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Guantánamo: Lives Torn Apart (Karama Khamis Khamisan)

Amnesty International
Document Index: AMR 51/007/2006
October 7, 2006

Yemeni national Karama Khamis Khamisan was returned to Yemen from Guantánamo on 22 August 2005. In an interview with Amnesty International just a few weeks after his transfer he described how he had travelled to Afghanistan as part of a drug smuggling ring where he was held by drugs barons as a human guarantor until completion of the deal. When US forces invaded Afghanistan he described how, fearing discovery, his captors fled leaving he and the other guarantors stranded near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. It was here that he says he was seized by Pakistani nationals, who sold him on to US forces who held him first in Bagram, then Kandahar and later transferred him to Guantánamo.

During his detention by US forces in Afghanistan, Karama Khamisan said that he was kicked and beaten while hooded, stripped naked and beaten with batons. He told Amnesty International that in Kandahar he and a group of other detainees were stripped and piled on top of each other naked, whilst the US officials, in full military uniform laughed at them and took photographs of the pile of naked bodies. He also said that he was threatened with electric shocks and later, on the flight from Afghanistan to Guantánamo handcuffed so tightly that, when the handcuffs were removed, some of his flesh was also torn off.

In Guantánamo, Karama Khamisan described how, on one occasion, he was taken to the shower room where guards attempted to sexually abuse him. As he pushed them away, ten guards entered the room and beat him before transferring him to a solitary cell where he was held for 25 days, naked. He said that he was only taken to use the toilet and shower once in this entire period and that he ate no solid food in order to avoid having to defecate in his cell.

He said that he was also threatened with transfer to Egypt or Jordan where he was told he would be tortured, he was also subjected to verbal threats and told "we have other means and methods we can use if you don’t talk."

Karama Khamisan was eventually determined not to be an ‘enemy combatant’ by US authorities and returned to Yemen. When Amnesty International met him in September 2005 he was held in the Investigating Criminal Unit, Drugs Department in Sana’a. Yemeni officials told Amnesty International that their investigations were completed and that he was due to be tried on drugs related charges ‘soon’. However, in December 2005 he was transferred to the Political Security prison in Sana’a where he was held virtually incommunicado. His lawyer’s requests to visit him and to be present during any court proceedings against him have been denied […]

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