Salem al Zarnuki: Allegations of Abuse
Presiding Officer: But different sources identified him being in Afghanistan. How does he account for that?
Detainee (through translator): That’s not right. Maybe someone that looked like me or maybe during the torturing, I said it.
Presiding Officer: Do you have any idea why the Pakistani authorities arrested everybody in that house?
Detainee (through translator): I know the government of Pakistan would gather the Arabs to sell them to the Americans for $5,000 per person. The evidence for that is, when they arrested me and the others, they took all our money and possessions. When they took us here in Guantanamo, we asked if the money were <sic> still there. Most of the money didn't make it here. So the Pakistani government made money twice, from our pocket and from your pocket <…>
Designated Military Officer: (3.d.7) When presented with the eye witness accounts placing him in Afghanistan over the period of about two years, the Detainee advised they were mistaken. However, when pressed about telling the truth, the Detainee slipped when he said, “If I tell you the truth, you are just going to ask me about everywhere I have been.”
Detainee (through translator): They never introduced such things to me; that’s the reason I couldn’t tell. I said something I didn’t know while I was being tortured. I never said that. When they put pressure on me, which was a part of torturing, I said something, but I don’t remember it now.
Presiding Officer: Who’s “they” that put pressure on you?
Detainee (through translator): Interrogators in Bagram and here. Evidence of torture is the pain in my back. I never got treatment for that. I think something in my spine is broken. I was also psychologically tortured. We have been getting tortured until this day.
Presiding Officer: Are you talking about psychological or physical?
Detainee (through translator): I’m talking about everything, but mostly psychological. The other tortures ended with the end of interrogations.
Detainee (through translator): In the name of God, the most merciful, do not harm the guilty people. What I want to say to the ARB is in the subject of praying, which is never respected until this minute in the cells. I want you to tell the American administration. It’s open now for the guards to hurt us during our prayers and in religious matters in general. When we ask for somebody in charge, the one who is in charge would deny bringing in the higher person in charge. The higher person in charge would just pass by us in the cells. We would call on him, talk to him, and he would answer, “This is allowed,” and he would never stop. The wrongdoing now is, number one, when we pray, they would get to the young people and cause trouble with them while they are praying. This is happening a lot. Number two, when they let us go out for walks, and praying time comes, the guards would take us inside the cells. We would tell them, “This is praying time. We cannot move.” They would stop for 10 or 15 minutes and the guards would refuse that. The guards would say, “I refuse, I refuse, I refuse.” They would let us go inside the cells and start trouble. When praying starts, this is repeated. It happened last week twice. We called for the person in charge and he said, “This is allowed now. We cannot stop moving during praying time.” Does the new law say to not respect the religion or what? I want to give this question to the American administration. The third thing is, they do not let us pray as a group. They would hurt the young Detainees.
Presiding Officer: I want to say one thing real quick. We will pass this information to the appropriate authorities, but this Board his nothing to do with the camp rules.
Detainee (through translator): Because I do not have a lawyer to pass this information, if you could give this message to the American administration.
Presiding Officer: We will give this message, but I just want you to know that we do not make the camp rules and we have nothing to do with the camp rules.
Detainee (through translator): As a member of the ARB, I ask that you look at it. I want you to deliver this message because the guards are hurting us. The guards won’t let us pray together as a group and they would lie to the Detainees. They would say that the Detainees pushed or pulled them or something like that, which is lying, and then they would put us in separate cells. If you don’t look at these problems, as the ARB here, maybe we will face a big problem like before. We know you don’t need any problems. How long do you want me to wait while the guards are punishing us and accusing us of doing things we didn’t do? I know you have nothing to do with this but, please, I am giving you this message; just deliver it for me.
Presiding Officer: It will be delivered.
Detainee (through translator): Good. That’s the message I wanted to say to you.
Presiding Officer: Mohammed, does this conclude your statement?
Detainee (through translator): It is just a message, as I had said before. I want you to be aware of it because I don’t want you to face a big problem. The problem happened before. The Detainees took medication before because of this. So if you do not put a stop to this, it is going to be worse than before. I just wanted to let you know what is happening now.
Presiding Officer: Primarily, if you are in a movement and it’s praying time, you have to continue your movement. You are not allowed to stop to pray; is that right?
Detainee (through translator): Yes.
Presiding Officer: And sometimes, when you are praying, the guards interfere somehow?
Detainee (through translator): Yes.
Presiding Officer: I understand.
Detainee (through translator): We are walking. During the time of walking, it’s over, but it’s time for praying.
Presiding Officer: Right
Detainee (through translator): During that time, we would get inside where the others are held and praying. It’s a problem because, when they take off our cuffs, it makes noise. When we walk, it makes noise. And the guards would whistle. That is a problem for the people praying inside. I know that, when it is time for praying, we stop moving and we start praying, but the guards are not respecting this rule.
Presiding Officer: I understand.
Detainee (through translator): When we see one of the people in charge walking around, we would talk to him and he would say, “Talk to the guards.” We would say, “My problem is with the guards. How can we solve this problem with them?” So because of that, we create problems with the guards. They know what problems we create. We can create a lot of problems. I am cautioning you about this. Please do not let the guards keep doing what they are doing now. I just wanted to let you know what has been going on before it is out of hands <sic>.