Sunday, 19 April 2009

Guantanamo detainee claims more abuses

Guantanamo detainee claims more abuses
By Nasser Arrabyee/18/04/2009

A Yemeni detainee in Guantanamo Bay said mistreatment against prisoners has worsened after the US President Barack Obama ordered the closure of the detention last January.

"Oppression has increased, torture has increased and insults have increased," said Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif, a Yemeni national held since 2001.

"I have seen death so many times," he wrote in a letter to his American lawyer dated to April, a copy of which was sent to Gulf News.

"Everything is over; life is going to hell in my situation. America! What has happened to you," wondered Abdul Latif, who is one of about 94 Yemenis of the 250 prisoners remaining in the detention.

David Remes, Abdul Latif's lawyer, told Gulf News over phone from Washington that he had seen evidence of the alleged abuses on his client during meetings at the Guantanamo Bay facility in Cuba. The last trip to Guantanamo made by Mr. Remes was last month.

"I've seen the marks on these men, I've taken inventories that show the scars, that show the open wounds, that show the rashes," said Mr. Remes who is the director of the Appeal for Justice, a human rights and civil liberties litigation firm.

"We have met with our clients, we know the men and the experiences are uniform and universal," he added.

"Abdul Latif has a badly dislocated shoulder blade. I've seen the evidence of physical torture and I've also heard about the evidence of psychological torture."

A big controversy has been going on over the Yemeni detainees, the largest group, since last January when US President Obama ordered on his second day in office the closure of the detention in one year. Two days after Obama's order, the Yemeni President Saleh, expected that 94 Yemenis will return home within 90 days. Saleh said at the time a rehabilitation centre will be built for the returnees. Neither the men were not released nor was the centre built until now.

The American administration hinted many times it would like to hand the Yemenis to Saudi Arabia to be rehabilitated, because it does not trust the capability of the Yemeni government to control the men and prevent them from joining terrorist groups once again. Only 15 Yemenis were released home, while most of the 230 Saudi nationals were released.

Yemen alone can not build the rehabilitation centre which may cost about $US12 million.

"If the government has this money, it will use it in building schools for children rather than building this centre," a senior official told Gulf News on condition of anonymity.

"We want our men to be released to Yemen not anywhere else, and the Americans should help us to rehabilitate and re-integrate them into society."

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