Abdul Matin: Allegations of Abuse
Detainee (through translator): May I ask a question?
Presiding Officer: Yes.
Detainee (through translator): You said that I might be here because I continue to be a threat to the United States or because there might be some other reasons for me to be here. Can you please explain to me what kind of reasons that would be?
Presiding Officer: The reasons that we are going to cover today will all be clear to you, we will get into that in just a minute. Those are the only reasons.
Translator explained: The detainee is referring to the other factors favoring continued detention. That was the sentence that he could not understand.
Presiding Officer: The only other information that is available to us is classified information and for security reasons you cannot have that information.
Detainee (through translator): Then how can I defend myself if you keep this information secret from me? If there were information about me, then it would not be a fair procedure if I cannot defend myself or clarify these things. During any type of court, if I am a criminal they usually tell the criminals the charges against them before court and give them a chance to defend themselves.
Presiding Officer: For security reasons we cannot disclose classified information and that is the same procedure for all the detainees here.
Detainee (through translator): I understand that as an excuse for keeping me here. I am 40 years old, I never heard of someone keeping a criminal in prison without telling him what his charges or crime was. I don’t think they would do such a thing anywhere in the world to a detainee. It’s not fair. What if the secret information that you have about me is wrong or is lies? You are not giving me a chance to clarify that, a chance to prove or to defend myself.
Detainee (through translator): My situation in the Sheberghan prison was so bad. I did not get he medical attention I needed and then my bones healed crooked. They had to break my bones here [in Guantanamo] and re-operate on my knee. I wasn't able to go to the bathroom; I would relieve myself in the same room. I had no medication and was in pain. A person who is not even able to go to the bathroom, how can I be a threat to the Coalition Forces or to Americans?
Detainee (through translator): <…> Right now, I consider myself dead <…>
Detainee (through translator) (cont.): I don’t know if this is appropriate to say but I do complain to the interrogators and this is an opportunity for me to tell you. I am a political prisoner; you claim that medically, you take care of the prisoners here. They put a 40-centimeter screw or a piece of metal in my knee and I cannot bend it. I should have the right to make the decision on that. I keep asking them to remove it because I will not be able to walk like this all of my life. People in Afghanistan spend so much money to go to the United States for treatment and here I am, you are claiming that I have the opportunity to get treated well here, but they do not take care of me. I keep asking them to remove the screw from my leg and they will not.
Presiding Officer: How long has the screw been in your leg?
Detainee (through translator): It’s been approximately two and a half years.
Board Member: Have they explained to you why it was inserted into your leg?
Detainee (through translator): They explained that if they removed the screw, they would have to replace my knee and put a new one. I asked them why don’t they do that, because I want to bend my knee, I want to be able to walk. They said that it was too expensive. I told them that Americans are supposed to be rich they should be able to take care of that and replace my knee with a new one. I told them if they can’t do that, then give me the opportunity to make some phone calls, to find my family and tell them so that I can provide the money. I will ask my family to send you the money so that I can get the right treatment, but they don’t want to listen to me. I can’t sit properly, I can’t walk it is hard for me to go to the bathroom, it’s very hard for me to live like this here and in Afghanistan we do not have chairs and bathrooms this style everywhere. It is impossible for me to live like this, I told them this is your responsibility to give me a new knee and if you think it is to <sic> expensive then at least give me the opportunity to collect that money. When I walk it is very painful, I was in so much pain, I was praying. Everything I do is so hard for me. I asked them to cut my leg, if they cut it, my life would be so much easier. Please do that for me.