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Latest: Slow Death of Man in Guantanamo

CagePrisoners Press Release
June 27, 2007



WASHINGTON, June 27, 2007 -- Unclassified statements from 59-year-old father-of-four Saifullah Paracha, currently being detained at Guantanamo Bay, reveal that his health has seriously deteriorated and could lead to his premature death if his pre-existing heart, prostatic and diabetic disease are not treated urgently.

Saifullah, a Pakistani national and US green card holder, was kidnapped on July 5, 2003 whilst en route to Bangkok on business. He has since suffered three heart attacks, one of which occurred during interrogation - two in Bagram Airbase and one in Guantanamo Bay.

His lawyer Gaillard T Hunt suggests his medical treatment is at best incompetent and at worst negligent.

"Several of Paracha's brothers and sisters have died of cardiac problems before reaching 65. Paracha is nearly 60, so the problem is not one to be ignored. Paracha has been having fainting spells, so we know the problem is worsening. He couldn't submit to a cardiac catheterization at Guantanamo because the rules require all prisoners in the hospital to be shackled to the four corners of the bed. The cardiologist said this was dangerous for a heart patient, but the prison administration would not compromise. The statements filed in court to assure us that Paracha is getting proper treatment are not signed by the doctors. We have to assume the doctors are as disturbed by the situation as we are. The doctors told Paracha that they were acting as military men first, as doctors second. Paracha is not the worst case. There are people at GTMO literally dying from lack of treatment."

Since the declaration of the "war on terror" post-9/11, various sources have reported the active participation of US military health and medical professionals in a variety of serious offences in the prison of Abu Ghraib in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

Family and former detainees are deeply concerned over the health of Saifullah and demand that he be given immediate emergency medical attention that could very well save his life.

Saifullah Paracha's wife Farhat said, "About my husband's health, if anything goes wrong the entire responsibility is the American Government's."

Zahra Paracha, Saifullah's daughter, said: "I always had a very strong gut feeling that one day, my whole family will come together and we'll be like any other normal family. Now I keep feeling, 'what if he meets God before us?' I think I have as much of a right as any American kid to meet my parent."

Former detainee Moazzam Begg, spokesman of CagePrisoners, states: "Although it is asserted by the US military in Guantanamo that prisoners often receive 'better medical treatment than they would at home' it is evident through cases such as Mr. Paracha's that health matters are attached to certain prerequisites. Often, as was the case during my time in US custody, prisoners' level of medical treatment would be dependant upon their level of cooperation with interrogators. Simply put, failure to comply could mean failure to receive treatment."

Saifullah Paracha's statement can be read in full at:
http://www.cageprisoners.com/downloads/paracha_statement.pdf

CagePrisoners is a human rights organization that exists solely to raise awareness of the plight of the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and other detainees held as part of the War on Terror. We aim to give a voice to the voiceless.

Contact: Asim Qureshi
Email: asim.q@cageprisoners.com
Number: 0044 (0) 7973264197

Contact: Moazzam Begg
Email: moazzam.begg@cageprisoners.com
Number: 0044 (0) 7875090494

Contact: Gaillard T Hunt
Email: g.hunt@starpower.net
Number: +1-301-530-2807

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