A decade after its vengeful establishment, a post-Bush incarnation of the Guantanamo nightmare persists, continuing to cage 166 Muslim prisoners. One of them is Britisher Shaker Aamer, kept in isolation in Camp 5 Echo. A Decade of Injustice examines possible motivations for keeping Shaker Aamer detained and why his return is urgent.
On July 20, 2011, he reports: ‘The authorities told us, “You’ll have a beautiful Ramadan.” It was in Camp 5, and they said there would be no showers, and no recreation.
‘They tortured another guy using the nose tube, until he cried. They kept him on a stretcher, with a slow drip on the feed. I banged on the door when this was happening, then fainted from my own lack of eating. I was taken to hospital.’
In a brief explanation of the sleep deprivation, he has stated that he was “sleeping in light,” and there was “no darkness to sleep.” The lighting, as is typical, has been on “24/7″ — and he has also been confined to his cell for 22 hours a day, with just two hours allowed in the recreation yard from 6 am to 8 am every day.
He has explained how he cannot sleep because the guards have been “speaking loud through the night with all kind of noises — cleaning, moving things, shaking the locks of the cell, turning the light on and off,” and how they have also regularly shone a flashlight in his face, and liberally spread detergent like pine oil or Clorox. He has explained how the strong smell fills his cell so that he can’t breathe.
Describing the cells which are half the size of standard cells at Guantanamo, he said, “It is decrepit, filthy and disgusting” and “the squat toilet is difficult to use, there are foul odors, bright lights shine on detainees and air conditioners keep it extremely cold.”
He says that between December 3, 2011, and January 27, 2012, he was beaten up every day by guards dressed in black body armour and masks who charged into his cell and dragged him into the corridor.
“I got beaten up on my knee and my finger is almost broken. Swelled for few days … they refuse to give me any treatment not even knee brace. Bruises and swelling all over my body. Squeezing my neck so bad I could not breathe. Try to break my hand and fingers. Pressure on my back, stomach and chest, so much pressure. Tight, the plastic cuffs so tight the blood circulation stop.”
On January 27, 2012, he noted: “Today is the first day I take shower since the 3/12/2011 and shave because I am coming to see you.” He has also complained that he has had to “shower from the toilet,” explaining, “I take water and shower from the same place I take shit.”
He said: ‘Earlier this year I was thrown on my head by the guards, and one then jumped and landed with his knee on my rib. Both injuries caused me a great deal of pain. I was told that the X-ray showed nothing, but the doctor assured me that I would have a CT scan. That was not done.’
Visits by his lawyers are usually followed by beatings. He says: ‘Last time Cori Crider [a Reprieve lawyer] came to see me I got beaten up when she left. The same happened with recent visits from both David Remes and Ramzi Kassem [his US lawyers].’
“I am very worried about my health and my life in this place. I feel so vulnerable and any time they can do anything to me no one knows.I have been on hunger strike since the 15/7/2011 and my weight went from 208 [pounds] to 148 [pounds] but they did not give me the tube to feed me so I start to eat fruit and salad sometimes so I don’t harm my body. I have no doubt they want me to be harmed.
One thing I know for sure if something bad happen to me it happened with the hand of the American. I will never harm myself. I have a wife and kids I want to go back to. Anything happen to me, they done it.
There is so much to say about the evil they do in this place, specially the small things that no one pay attention to it but one thing you need to know:
They control the air we breathe. Control the light, control the noise, control the food, control the water. They control everything and they use it against me any time they want. All that you need to know about this place you just need to read 1984 by George Orwell.
I swear to my only Lord there is no human being in this place. Guards with no feelings, they do what they are told, regardless of anything.”