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Hick's Jail a Nazi Death Camp

The Sunday Telegraph
January 28, 2007


A WITNESS to David Hicks' prison experience at Guantanamo Bay has described it as like entering a Nazi death camp - a place where you go in, but never come out.

In the first detailed account of conditions inside the detention camp, Sabin Willett, a lawyer for the Washington firm of Bingham McCutchen, described the desperate conditions.

Mr Willett has just visited Camp 6 in an attempt to free several detainees.

One of his clients told him that when they took him to Camp 6: "He recalled a movie he had once seen about a Nazi concentration camp, a place where, when they take you in, you never come out.

"Neither in the cell nor in recreation time do the prisoners ever see another living thing, except military police or the five other men in the pod," he said.

"They never see, smell or touch plants, soil, the sea or any creature except insects. They pass days of infinite tedium and loneliness."

Mr Willett said a prisoner like Hicks would spend up to 22 hours a day alone in his metal cell, with no access to sunlight or fresh air.

He would have two hours' recreation a day, alone, and a change of clothes every week.

Fluorescent bulbs light the cell, but they go on and off at the discretion of the guards.

Sleep is constantly interrupted by shouts and banging. Some prisoners begin hearing voices.

A loud air-conditioner runs constantly. The only way to contact another prisoner is to yell through the crack between the door and the floor.

Guards watch Hicks as he goes to the toilet. Reading material is restricted. There are no newspapers, magazines, radios or television sets.

A little hatch door opens for food or for the prisoner to be shackled on the way to shower or change clothes.

Hicks would have no access to other prisoners, except during the two-hour recreation time, spent in a yard bordered by a two-storey concrete wall.

Military MPs sometimes taunt unstable prisoners, saying: "Are you going crazy yet?"

Prisoners are punished by putting them in orange jumpsuits or they get "shots" from a doctor.

In court documents just filed in Washington, Mr Willett described conditions at Camp 6, the toughest prison at Guantanamo Bay.

"Camp 6 is an imposing concrete structure, with no windows visible in the main facade.

"It is surrounded by multiple fences and cleared areas, and checkpoints guarded by MPs," Mr Willett told the court.

"Each client is housed alone in a cell. The cell walls, ceiling and floor are solid metal. Each cell contains a bed, toilet, sink, and metal mirror. No cell admits any natural light or air.

"There are no windows or openings in the walls, floor or ceiling, except strips of glass approximately four inches (10cm) wide by 24 inches high adjacent to the metal door of the cell.

"By crouching at the door and yelling, they are able to communicate basic messages, such as "Are you all right?" but it is impossible to converse.

Hicks' American lawyer, Major Michael Mori, said yesterday the Australian embassy in Washington had told him Hicks was moved to Camp 6 last month.

Major Mori, along with Hicks' Australian lawyer, David McLeod, is expected to visit Hicks at Camp 6 tomorrow.

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