A new report describes Canadian teen Omar Khadr being carried into Guantanamo Bay interrogations on a stretcher, dangling from a door frame for hours and used as a human floor mop to clean his own urine.
The Center for Constitutional Rights in New York released the first major overview Monday of alleged abuses and torture at the U.S. prison camp for terror suspects, including rape, sexual harassment and vicious beatings.
Muneer Ahmad, one of Khadr's lawyers, has already publicly outlined in some detail claims of abuse from the 19-year-old, who faces life in prison on a charge of murdering a U.S. medic in Afghanistan in July 2002.
"It has a different effect when you see it in the context of broad and pervasive conduct at Guantanamo," Ahmad said Monday.
"The cumulative impact of the reports of abuse of so many of the detainees is quite shocking and it should be. It shows again why Guantanamo is beyond repair. There's no way to fix it."
American officials have always denied they torture prisoners at the U.S. naval base in southeastern Cuba.
Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that U.S. President George W. Bush overstepped his authority in ordering military tribunals at Guantanamo for war crimes.
Only 10 prisoners, including Khadr, have been charged and faced pre-trial hearings as enemy combatants.
Bush wants Congress to give him the authority to go forward with the tribunals. But legal experts say they'd have to be completely revised to comply with the rule of law and Geneva Conventions. The issue is sharply dividing Capitol Hill, where legislators will continue to grapple with it this summer.
"Before Congress rushes to give the president cover with unnecessary new legislation, I hope it will review the record and provide real oversight, beginning with an independent investigation of the base," said Bill Goodman, the legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights.
"This report tells a story of abuse and betrayal of our laws at the highest levels of government, which is why the Supreme Court had to step in and order the president to treat detainees humanely and provide due process."
U.S. officials have said many prisoners will be sent back to their home countries while others like Khadr appear headed for some kind of trial at some point.
Canada hasn't moved to seek Khadr's extradition and has been silent amid world condemnation of the prison camp. (This is disgusting fuckin partys are to busy bitching eacother out to care, bastards! hes Canadian at the VERY LEAST he should be held in a Canadian prision on Canadian soil)
"We are not going to move them into places on American soil and to the civil justice system," White House spokesman Tony Snow said Monday.
"What we do not want is what amounts to a catch-and-release program for terrorists."
Based on declassified accounts
The 51-page report is based on declassified accounts from some of the 450 prisoners and their American lawyers.
It says Khadr, who was 15
and seriously wounded when he was picked up by U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, was often interrogated with a bag over his head and barking dogs in the room.
When he was able to walk, interrogators made him pick up trash, then emptied the bag and made him do it again. He wasn't allowed to go to the bathroom for long periods.
Khadr claims that an interrogator told him on one occasion in March 2003 that one of his older brothers was at Guantanamo and that he should get ready for a "miserable life."
The interrogator became enraged when Khadr said he would answer questions if he could see his brother, the report said.
Khadr was cuffed to the floor for a long period and then dragged back and forth in a mixture of his urine and pine oil. He wasn't given a change of clothes for two days.
Other examples of abuse at Guantanamo detailed in the report:
- Solitary confinement for periods exceeding a year.
- Sleep deprivation for days, weeks and, in at least one case, months.
- Threats of transfer to a foreign country for torture.
- Deprivation of medical treatment for serious conditions.
Several prisoners reported assailants stomped on their backs or shoved their heads into hard surfaces while they were incapacitated. Others said objects were inserted into their anuses during strip searches.
"This is a facility at which there is extreme care taken to try not only to bring them to justice, but also to treat them humanely," Snow told a briefing.
"Many of you have been down there. You see the extraordinary measures that are taken not only to deal with their physical needs, but also their spiritual needs.
Omar Khadr faces life in prison on a charge of murdering a U.S. medic in Afghanistan in July 2002. (Canadian Press)