Monday, July 13, 2009

WWB: Children detained and tortured

WHAT WAR BRINGS: children detained without charges and tortured

An Afghan child, Mohammed Jawad, spent over six years at Guantanamo. He was originally picked up by the Afghan police, then handed over to the US military. It was reported that he was tortured and abused both by Afghani police and by the US military at Guantanamo.

He was detained because of a grenade attack in Kabul in which US soldiers and Afghan interpreter were wounded. It was originally thought that he was 16 or 17 when picked up, but interviews with his family by an Afghan rights group indicated that he was probably only 12 when he was detained in 2002.

He was sent to Guantanamo in early 2003. He is still there.

According to this Reuters report (and note that the journalist calls him “Mr. Jawad” leading one to believe that he is an adult):

Commissioner Nader Nadery said Mr. Jawad was tortured and abused by the Afghan police and at Guantánamo. The commission is seeking his release and repatriation.

The ACLU is working on his case. They are claiming that our government used false confessions. Here’s what the WaPo said:

The ACLU is asking a federal judge to throw out those statements and others made by Mohammed Jawad, an Afghan who may have been as young as 12 when he was captured. His attorney argued that Jawad was abused in U.S. custody, threatened and subjected to intense sleep deprivation.

"The government's continued reliance on evidence gained by torture and other abuse violates centuries of U.S. law and suggests the current administration is not really serious about breaking with the past," said ACLU lawyer Jonathan Hafetz, who is representing Jawad in a lawsuit challenging his detention.

And here’s another one, although I am not sure about the claim that he is the youngest:

Mohammed El-Gharani, Guantánamo’s youngest prisoner, speaks to al-Jazeera:

Speaking for the first time since his release from Guantánamo after seven years’ imprisonment without charge or trial, following a successful habeas corpus appeal in January, Mohammed El-Gharani, now a free man in Chad, told Mohamed Vall of al-Jazeera, in an exclusive interview, how he felt about being imprisoned from the age of 14 to the age of 21.

The video of his interview with Al Jazeera is posted below.

There is also a Canadian minor, Omar Khadr, who was also sent to Guantanamo. He is still there. There was a very disturbing video of him from 2003 where he begged the Canadian authorities to help him. Instead, they tormented him. In the video, Omar is showing his wounds, weeping uncontrollably, and pulling at his hair in despair. Left alone in the room, he rocks back and forth and says ‘help me’. The link is here. I recommend watching it, to see how torture impacts a teen age mind.

Omar Khadr: The Guantánamo Files

Shamefully, the United States is not the only country to turn its back on the Optional Protocol in the case of Omar Khadr. As his lawyers never tire of pointing out, Omar is the only citizen of a Western country still held at Guantánamo, in part because the Canadian government has persistently failed to exert sufficient pressure on the US authorities to secure his return to Canada. This is particularly shocking, because, as well as also being a signatory to the Optional Protocol, the Canadian government has been a pioneer when it comes to the rehabilitation of child soldiers from other countries (Sierra Leone, for example).

God only knows how many Afghani children and Iraqi children were detained in the US run prisons in those countries. Only thing we know for sure is that the number is not zero.

It is sickening beyond sickening that not only does the US torture and detain people without charges, it does this with some regularity to CHILDREN.

If you support the continued occupation of Iraq or Afghanistan, or the bombing of Pakistan, then you support WHAT WAR BRINGS: the detention and torture of children.


Anonymous said...

As with most of these blogs,you seem to forget the material facts behind KHADR's imprisonment..After being sent , by his family ,to Afghanistan (to attend a Al-Queda training camp)he found himself in a firefight with american troops.After throwing a grenade that killed Chris Speer,an american medic,he attempted to run away and was shot by Special forces troops....They then attended to his wounds and saved his life ,along with his eyesight!To portray trhis terrorist as an innocent child is an abomination! A son of a terrorist Al-Queda financier Khadr is part of a terrorist family..Father killed in a firefight with Pakistani troops,a brother paralyzed in the same battle,another brother awaiting extradition to the States (arms ,terrorist charges pending) and a sister who was reputed to be a Al-Queda trainer....The Canadian government has done the correct thing,that is, NOT interfered in the on-going legal proceedings.Khadr's actions can NOT be excused by his age and he will face the consequences of his actions!

dancewater said...

he should have a trial, with a defense, and a prison sentence imposed if indicated.

He should not be tortured.

It is, of course, very wrong to get children involved in warfare or terrorism - but that does not mean the child is 100% responsible. In this case, he is about as responsible for becoming a combatant as you are responsible for picking the grade school you attended.