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Report on Torture, Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment of Prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. (Al Murbati)

In July 2006, The New York Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) published its Report on Torture, Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment of Prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. This report is based on accounts drawn directly from habeas counsels’ unclassified notes reflecting prisoner statements made to counsel during in-person interviews conducted at Guantánamo beginning in the Fall of 2004. Some information for that report was taken also from public sources compiled in Cecili Thompson Williams & Kristine A. Huskey, Detention, Interrogation, and Torture at Guantánamo Bay: Materials and Case Files, a report published by the law firm of Shearman and Sterling LLP in October 2005. The testimony by or about Mr. Issa Ali Abdulah Al Murbati in the CCR report can be found below.

(CCR24) As of late 2005, Mr. Al Murbati had been held in isolation in Camp Five since approximately May 2004 (Center for Constitutional Rights 2006, 17).

(CCR25) Mr. Al Murbati stated he was told by an interrogator that if he did not cooperate he would be transferred back to Bahrain to be imprisoned or sent to Saudi Arabia where “they have no mercy.” (Center for Constitutional Rights 2006, 18f).

(CCR26) Within a few days of arriving at Guantánamo, two older interrogators dressed in civilian clothing showed Mr. Al Murbati a document. The interrogators told Mr. Al Murbati that the document was a transcription of an audiotape made of a highranking al Qaeda member from Kuwait that described potential targets. The interrogators asked Mr. Al Murbati where the next attack would occur. When Mr. Al Murbati was unable to respond he was put in solitary confinement and threatened with a transfer to Egypt where, he was told, he would be tortured. Typically, Mr. Al Murbati’s interrogations in Camp Delta were conducted from approximately 6 a.m. until 4 p.m., or from 10 p.m. until 4 a.m. For the entirety of most sessions, Mr. Al Murbati was made to sit on the floor with his ankles shackled to the floor and with his hands pulled under his legs and also shackled to the floor. During certain interrogations, the air conditioning was set very high, making the interrogation room quite cold. At other times, there would be no air conditioning, making the interrogation room very hot. On multiple occasions, the floor of the interrogation room had been treated by what appeared to be a mixture of water and a powerful cleaning agent. This mixture would be thrown on Mr. Al Murbati’s face and body, causing great irritation. Because he would be shackled when this occurred, Mr. Al Murbati was unable to do anything to alleviate the irritation. Especially when the air conditioning was turned off, the cleaning agent that was put on the floor would make breathing difficult. The cleaning agent also caused mucous discharges from Mr. Al Murbati’s nose. Several days after a contentious interrogation, Mr. Al Murbati was taken from Camp Three to Camp One. There, in an interrogation room, he was shackled to the floor by his hands and feet, with his hands pulled underneath his legs. For approximately 12 hours, very loud music and white noise was played through six speakers arranged close to Mr. Al Murbati’s head. This technique was used on multiple other occasions as well, most of which occurred in or around Ramadan 2003 (October and November). In certain sessions, multiple flashing strobe lights were used as well; these lights were so strong that Mr. Al Murbati had to keep his eyes closed. The interrogation rooms were always cold when the music and strobe lights were employed. Generally, Mr. Al Murbati was not asked any specific questions during these sessions, although sometimes he was told that he needed to cooperate generally. When Mr. Al Murbati was not in the interrogation room during this period, he was moved from cell to cell ..., typically on an hourly basis. As such, Mr. Al Murbati was never able to sleep for more than short periods even when not in the interrogation rooms. Mr. Al Murbati knows of at least one other detainee (Faruk el Meki, a Saudi) who was subjected to similar treatment with respect to the use of music in the interrogation room and frequent moves among cells. At other times, when Mr. Al Murbati was shackled and facing away from the door, someone would enter the room quietly and then blow a very loud horn in Mr. Al Murbati’s ear (Center for Constitutional Rights 2006, 19).

Primary Sources

Cecili Thompson Williams & Kristine A. Huskey (2005) Detention, Interrogation, and Torture at Guantánamo Bay: Materials and Case Files. Shearman and Sterling LLP.