygraph examination he had taken previously and that they knew he had been involved in the September 11 attacks. Interrogators threatened to kill Mr. Al Dossari's family. Interrogators also told Mr. Al Dossari that he would be killed or, alternately, detained in Guantanamo Bay for the rest of his life.
On many occasions, interrogators who identified themselves as FBI agents told Mr. Al Dossari that he would be sent to Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt or Israel to be tortured.
a. Female Interrogators/Sexual Themes in Interrogations
Mr. Al Dossari was frequently questioned by female interrogators in Camp Delta. One such interrogator was an American who spoke Arabic and identified herself as Sara. Sara interrogated Mr. Al Dossari weekly during one period. Sara dressed in a military uniform during certain sessions, while at other times she wore shirts that revealed her stomach, chest and back. She often sat close to Mr. Al Dossari during interrogations, although she did not touch him.
Two women whom Mr. Al Dossari believes were interpreters were present for a number of Mr. Al Dossari's interrogations. One said her name was Mouna and that she was Palestinian. The other gave her name as Shymaa and, based on her accent, seemed to be Egyptian. Both often wore revealing shirts during interrogations. Mouna in particular would also smile suggestively and joke with Mr, Al Dossari, while telling him that she knew there were things he was not telling her.
Approximately two years ago, Mr. Al Dossari was interrogated by a woman who identified herself as an FBI agent. She told Mr. Al Dossari that if he cooperated, she could arrange for him to have sex with interpreters Mr. Al Dossari knew named Layla and Alya, or with certain nurses. Mr. Al Dossari did not respond.
On another occasion approximately two years ago, Mr. Al Dossari was taken to an interrogation room in the Orange Building in Camp Delta. Adjacent to this interrogation room was a computer room. The door to the computer room was open when Mr. Al Dossari was brought into the interrogation room and shackled to the floor. Through the door Mr. Al Dossari saw a man and woman who were naked and having sex on a table in the computer room. The MPs who brought Mr. Al Dossari into the interrogation room observed this as well although they quickly left after shackling Mr. Al Dossari. After several minutes, the man got up from the table and removed a condom that he had been wearing. He gave Mr. Al Dossari a "thumbs-up" gesture and asked "good?" The man and woman then dressed and came into the interrogation room. The man showed Mr. Al Dossari pictures of people wearing traditional Saudi dress. He asked if Mr. Al Dossari could tell him anything about the people in the pictures. He said that if Mr. Al Dossari provided any information Mr. Al Dossari could have sex with his "girlfriend"
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and indicated the woman. Mr. Al Dossari did not respond and after approximately 30 minutes of further questioning the man and woman left. Mr. Al Dossari had never seen these individuals before this incident and has not seen them since.
E. Camp 5
Mr. Al Dossari was transferred to Camp 5 in or around May 2004.
1. Conditions in Camp 5
Mr. Al Dossari's cell is kept at a very cold temperature through the use of an air conditioner. The light in his cell remains on continuously throughout the day and night. There is an extremely loud fan that runs constantly in the corridor outside Mr. Al Dossari's cell. Mr. Al Dossari was told once by the head of shift that interrogators had issued the instruction to keep the fan running.
The water from the faucet in Mr. Al Dossari's cell is yellow and has the odor of sewage. On one occasion, Mr. Al Dossari saw worms in the water. When he told an MP what had happened, he was told simply, "try again." Because Mr. Al Dossari is a level one detainee he is allowed to have one bottled water per month. All military and civilian personnel working at Camp 5 drink bottled water.
Many of the meals served in Camp 5 are small and nearly inedible; occasionally, the food is rotten. However, for the past few months, Mr. Al Dossari has received Meals-Ready-to-Eat ("MREs") in the evening, which are a great improvement on the food served otherwise. Based on Mr. Al Dossari's experience and that of other Camp 5 detainees, the meals in Camp 5 are smaller than the meals in other camps.
Mr. Al Dossari is allowed to exercise generally for one hour per week (sometimes for only ½ hour) by himself in a small pen.
Typically, there is only one call to prayer per day in Camp 5, despite complaints that have been made to the sergeant on guard and various guard commanders. Otherwise, detainees attempt to estimate appropriate times to pray. On occasion, MPs mimic and ridicule the call to prayer.
2. Camp 5 Interrogations, Including Regarding Attorney/Client Communications Mr. Al Dossari is interrogated in Camp 5 on the same topics that have been the subject of his interrogations since arriving at Guantanamo Bay. Mr. Al Dossari is frequently threatened with transfer during interrogations at Camp 5. More specifically, interrogators have threatened to send Mr. Al Dossari to Bagram Airforce Base in Afghanistan, telling him that nothing would prevent them from doing so and that he should be thankful that he hasn't been sent there yet.
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The interrogators have told him that conditions in Bagram are far worse than in Guantanamo Bay and that some number of detainees will have to go there.
During the week in which Mr. Al Dossari first met with his attorneys in October 2004, interrogators questioned him with respect to the content of his communications with his attorneys. Since that time, Mr. Al Dossari has been told by interrogators in military and civilian dress that his lawyers are liars. He has also been interrogated regularly regarding the status of his habeas case as well as his interactions with his attorneys. Interrogators also have told him that they know the substance of his conversations with his attorneys.
Other detainees have related to Mr. Al Dossari statements that were made to them regarding their attorneys. For example, Fouad Arabia, a Kuwaiti detainee, was told that if he complained to his lawyers about conditions at Guantanamo Bay he would be kept there for life. Other detainees reported having been told that their attorneys worked for the CIA. One detainee was mocked by an interrogator for signing an acknowledgment of representation form (which is required by the Court) that was in English, a language the detainee does not speak. The interrogator told the detainee that he had signed a statement proving the "charges" against him. The statements of interrogators regarding attorneys have caused general anxiety among certain Camp 5 detainees.
3. Medical Treatment
For the past two years, Mr. Al Dossari has experienced pain in the area of his heart, as well as pain and numbness in his left arm. Four months ago, a doctor examined Mr. Al Dossari with nothing more than a stethoscope, and told Mr. Al Dossari simply, "everything is fine." Mr. Al Dossari also suffers from dizziness and fell during a dizzy spell three months ago; a corpsman who examined Mr. Al Dossari after the fall told him that it was a "muscular" issue.
Mr. Al Dossari requested an examination by a dentist. Six months later, he was seen by a dentist. Despite the fact that Mr. Al Dossari is experiencing pain at the roots of his teeth, the dentist informed him that his condition was "not serious" and that he would be put on a waiting list for further treatment.
Mr. Al Dossari is experiencing vision problems that he attributes to having spent five months in the India Block cell that had little light and 10 months in a Camp 5 cell that is constantly and brightly lit. He is unable to see objects that are at a distance or particularly close to him. Recently he was visited by a doctor who confirmed these vision problems, but said "we don't make eyeglasses here."
Mr. Al Dossari complained to this doctor regarding the yellow color of the water in his cell and was told by the doctor that there was "no solution."
There was a time when corpsmen made routine visits to check on detainees, but that has largely stopped in the last seven months,
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It has been reported by our clients and the U.S. military that detainees are given one of four rankings: level-one; level-two; level-three; or level-four. Level-one detainees are theoretically given the most favorable treatment, while level-four detainees are treated most punitively. It has been reported that rankings are based on putative cooperation with interrogators and MPs.