Amid the seemingly unending supply of pictures of Iraqi prisoners being abused by US occupation authorities, many families of the deceased have been speaking out about their suffering since the occupation of the country.
The al-Qaisi family is one such example. Ahmad Abd Allah al-Qaisi, 37, was illegally arrested and tortured by Iraqi police at the end of last year. He died from serious wounds shortly after he was released on bail less than a month later.
Aljazeera.net has exclusive access to all the documents of his case, and has spoken to the victim’s brother, Muhammad. He expressed his dismay and anger at the way his brother was tortured and insulted. He remains convinced that his brother died as a result of his abuse and was, in effect, killed by Iraqi policemen.
On 3 December 2003, Ahmad was arrested near his home in al-Qahira district of Baghdad by armed police and disappeared.
Ahmad al-Qaisi in his coffin
“The story started on 1 December 2003 when some men came to hang a picture of a Shia leader in front of a mosque near my brother’s home,” said Muhammad.
“My brother and some of his friends told the men that putting up such a picture would provoke Sunni Muslims in the area.
“The men, who belonged to a political party represented in the Iraqi Governing Council, were enraged and a serious fight followed. They took the picture away, but threatened my brother and his friends of swift revenge.”
According to the official documents provided by the victim’s family, police authorities only started to prepare an arrest warrant days after Ahmad was detained. His family were unable to find out where their son had been taken.
“His name was not registered at any police station or US occupation detention centre,” says Muhammad.
Court document says
“The first time his name was to appear in official records was seven days after his detention. His house was violently searched by Iraqi police, his children were terrified and there was neither an arrest warrant nor a search order.”
Documents and pictures also revealed Ahmad had suffered physical and psychological torture.
“Following a week of savage torture, his captors feared he would die. He was admitted to al-Kindi hospital where a medical report was issued detailing the physical injuries caused by torture.”
Moreover, documents showed the arrest of Ahmad was illegal as it did not follow post-occupation procedures.
Ahmad Abd Allah al-Qaisi was accused of plotting to assassinate Iraqi Governing Council members and Iraqi officials. He denied the charges and insisted he was a trader and not involved in politics.
“In the beginning they told him they held information that he and some of his friends were plotting to assassinate Iraqi officials.
“They wanted to punish him because he and his friends refused to accept the picture of a Shia leader in their district.”
On 28 December 2003 Ahmad was let out on substantial bail. The release document stated the arrest was illegal and had not been authorised by the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA).
“It appeared that the arrest wasn’t made on the orders of CPA as the law states in Iraq following occupation,” Muhammad said.
Ahmad’s family was concerned by his condition and took him to Jordan hoping to give him proper medical care. But, he died eleven days later.
“He was ruined. We were terrified. His body was full of serious injuries. We took him to Jordan for a check up. His condition got worse and he died on 17 January 2004 from his wounds.”
He died of heart failure: Internal bleeding in the lower right leg, caused a deep vein thrombosis, leading to the blockage of one of the coronary arteries and a rupturing of his heart.
Signs of torture on Ahmad’s body
Ahmad Abd Allah al-Qaisi’s funeral in Baghdad developed into a large demonstration, where people expressed their resentment and disappointment at the deteriorating situation in Iraq.
“The final thing I would like to say is that Bush appeared on TV when they arrested Saddam Hussein and claimed that Iraqis would no longer see torture and humiliation,” Muhammad said. “But we are seeing on the ground that Iraqis have been humiliated much more than ever.
“The person who ordered the arrest of my brother was a former deputy interior minister who was brought by the US from outside Iraq.
“Iraqis know this man’s track record. He was dishonourably discharged from the Iraqi police in 1998, and the Americans gave him a senior position. How are they going to achieve democracy in Iraq with such a bad selection of leaders?”