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Testimonies on the Interference of Interrogation on the Medical Care of Detainees

On April 4, 2008, the legal defense team for Mr. Salim Ahmed Hamdan filed a motion to reject all evidence against Mr. Hamdan that was obtained through coercive methods. Attached to that motion were two medical records for Mr. Hamdan. One of them indicated that the FBI requested that a particular ointment be applied to Mr. Hamdan; the other requested that recreation time for Mr. Hamdan be suspended (exercise deriving, for example, from recreation time is an important component treatment of sciatica, of which Mr. Hamdan suffered at the time).

Moreover, one of the “counterresistance techniques” approved on December 2, 2002 by then Secretary Rumsfeld against Guantanamo detainees was the use of isolation facilities for up to thirty days. Here, and for selected detainees, “the OIC [or Officer in Charge], Interrogation Section, will approve all contacts with the detainee, to include medical visits of a non-emergent nature.” Although blanket permission to use this and other techniques was rescinded by then Secretary Rumsfeld a month later, their use was still allowed on a case-by-case basis and with approval of the Secretary of Defense (see memos 16-23 in The Torture Papers, by Greenberg and Dratel).

Similarly, section 30-6-d of the 2004 Camp Delta Standard Operating Procedures posted by Wikileaks reads as follows:

Detainees who are on self-harm precautions [i.e. those at high risk for suicide or other self-injury] that are scheduled for interrogation will have their clinical status and risk assessment verified by the licensed Behavioral Health staff prior to leaving the block. Detainees on self-harm precautions are generally not clinically stable enough to leave the block.

Many testimonies can be found in which prisoners declare that medical care is held hostage to collaboration with interrogators. See 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, for example.