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Pakistani relives Guantanamo ordeal


ReligionNewsBlog.com • Saturday May 24, 2003

BBC, May 20, 2003
http://news.bbc.co.uk/
By Haroon Rashid, BBC correspondent in Peshawar

A Pakistani man recently freed from US custody at Islamic militants.

U.S. HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS
Information about U.S. human rights violations and related issues is included in Religion News Blog for the following reasons:

Apologetics Index deals with cults, sects, and related issues – including religious freedom and other human rights.

America’s goverment frequently accuses countries (including, for example, France and Germany) that protect their citizens against destructive and/or fraudulent cults of violating ‘human rights.’ In addition, the USA even threathens those countries with economic boycotts should they not accept America’s views on these issues.

This makes the USA the only country in the world that attempts to strong-arm other countries into accepting its views on the cults it supports – a primary reason why this issue is addressed by the publishers of Apologetics Index.

Ironically, while America chides other countries for alleged human righs violations, Washington consistently and deliberately refuses to address America’s dismal record of human rights violations. The Bible condemns the use of such differing measures.

As Christians, the publishers of Apologetic Index believe that they (and other Christians) should address human rights issues.

The publishers of Apologetics Index agree with those who believe that America’s attitude toward international law – including its fight against the International Criminal Court, its use of torture, and its inconsistent application of the Geneva Conventions – presents a serious threat to the international community.

As members of Amnesty International, the publishers of Apologetics Index are outspoken critics of America’s manifold human rights violations. They encourage their fellow Christians to address these issues, keeping in mind the Bible’s two great commandments.

Another Pakistani, Jehan Wali, and an Afghan, Sahibzada Usman Ali, were freed with him.

Fifty-four Pakistanis are among some 650 prisoners from 40 countries still in detention at the maximum security military base.

Mr Shah alleged that the Americans had given him injections and tablets prior to interrogations.

“They used to tell me I was mad,” the 23-year-old told the BBC in his native village in Dir district near the Afghan border.

“I was given injections at least four or five times as well as different tablets.

“I don’t know what they were meant for.”

Crossing the border

Shah Mohammad, a baker, says he went to Afghanistan in search of a better job.

“I was employed by the Taleban to bake bread for them and they paid me a monthly stipend for these services.

“I had nothing to do with the military side of things in Afghanistan,” he says.

He said he was captured in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-e-Sharif by the anti-Taleban Northern Alliance in November 2001.

They handed him over to US troops who flew him and others to Guantanamo Bay.

“Before boarding the plane our hands and feet were tied and duct tape was stuck across our mouths, blindfolds were placed on our eyes and devices were shoved into our ears.

“Our hair and beards were shaved off,” he said.

Tough conditions

Mr Shah said conditions at Guantanamo were appalling to begin with.

“We were not allowed to pray and little food was served. But later things improved,” he said.

Denied prisoner of war status by US authorities, none of the detainees have been officially charged and they have been prevented from meeting lawyers or even receiving visitors.

Most have spent the majority of their detention in complete isolation, punctuated only by routine interrogations.

“Jehan Wali has not talked to anyone for the past eight months,” Mr Shah said of his fellow former detainee.

The US authorities had promised him some money but at the end gave him a black bag containing just a pair of jeans, a shirt and a pack of tissues.

“I don’t know whether I can ask for any compensation,” he said.

But he said he would never go back to Afghanistan.

“My family will not let me do it again and apart from that the Americans have made me sign an oath saying I will never go there.”

Shah Mohammad now wishes to get a decent job and restart his life.

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