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Court Testimony of Abdurahman Khadr, July 13, 2004

On July 13, 2004, Mr. Abdurahman Khadr gave testimony before a Federal Court of Canada in the case MCI & Solliciteur General du Canada c. Adil Charkaoui (# DES-3-03). CSHRA has gone over the transcription of that testimony, selected the portions relevant to prisoner abuse at Guantanamo, and included them below (together with references to the pages of the transcription). To download in its entirety the official court transcription of his testimony, click here.

Q.    [page 122] And then what happened to you in March 2003?

A.    I was sent to Bagram. After I talked to the officer that was working with me, they decided that I should go to Cuba. I was sent to Bagram […] [page 124] […]

Q.    So what happened?

A.   So on March 10th [2003] the officer and two marines came and we got into a car. They shackled me up and everything and then they took me to Bagram. They left me outside the base and soldiers were coming around. They were kicking me just to see what my reaction would be to them, kicking me, stepping on my fingers. | Then they took me inside and they got me naked and they were taking pictures of my face and then my private parts, just constantly taking pictures of my private part. | Then from there they put me in an orange suit and [ILLEGIBLE: 3 LINES] [page 125] eight hours.

Q.    But okay. So they were not, the persons inside the prison were not informed about your…

A.    No, no.

Q.    …your duties?

A.    No. This is what I was told too that: "You will be treated as any other detainee so the other detainees can trust you."

Q.    Okay. So would you please describe the treatment in question?

A.    The treatment in Bagram...

Q.    That you suffered or that you saw with your eyes.

A.    Well, I suffered myself. I was shackled, my legs were shackled and the MPs stepped on the shackle so the shackle itself went into my skin. It went all the way to the bone and I was bleeding. And I would show them the blood and they would say: "No, you are OK," you know. And I was there for almost ten, fifteen minutes before-- I had to hold, you know, my wound myself and stop it from bleeding. | Sexual humiliation. They had us shower in front of each other naked which is something that might be regular in Canada but to us, Muslims and to the [page 126] Afghan people that live in Afghanistan, it is sexual humiliation. I was checked myself. They check you[r] anus for any diseases but I was checked myself three times in eight days, which I don't think is medical. | They hang people by shackles to the wall and they keep them like that for three, four days not allowing them to sleep, to even lie down or sit down.

Q.    Is this a treatment that you suffered yourself?

A.    No. This is something that I saw.

Q.    Okay.

A.    Yes.

Q.    You may continue.

A.    They had us put a mask on, on my mouth, and I went to sleep and it went off my mouth. So they had me get up and hold my hands over my head for half and hour. I couldn't hold it so I brought my hands down. So five people came in and they, you know, they hunkered me on the ground and then they shackled me. And they had me push the toilets, the movable toilets and they were very heavy so I moved two or three of them.  [page 127] | There were almost twenty of them and I couldn't move them any more. So I kept on falling on the ground and they would just grab me and pull me back up and push me on the toilets again. So that was a very bad experience. | And one of the times I was being moved from the cellblock to interrogation and there was a female MP on my right and she said something so I smiled. So she said: "If you smile again I will make you swallow these stairs."  So again I couldn't hold myself so I smiled again. Sh he dragged me up the stairs, all of them, just dragging me up. And I am shackled, so I cannot do anything about it.

Q.    Do you have something else to add about what you saw in Bagram?

A.    This is in Bagram. This is what I saw and this is what I have been through.

Q.    Okay. And what about interrogation in Bagram?

A.   Interrogation in Bagram, again as I went inside it was then the old friends, the people from the CIA. So I was not tortured or anything inside. But outside the interrogation room everything went back to normal. […] [page 128] […]

Q.    And what was your discussion at the time in Bagram?

A.    Well, I complained a lot about the treatment I was getting but they said: "We cannot do anything about it because if we do, people would get suspicious." The other detainees.

Q.    Okay.

A.   And this was the treatment of me the person that was working for them. So the people that weren't, it was just undescribable.

Q.    So you stayed in Bagram how long?

A.    I stayed in Bagram for ten days.

Q .   And?

A.   And then I was, they put us on a flight. Again, the whole experience of moving us from Bagram to Cuba that is a whole torture on its own. They tied us. They tied our hands and our legs and our stomachs and they covered our head the whole head so you can't see or hear anything. | They sit you on the ground for twelve hours on concrete in a certain position, you are not [page 129] allowed to move, cross-legged, your back in a position you can strain it and you can't bend down any more. | And they kept us there for twelve hours and then they put us on a truck and they put us in that truck for three hours. And then from that truck they put us in a plane for seventeen hours.

Q.   And you see nothing?

A.   And you see nothing and hear nothing. And in the plane there was a point where I came to just the break. There was people screaming around me and there was people begging for water and nobody was getting anything. And at that point I just wished that one of these MPs would just go crazy and come and shoot me because I was in so much pain. | We had goggles on our eyes and because our eyes are covered so the tear is running and the tears went to the goggles. The goggles were just painted new, so the paint came back into my eyes. So it was burning, like, you know, like fire. And I was complaining and they were saying, you know: "If [page 130] you move, now you are just sitting, we are going to shackle you to the ceiling." | And just making threats until I couldn't take it any more and I just pulled my goggle off. And one of them came and just pushed me against the wall. Then two more came and they pushed me against the wall and some person came and he put some water in my eyes and they covered [sic] with my goggles again and that's it.

Q.    So this was in the plane?

A.    This is on the plane.

Q.    On the plane. And?

A.    And then we landed in Cuba. Again we sat on the ground for four, five hours. Then they took us into the clinic. We were checked up and everything and then we were put in isolation for a month. Everybody, anybody who comes to Cuba or into Bagram, in Bagram it is forty-eight hours, in Cuba it is thirty days. For whatever reason, it might be nothing, you will have to spend a month in isolation. [ILLEGIBLE: THREE LINES] [page 131] hole. So you are in this room alone. You can't talk to anybody. Again, they use this room to torture us. So they put the heat up or they put it too low so we are freezing or we are suffocating because there is no air. They put the music on so you cannot sleep. They throw rocks in the block so you can't sleep. They keep on throwing big rocks. There is a hallway in the block and it is a metal block so you hear these loud noises. This is pretty much the treatment in isolation. After a month in isolation, I was moved to the general population.

Q.    But in isolation were you allowed to go out of the cell?

A.    We were allowed to go out of the cell once every seventy-two hours for fifteen minutes. The death row people get more time than us.

Q.    What?

A.    People on death row get more time than us. We got one fifteen minutes every seventy-two hours.

Q.  Okay. So when you arrived there you had this treatment. And to your knowledge was it the same [page 132] treatment…

A.    For everybody.

Q.    Okay. So you were not, they were not informerd about…

A.    Nobody outside the interrogation knows who I am.

Q.    So these treatments were coming from the military police?

A.    The MPs, yes.

Q.    The military police?

A.    Yes.

Q.    So what kind of treatment did you get after the isolation?

A.    Then we were moved to the general population where I saw the other types of tortures that were being used on the detainees. Again the music, all of this is commanded by the people higher up. So it is not the MPs. The only issue the MPs [sic] they threw the rocks. The music, the interrogators told them to do it. They moved a detainee every hour so he couldn't get any sleep. This was done by the interrogators. Then people would come back from interrogations coughing smoke. They would say " [ILLEGIBLE: THREE LINES] [page 133]

Q.    You can say the word.

A.    With shit and just scrap it on their faces. So there was all kind of tortures. And then they would say it is not physical, it is mental. | One of the other ways would be not to take them to interrogation for six months and then take them and ask them: "So are you going to talk?" The person says: "I told you everything I know." And they say: "Okay, see you in six months."

Q.    So how did you see all that?

A.   Moving the detainee I saw that myself. And the person with the smoke coming out his ears I saw that myself. The blood, the person came and told us they did that to him and there was still blood on his clothes. So all of this I didn't see with my eyes, but there was proof. There was the gun, the smoking gun was still there.

Q.    So what were your duties inside Guantanamo?

A.    My duty was to talk to other detainees and see if I can get any information from them.

Q.    Okay. But how?

A.    By talking to them, just by talking to them. And see if I can recognize anybody and tell the interrogators about it. [page 134]

Q.    Did you have some meetings with the CIA during the detention in Guantanamo?

A.    I met them once a week. Again the idea was, in Cuba, that if you cooperate that is the whole. If the interrogator likes you, that is the only way you will get out. | So if you have done, you have killed five Americans but the interrogator likes you because you are a nice person or you said a nice joke, then he writes back to Washington and they release you. If they don't like you because, you know, because your are just, you are stupid or you said something racist and you didn't do ever anything in your life, then he writes back to Washington and you stay there for another two years or five years.

Q.    But why you are saying that, they told you that?

A.    Because people, like the person that was being kept every six months, interrogated every six months, and other people like my brother. | My brother Omar cooperated with the FBI and he was ready, they were being ready to release him and then he was in his cellblock and people saw that [page 135] he was being ready to be released so they told him: "Oh, you told everything. You are going to hell. So if you don't change you are going to go to hell." | So the next time he went to interrogation he denied everything so they took away everything from him and he is still there till now.

Q.    Because he decided not to continue the collaboration?

A.    Not to continue the cooperation.

Q.    Okay. And during the meetings you had each week with the CIA, what was the discussion or did you talk about the treatment?

A.    The discussion, well, actually it was kind of like a break. If I had any information I would give it to them. Otherwise, we would just sit down and sometimes watch a movie or something. That's all.

Q.    Did you talk about the treatment you saw there?

A.    I complained about the treatment all the time and they would just brush it off or say, these people are terrorists." This and that.

Q.    But what did you complain about?

A.    I complained about the rocks, the music, about how I saw one of the detainees, the interrogators [page 136] didn't like him so they told the MPs, so he was just coming out of the rec, the rec yard and they said that he elbowed one of the MPs. So five of them came and started kicking him and there was blood running out of his head and his face and everywhere. He had holes because the military shoes are very hard and they are very big. He had holes in his head and blood running. | So I complained about that and they would just say: "You know what, he did something wrong. He elbowed the MP, you know."

Q.    But this kind of treatment, hard treatment like that, you saw in Bagram in the presence of Reda Al-Maghrebi also, didn't you?

A.    With Reda, he was in a cell. The cell was very small. Not in Bagram, this is in Kabul.

Q.    In Kabul, you are right.

A.   Yes. The cellblock is as black as a grave so you cannot see your own fingers. I was there for twelve hours and I thought I would never get out. I thought I was dead because of, you know, how hard it was to be there. There was music and they put it on and sometimes they just took it off. They give you one bread a day. [page 137]

Q.    One bread a day?

A.    Yes. And you were to do, you know, your number 1 and 2, to pee and shit right where you are. And again you are shackled, your hands, your stomach.

Q.    There was no toilet?

A.    Yes. I had to pee. I didn't shit but I smelled the shit from the other side. So you did everything where you are right there.

Q.    But you said before that you were in front, they interrogated you in front of Mr…

A.    Reda.

Q.    Reda.

A.    Yes.

Q.    Asking you questions.

A.    Yes.

Q.    And asking him questions also.

A.    Yes.

Q.    And they…

A.    They, physically, yes, they use their hands. They slap you on the face, they push you with their legs, they kick you. And this is what they used in front of me. I don't know what they used behind [me]. […] [page 144]

Q.    So, you stayed in Guantanamo Bay until what date?

A.    Until the end of October, 26th or 27th of October.

Q.    October two thousand…

A.    2003.  […] [page 150] […]

A.    […] when I first met the CIA everything was nice. The were nice to me. I didn't see any of the things that they were doing. But during the period of the two years, I saw a lot of things that they were doing that was not, they were not the good side by doing what they were doing.

Q.    You are talking about what exactly?

A.   About the torture. About sending me to Cuba for no reason. About the treatment of the detainees. About the innocent detainees in Cuba.

Q.    Why are you talking about the innocent detainees in Cuba? Did you discuss this matter with the CIA?

A.    I discussed it with them all the time. Actually some of them [sic] I sat with the CIA and I told them: "I guarantee this person right here. I guarantee with my own self that he will not do anything. [page 151] | Release him today and I guarantee that if he does anything you can electrify me instead of him." So there was, to my thought there was 60% innocent people there, Afghans and Arabs that dis not have anything to do with nothing.

Q.    And how were you sure of that?

A.    How I was sure, because one of them, I lived with him […]

Q.    What do you mean by "lived with him"?

A.    We lived with him in the same house. He was living downsrairs and we were living upstairs.

Q.    Okay.

A.    And he was a school principal in Pakistan.

Q.    Okay.

A .   This is one case […] A lot of them were sold. The person would come and tell them: "I have a big commander of the Al-Quaeda." And they would catch him and he is nobody but, you know, they paid for him so now they are going to keep him. So there are a lot of cases like this.