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Hamdan: Affidavit, February 9, 2004

On February 9, 2004, Salim Ahmed Salim Hamdan, alleged driver of Osama Bin Laden, signed an affidavit detailing the circumstances of his arrest in Afghanistan and the conditions of his subsequent detention in Guantanamo. This affidavit is part of the case United States of America v. Salim Ahmed Hamden, Defense Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction dated October 1, 2004. The CSHRA has analyzed the English translation of that affidavit (also part of the papers for that case), and found the following testimony of abuse.

Physical Abuse

(HA3) In June 2002, I was flown to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, I was put in a large prison with many other men […] I was given 15 minutes a week of exercise in a 8 meter by 7 meter fenced area (United States of America v. Salim Ahmed Hamden, 10f).

Medical Abuse

(HA5) I complained [to the translator] that I have medical problems and I asked for a doctor to come check me but he did not come. I have pains in my back and leg and I itch from lack of sunshine. The soldier told me to inform my lawyer when he comes that you asked for a doctor and he did not come (United States of America v. Salim Ahmed Hamden, 11).

Legal Abuse

(HA6) LCDR [Charles] Swift [who had been assigned to defend Hamdan before a military commission] told me that […] the government sent him a letter […] the government letter demanded to know whether I would plead guilty to unspecified charges in exchange to a guaranteed sentence. LCDR Swift also told me that in addition to pleading guilty, that I would have to be a witness for the United States as part of the agreement. I do not believe I should plead guilty, because I do not believe I have committed any crime (United States of America v. Salim Ahmed Hamden, 11f).

See also HA7.

Psychological Abuse

(HA4) In December 2003, I was moved from Camp Delta, and put in a new cell, this cell was enclosed in a house and from that time I have not been permitted to see the sun or hear other people outside the house or talk with other people. I am alone except for the guard in the house. They allow me to exercise three times per week, but only at nights and not in the day. They give me the Quran only but no other books […] I asked for books from the library, but was told it was closed. I am alone and I do not talk with anyone in my cell because there is no one else to talk to (United States of America v. Salim Ahmed Hamden, 11).

(HA7) Being held in the cell where I am now [in solitary confinement] is very hard, much harder than Camp Delta. One month is like a year here, and I have considered pleading guilty in order to get out of here. I believe that I am a civilian, I have never been a member of Al-Qaeda and I am not a terrorist and I believe I should have a civilian trial, but any trial is better than what I now have (United States of America v. Salim Ahmed Hamden, 12).

Abuse en route to Guantánamo

(HA1) But while I was trying to return [from Pakistan to Afghanistan to return the car I borrowed to take my family to Pakistan], I was stopped by soldiers loyal to the former king Zahir Shah of Afghanistan, who were looking for Arabs to sell to American forces. When they stopped me they had already taken another Arab who they shot and killed. I tried to flee but I failed and they captured me again. They tied my hands and feet behind me like an animal with electrical wire and they tied me so tight that the wire cut me. They took me to a house for seven (7) days where I was questioned by a man in a military uniform, who spoke Arabic and said he was an American. The Afghan soldiers told me they had gotten $5,000.00 from the Americans for me, one of the guards who was at the house wanted to see dollars. When the guard showed the money, I saw it too (United States of America v. Salim Ahmed Hamden, 10).

(HA2) While in Afghanistan, I helped and cooperated with the Americans in every way. Despite the fact that I cooperated with the Americans, I was physically abused. I have bad back from work in Yemen. I told my investigators of this condition but was transported in positions that caused me physical agony in my back. I was dressed only in bright blue overalls in sub-freezing temperatures and was very cold. I was made to sit motionless on benches with other prisoners for days. When I did not know the answers to the investigators [sic] questions, the soldiers would strike me with their fists and kick me with their feet, after the investigator left, before they took me back with the other prisoners./span>When I took them places I had driven Osama Bin Laden, they would threaten me with death, torture, or prison when I did not know the answers to their questions. One of their methods to threaten me was to put a pistol on the table in front of me and show me the gun and asked, "What do you think?" (United States of America v. Salim Ahmed Hamden, 10).