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Report on Torture, Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment of Prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. (Deghayes)

In July 2006, The New York Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) published its Report on Torture, Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment of Prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. This report is based on accounts drawn directly from habeas counsels’ unclassified notes reflecting prisoner statements made to counsel during in-person interviews conducted at Guantánamo beginning in the Fall of 2004. Some information for that report was taken also from public sources compiled in Cecili Thompson Williams & Kristine A. Huskey, Detention, Interrogation, and Torture at Guantánamo Bay: Materials and Case Files, a report published by the law firm of Shearman and Sterling LLP in October 2005. The testimony by or about Mr. Omar Amer Deghayes in the CCR report can be found below.

(CCR45) Mr. Omar Deghayes, a prisoner from Libya, recounts an incident of abuse he witnessed: At the end of 2004, [another prisoner] was in my block, and he refused to give back his paper plate as a minor protest over something. Five [military guards] came in on him and three kneed him in the stomach until they had knocked him to the floor. This ruptured his stomach and he suffered constant and increasing pain. He asked for medical care for several months. Finally, on May 7, 2005, he saw a doctor, who said his situation was very dangerous. He has to undergo an operation as a result of this. He was kept at the hospital for only two days, and then returned to Camp V. We have heard his screams of pain whenever he uses the toilet. One day he collapsed in his cell, and so we felt forced to conduct a joint protest on his behalf. Part of his problem is that he does not speak English, so that when he needs help, and when the MPs finally respond to his cries, they say that there is no translator. It is cruel. Finally, we were able to pressure the military into taking him back to the clinic. As they took him to the clinic, he was crying out in pain, and the guards – sad to say – were laughing at him. When he came back, he was put in the cell across from me, so I would hear each time he called for help from the MPs. The MPs often refuse to respond to him, walking directly by his cell. Last week [June 2005], he collapsed in his cell again and they took him back to the clinic. . . . Beating him so badly was, in the first place, a vicious act for so minor a rule violation – a rule violation committed by someone who is being held without being proven guilty of any crime. He has received permanent injury from this (Center for Constitutional Rights 2006, 13).

(CCR46) In other instances, prisoners have reported that doctors forced, or attempted to force, unnecessary amputations. The plight of the people who have had limbs amputated is among the saddest of the conditions of this ugly camp. I have twice been housed next to prisoners with prosthetic limbs. It was one of the most depressing experiences I have endured. The prisoners were effectively blackmailed by their interrogators who said that they had to cooperate in order to get their prosthetic devices back. They are denied the toilet chairs, the sticks they need to walk and even the cream they need to ensure that the wound will not become infected and inflamed. The pain is apparently particularly great when they are denied the necessary prosthetic socks, so that the wounds are exposed to the extreme cold of the cells (Center for Constitutional Rights 2006, 23).

Primary Sources

Motion for a Preliminary Injunction Concerning Conditions of Confinement, Sliti v. Bush (D.D.C. 2005) (No. 05-CV-429) (citing Unclassified Memorandum re: Omar Deghayes (July 19, 2005), at 3-4).

Motion for a Preliminary Injunction Requiring that Respondents Provide His Counsel with a Complete Copy of His Own Medical Records, and Cease Their Practice of Intentional Medical Malpractice Against Him, Sliti v. Bush, No. 05-CV-0429 (D.D.C. 2005).