CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Thursday, November 13, 2008

New report details shattered lives of released Guantanamo detainees

Guantanamo Detainees released from U.S. detention in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and Afghanistan live shattered lives as a result of U.S. policies in the war on terror, according to a new report by human rights experts at the University of California, Berkeley. The report, "Guantanamo and Its Aftermath: U.S. Detention and Interrogation Practices and Their Impact on Detainees," based on a two-year study, reveals in graphic detail the cumulative effect of Bush Administration policies on the lives of 62 released detainees. Many of the prisoners were sold into captivity and subjected to brutal treatment in U.S. prison camps in Afghanistan. Once in Guantanamo, prisoners were denied access to civilian courts to challenge the legality of their detention. Almost two-thirds of the former detainees interviewed reported having psychological problems since leaving Guantanamo.

"The nightmare of Guantanamo did not end with the detainees' release. Men never convicted of crimes or given the opportunity to clear their names are suffering from a lasting 'Guantanamo stigma,' and are unable to find work,'" said Laurel Fletcher, Director of the International Human Rights Law Clinic at UC Berkeley School of Law and co-author of the report.

Researchers conducted interviews with released detainees in nine countries. The comprehensive study also includes in-depth interviews with key government officials, military experts, former guards, interrogators and other camp personnel. [Mark Godsey]

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The United States is guilty of torture and should be held responsible and forced to help make those not guilty of any crime whole and compensate even the guilty for torture.

However, this is not an isolated incident. All our supermax prisons are guilty of torture. More than half the prisoners put there are mentally ill and need mental health treatment not torture.

I was subjected to torture, denied water for five days and swimming naked except for a smock in diarrhea because I complained about the fact they would not give me medication for my cardiac and lung disorders. The ignorant bully guard dogs whom have become numb with indifference, biased, and lack supervision kept yelling at me that I was faking my medical conditions and that I should stand up, come to the door and "cuff up," so they tortured me with this "punishment."

I happened to be disabled, had lost 40 lbs (from 170+ to 140 lbs in 3 mo due to torture at Cook County Jail), was severely dehydrated and simply couldn't even get myself up to the toilet or the sink in the cell. Warden Sigler at Dwight Correctional Center for women in Illinois and the guard dogs should be arrested and charged with felony violation of civil rights, but the U.S. Attorney doesn't seem to care about civil rights. I have a congenital spinal injury and could not walk at that point even with assistance. I now walk with a walker.

I was punished in disciplinary proceedings for refusing to walk and kept 6 mo in solitary confinement with the lights on most of the time, and never allowed to call my attorney or my family. I had a life threatening allergic reaction to the food and the medical and correctional staff still have refused to give me a list of the ingredients of the two meals I reacted to, even with a FOIA request. My weight dropped to 127 lbs because I refused to eat without knowing the ingredients and because the incompetent, sadistic prison doctor refused to order a referral to an allergist to figure out what I couldn't eat and refused to order a special diet. I chose to not eat and starve instead of playing Russian roulette with each meal, knowing that I might not have a competent nurse that day who could resuscitate or treat the allergic reaction where I went into a severe asthma attack and needed an immediate injection of epinephrine and other urgent treatment.

Immediately upon release I had to be treated in an emergency room (brought there by friends) because I couldn't sit without feeling like I would pass out, my vital signs were not stable, and my electrolytes were out of balance. So, prisons in the U.S. are also guilty of daily torture and criminal civil rights violations. When will lawyers who care attend to this on a pro bono basis???

I happen to be a physician (now with a suspended license) who was wrongfully convicted of "ramming an officer with my wheelchair" and then "kicking him in the chest while he was standing" causing a skinned shin and chest soreness. My doctors testified that I was physically incapable of performing these acts due to congenital spinal disorder causing partial paralysis. I was convicted anyways in retaliation for my whistle blower activities against corrupt officials in Illinois and C[r]ook County. I was sentenced to two years and had to do 6 months. I'm writing the appeal myself as I no longer trust lawyers. The prosecutorial misconduct was more than Nifong-like and the judge did everything in his power to prevent my side from presenting the evidence. I was actually convicted without one shred of credible evidence! We don't have a justice system. We have an [in]justice system and live in a totalitarian police state!

Posted by: Linda | Jan 6, 2009 5:30:04 AM

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