Claims About Guantanamo "They Tear Up The Koran"

DER SPIEGEL spoke to Nadja Dizdarevic, 31, a Bosnian Muslim, who is working with Amnesty International on behalf of the prisoners being held in the US terrorist suspect camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Her husband has been held there since January 2002. Next week Amnesty will release testimony by eight former detainees about conditions in the camp.


Detainees hold onto a fence at the Guantanamo prison camp.
REUTERS

Detainees hold onto a fence at the Guantanamo prison camp.

SPIEGEL:

Your husband Boudella al-Hajj is accused of planning attacks on the British and US embassies in Sarajevo.

Dizdarevic: My husband and five other Bosnians of Algerian descent where acquitted of terrorism charges by a Bosnian court in January 2002 due to lack of evidence. Twenty-four hours later Bosnian security forces handed the group over to masked men. They were probably CIA agents. Hoods were put on their heads and five days later they arrived in Guantanamo.

SPIEGEL: Have you been allowed to contact him?

Dizdarevic: Occasionally I get sparse information via American lawyers. They can't say much openly because their visitors' rights will be withdrawn if they do. We also know that prisoners who complain to lawyers about the conditions of their imprisonment are later punished.

SPIEGEL: You're in touch with former prisoners from Guantanamo. What do they tell you about conditions there?

Dizdarevic: It's the same scenes we know from Iraq or Afghanistan. Dogs are laid on the bodies of naked prisoners, an unimaginable humiliation for devout Muslims. At night they are exposed to bright light or deafening music. The guards herd the prisoners into a hangar where the temperature is below freezing and straight after that put them into a room as hot as a sauna. Beatings are mainly aimed at the genitals and all this is filmed with video cameras. The favourite toy of the guards is the Koran, they throw copies of it into toilets or tear them up.

SPIEGEL: Do your witnesses also talk about secret CIA detention camps elsewhere?

Detainees gather in a courtyard at Guantanamo.
AP

Detainees gather in a courtyard at Guantanamo.


Dizdarevic: Many talk about underground interrogation cells for example in Turkey. According to our information all countries that cooperate with the USA have had such special prisons for years

SPIEGEL: Is it true that children are among the terror suspects being held?

Dizdarevic: Camp Iguana is part of the Guantanamo complex. According to my information there are young people there aged 10 to 16. Often they don't understand why they are being beaten. Some believe they need to learn better English to escape the anger of their tormentors.

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