Ex-detainee: US soldiers defiled Quran

In excerpts from an exclusive interview with Aljazeera, a former Guantanamo detainee reveals details of torture, abuse, and religious persecution.

    There are more than 600 Muslim detainees at Guantanamo Bay

    Wisam Abd al-Rahman Ahmad said he was captured in Iran, transferred to a Kandahar detention facility in Afghanistan, and finally imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay.

    Claiming he was beaten and routinely insulted with profanities while in Afghanistan, Ahmad said that US soldiers tried to "break" him using psychological warfare.

    "They stripped me naked with a bag over my head. One of the soldiers turned me around, removed the bag and I saw a female soldier looking at me," he said.

    "They knew that it is an insult to our religion to appear thus before women," he said.

    But Ahmad claimed that although he had been beaten and abused, he was asked only one question - his relationship to al-Qaida and Usama bin Ladin.

    "I told the interrogator, who spoke with an Egyptian accent, that I had no involvement with al-Qaida or anyone, but the man proceeded to insult me and threaten that he would perform profanities on my mother," Ahmad told Aljazeera.

    The former Guantanamo detainee - now in Jordan - had told his interrogators that Pakistani intelligence knew of his whereabouts the whole time and could corroborate his story.

    Stomping on Quran

    However, nothing compared to the agony of seeing the Quran defiled, Ahmad told Aljazeera.

    Ahmad: US soldiers defiled the
    Quran and hurled insults at me

    "I could bear all the obscene abuse and all the beatings but I was agonised to see one US soldier stomp on the Holy Quran, while another soldier in Kandahar threw it into the toilet," he said.

    While in detention at Bagram air base, Ahmad recounted how a female soldier entered his cell to search him.

    She had brought a dog with her and she proceeded to give the dog the Quran to sniff through.

    The full interview is to be broadcast in a special segment on Aljazeera later in the week.

    Legal controversy

    The detention of several hundred prisoners in Afghanistan and Guantanamo is proving to be a political and legal battleground for the Bush administration.

    Last week, the US Supreme Court ruled that "foreign terrorism" suspects at a US military base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba can use the United States legal system to challenge their detention.

    By a six-three vote, the justices ruled on Monday that US courts do have jurisdiction to consider the claims of the prisoners who say in their lawsuits they are being held illegally in violation of their rights. 

    The ruling did not address the merits of the claims, but allowed the prisoners to pursue their lawsuits, which lower courts had dismissed. 

    Justice John Paul Stevens said for the majority that US courts have jurisdiction to consider challenges to the legality of the detention of foreign nationals captured abroad in connection with hostilities and incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay. 

    The justices overturned a US court appeal ruling that lawsuits should be dismissed on the grounds that the military base was outside US sovereign territory and that rights of habeas corpus were unavailable to foreign nationals outside US territory. 

    SOURCE: Aljazeera


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