Testimony to Witness to Guantanamo (Haji Mohammed Ayub)
Usually the punishment comes to us when we resist some of the search methods. Like female guards come in, and when they search, when they are taking us to the shower and things like that, they touch our private parts, although they could just search us without doing so. And then when they do that we shout and then we bang the doors.
One time, actually, when they were giving breakfast, they are supposed to give the plate with the food. The guard gave him an empty plate with nothing, just an empty plate. He said, “Where is my food?” And the guard said, “This is for you, this is your food.” And so he just took the plate, this empty plate with nothing on it, no plastic utensils or no food, nothing, just an empty plate. He just sat there patiently, didn’t have his breakfast. Everybody else was eating and he just sat there. And then after, when they came back to pick up the trash, he gave the plate back, and the guard said, “Where is the spoon?” He said, “Well, you didn’t give me a spoon. You just gave me the plate.” He said, “No I gave you a spoon. Give the spoon back.” And he said, “I don’t have the spoon. You didn’t give me spoon.” He wanted to search the cell and he didn’t let him. He said, “I’m not going to let you search because you didn’t give me a spoon.” And he called for the captain, the person in charge or the translator. He wanted to speak to them. And then finally they came with the translator. It was an elder gentleman. It was after I left actually. So the older gentleman came in, the translator, and tried to talk him into letting them search. He kept saying, “No. The guard didn’t give me food and the spoon, and now he is asking for a spoon. And now he wants to search, I’m not going to let him.” And the translator tried to talk him into letting them search. He said, “If you don’t then they are going to beat you up, and they are going to be harsh on you. So please, just come out so they can search your block.” He said, “No, I’m not going to come out.”
And then they called probably 20 or 30 guards to come and forcefully get him out. So he said, “I’m not coming out.” He was stubborn. He went on his bed and laid down there. He just laid on his bed. And the person who is not resisting the fight, or he’s lying quietly on the bed…They came in and they sprayed him. They sprayed the block with a gas. And then sprayed him and all that. And he was getting nauseated with that. And they sprayed some chemical on the dishtowel and then put it on his face, rubbing it on his face, putting it on his mouth. Actually the 20 or 30 guards, there was a psychologist, and then the person in charge and translator—everybody was there. They beat him up and they dragged him out of his cellblock. They got him all undressed, took all of his clothes off. He was only wearing underwear. And then he was trying to spit on the guards and he was trying to fight but he was all shackled up. They tied him up. And there were so many people around him, and he was just fighting. He says, “I tried to spit, it’s not going to reach them, but I was just fighting and spitting on people.” And the psychiatrist said, “He is going crazy. He is mentally…he is not stable. So we need to put him in the mental block.” The place where they keep all the people who have mental problems.
So they brought him to Delta, which is a mental… a place where they keep people with mental problems. And then when they brought him there he was absolutely naked. They took all his clothes, underwear, everything off. There were no sheets, no towels in the cellblock, it just had the isomat, just a thin piece of rubber mat. He tried to put that around his private parts. And then he was knocking the camera, asking them to come in to give him some clothes, give him underwear. He was cold. They wouldn’t give him clothes, and he couldn’t sleep. Then, this Arab guy next to him, gave him an idea, taught him something. He said, “If you try to create a big problem, then they will come and pay attention.” Because he was trying to call for the person in charge; he wanted to talk to somebody, but nobody would come in. They just left him there. Nobody would come and speak to him. Nobody would do anything. And then the Arab guy says, “You try to kill yourself, you try to do something. Then they will come right away.”
So, he found something that he can try to hang himself with. So, he put that up and he pretended like he was trying to hang himself. When they saw that on camera, they showed up immediately. They came in right away and then they sprayed him again, and then they gave him a shot and he was sort of passed out.