By Maryam Hussain

January 13, 2009
Guantanamo bay, I am sure you have heard of it, and if you haven’t then I have no idea what world you are living in. It's an American detention camp based in Cuba. A number of the ‘terrorists’ arrested by the Americans or handed over to them by their allies usually end up in this hell prison established in 2001. We have heard about Kashmir being a piece of ‘Heaven on earth’, but let me introduce you to ‘Hell on earth’!

Suspected ‘enemy combatants’ arrested from different parts of the world e.g. Pakistan and Afghanistan, are usually first ‘welcomed’ by another American based detention camp i-e Bagram Air Base. The never ending interrogations begin and decide the ill-fate of the accused. It is not the fact that people are arrested for an illegal action which is wrong, but what is questioned and criticized by the general public and the media is the way those detainees are treated.

If you read the stories of the prisoners’ your tear glands will automatically activate, and before you know it your eyes will be red, swollen and the salty water will have made a perfect path down those cheeks. No doubt it is hard to even read the words, then imagine the intensity of the physical, mental and emotional trauma the detainees go through on a daily bases. The pain they go through is inexplicable and unimaginable for those of us who have never even looked down that path.

Omar Khadar, a Canadian national was arrested in Afghanistan in 2002. He allegedly killed an American soldier which resulted in his arrest. Instead of giving him the right to a fair trial his interrogations began and haven’t ended ever since. The 15 year old who was captured in his early teens has spent his every day under the inhumane and animalistic treatment. After a year, at the age of 16 in 2003 Omar was sent to Guantanamo from Afghanistan where his never-ending journey of torture, in every manner possible began.

In 2003 a video of Omar was released where he was shown being interrogated by the military commissioners. Even though no direct sign of abuse was visible the sobbing Omar was crying for help. Khaddar states that while in Bagram Air base his hands were tied upwards to a door frame, cold water was thrown at him and he was denied the use of bathroom, so he ended up urinating on himself. He was denied sleep so they could make him talk and agree to the accusations. He was also denied medical treatment and any legal counseling.

It has also been reported that this poor guy was dragged back and forth in shackles. He was constantly threatened by the interrogators that he would be sent to places worse than Guantanamo where raping boys was a form of entertainment. To an extent I believe that mental torture is worse than physical torture, because after a certain period of time the body gets immune to pain but the mental torture of an unpredictable future is very disturbing. Physical torture shows, mental doesn’t but is highly destructive.

This kind of treatment is not restricted to some prisoners in these camps only, in fact almost every prisoner given a chance to raise his voice tells more or less the same story or maybe worse.
It’s the right of every prisoner to be given a fair trial and proper medial treatment devoid of any kind of torture. If somebody is guilty he should be presented in court and be punished for his crime accordingly, but this kind of behavior is inexplicable and unjustifiable in every sense of the term. The least we can do is to write motivating letters to these prisoners and remind them that they are not forgotten, that we are still fighting for them and will keep on till the end of time.


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