Testimony of Dr. Emily A. Keram about Salim Ahmed Hamdan
Salim Ahmed Hamdan was processed into Guantánamo on May 1, 2002 (Reprieve, The Journey of Death, p. 18). According to legal documents, he was held in solitary confinement at Camp Echo from approximately December 2003 to October 2004. Within a matter of weeks, his solitary confinement there led to depression, anxiety, severe moods swings, and difficulty in concentrating on matters relating to his legal defense.
In November 2004 Mr. Hamdan was moved to general population at Camp 4, a medium-security detention facility which allows inmates to have social contact with each other, some recreation, and access to natural air and light.
In December 2006, Mr. Hamdan was moved from general population at Camp 4 to Camp 6. In Camp 6, he was held, again in isolation, for 23 hours per day in a cell measuring approximately 8 feet by 10 feet. There was no access to natural air or light, and artificial light was on in his cell 24 hours a day. The only access to anyone or anything outside their cells afforded to inmates is through the ports for food trays in their cells and limited individual exercise periods and showers.
Following his return to solitary confinement at Camp 6, Mr. Hamdan grew increasingly agitated. During visits with his legal counsel, he described the tremendous suffering due to his ongoing isolation. He found it difficult to concentrate, his eyesight deteriorated, and he experienced constant harassment from the guards. His level of desperation grew to the point where he requested to meet with interrogators in the hopes that they might improve his conditions of confinement.
In December 2007, Mr. Hamdan was briefly moved to Camp 1 and then moved to Camp 5. Camp 5 is a maximum security detention facility providing for a regime of isolation in a small cell (see picture above) with no access to natural light or air for 22-23 hours a day. According to Amnesty International, conditions in Camp 5 are harsher than those at Camp 6. Between December 24, 2007 and January 24, 2008, for example, Mr. Hamdan received only two exercise periods.
As to the records of the interrogation and confinement of Mr. Hamdan throughout 2002, the U.S. military says they have lost them.
In short, Mr. Hamdan has been held in solitary confinement for approximately 24 months. The cumulative effects of this isolation on his mental health have been observed by Dr. Emily Keram, a clinical and forensic psychiatrist retained by Mr. Hamdan's defense team. Dr. Keram's observations, the result of approximately 70 hours of interviews with Mr. Hamdan, are consigned in a series of documents linked to below.