Nechle: Allegations of Abuse, CSRT
I stayed in a Bosnian prison for three months […] In the end, after three months, after the interrogations, and after they asked us everything, Bosnian television aired the fact that they we[re] found innocent by the court. So we were in prison and acquitted in prison. These people are to be released immediately without any conditions and [allowed] to live in Bosnia as free people. Unfortunately, when we were released (inaudible), and maybe you have copy of it here. You must have it, because it was in my packet [sic] when I came here. So when we came out of prison we were surprised that we were handed over to the American forces that are present in Bosnia. We were bound by our hands and our feet and we were treated the worst treatment For 36 hours without food, sleep, water or anything and we were treated the worst treatment. We came to this place so they could interrogate us. Now I have been here for three years (Version 1, p. 16; Version 2, p. 4962).
Tribunal President’s questions [Version 1, pp. 22-23; Version 2, pp. 4968-4969]
Q. I just have one question. You talked about what happened to you in Bosnia when you were turned over to the Americans. And you talked a little bit abuse there. I understood you to say that it was at the hands of the Americans.
A. The Americans were in kind of a war against terrorism. So anyone in that situation would have been treated badly. I excuse them for that treatment. I just told you that we were not treated in a humane manner. We were not caught in Afghanistan or any place like that, we were caught in Bosnia. We were taken from our houses. Now I have many illnesses that I never had before. It was difficult. We were treated in a harsh manner, but we were supposed to be treated better than that because we had been acquitted. We don’t [have?] any relationship with terrorism or anything like that. So what I was saying is that I wish we would have been treated better on the way here and given food and water. Even the bathroom was forbidden from using it on the way here. The way was about three days and during the three days they just gave us some apples, that’s all we ate. When I got here I was sick for about a month or a month and a half from exhaustion. I used to think that America had respect for human rights when it comes to prison. That’s all I have.
Q. Was there any physical abuse while you were in transit?
A. It’s not a problem. Just leave it. We weren’t beaten for no reason, but our hand[s] were bound like that (looking down at his handcuffed wrists). Even that used to stop you. You couldn’t feel your hands. This part (referring to his wrists) is numb right now I can’t feel anything. But it’s not a problem it’s passed.
Q. I appreciate your excusing it, however it is a concern of ours.
A. I excuse them because of the war that they were in and because of the events that happened in America. Anyone would have probably done the same thing if they were in their place. We were just victims to this.
Q. How have you been treated since you have been here in Cuba?
A. It’s changed in the last year.1 It’s better than before. There is improvement in the treatment.
Q. When you arrived here sick, did you receive treatment for your illnesses?
A. In the beginning they didn’t treat me. I asked them to treat me and they left me for a long time without treatment. I had a hemorrhage, that’s what I had and I talked to them about that. I used to tell them there was blood; I was bleeding. I used to tell them about it time after time and just left it. I had problem [sic] with it and they told me that they didn’t have any doctors here. They said they [sic] to call America and have [sic] bring over specialists. So this comes here and now they have all these doctors. A person comes here...A person comes here healthy and then he leaves with all these illnesses. Besides the fact that your future, the way that came here; your image is tainted in the world because of the way that you brought here and the media how they depict it. I was a respectable person living in Bosnia. People used to respect me and had good relations with people. I had great respect. In the end the way that this happened, the way I was brought here and the accusations that brought against me, I feel that my future has been destroyed. A person does not even know what to say to their kids now. Your father, why is he in Cuba, because he has [sic] accused of terrorism. That’s a really big thing. I just hope that you are fair in my case and that you take everything into consideration. I swear to [sic] that I am innocent. I have been wronged and I don't have anything to do with terrorism or anything like that. Thank you.
1. This CSRT took place in October 2004.