- D.O.B. 3-15-1973
- ISN 281
- Residence: Kucha, China
- Ethnicity: Uyghur
Abdul Ghappar Abdul Rahman is a citizen of China, held in extra-judicial detention in the United States Guantanamo Bay detention camps, in Cuba. Abdul was one of the men who found themselves in the Qala-i-Janghi massacre, and then the “convoy of death.” One of the Uyghurs he was traveling with was killed in the bombing. Many others were killed in the “convoy of death”, the containers that were used to transport these detainees to Shebergan where they very nearly died of thirst and hunger, then to Kandahar.
Recently he wrote a letter which is rarely released. The text of that letter is below:
LETTER FROM ABDUL December 2007 – newly released
How are you, Mr. J. Wells Dixon and Ms. Seema Saifee? I hope that this letter reaches you before you come over, and I hope that it will be a little beneficial for our Turkistani brothers’ situation here.
We, the Turkistani brothers, left our homeland in order to escape from the brutal suppression and unfair treatment from the Chinese government towards our people. The Uighur youth back home were either incarcerated because of false accusations or prosecuted and executed because of bogus allegations. It was extremely difficult for any Uighur to see a future for themselves within our homeland, and both young and middle-aged Uighurs started to leave East Turkistan and try to find survival abroad, if anyone could find a way to get out. We, the Uighurs in Guantánamo, are also like those Uighurs. We left our homeland for the same cause and sought solace in our neighboring countries.
As you know, for some specific reasons we ended up in Afghanistan. When we arrived in Afghanistan, the U. S. army invaded. We had to depart for Pakistan, since we could not stay in Afghanistan. As we did not know anyone who could help us there, we had no other choice but to leave. The Pakistani people then arrested us and turned us over to the Pakistani government. Subsequently, the Pakistani government sold us to the U. S. Army for bounties. The U. S. Army then brought us to Guantánamo.
Since the very beginning of the interrogations, we have been saying this. Our circumstances are very clear to the U. S. government, the U. S. Army and related agencies. Thus, the East Turkistani people and we, the Uighurs in Guantánamo, have never had any revulsion against the U. S. at any time, and this would never be possible, because our homeland is being occupied and we need the help of others.
We were very pleased at the beginning when the Pakistanis turned us over to American custody. We sincerely hoped that America would be sympathetic to us and help us. Unfortunately, the facts were different. Although in 2004 and 2005 we were told that we were innocent, we have been incarcerated in jail for the past six years until the present day. We fail to know why we are still in jail here.
We still hope that the U. S. government will free us soon and send us to a safe place. Being away from family, away from our homeland, and also away from the outside world and losing any contact with anyone is not suitable for a human being, as, also, is being forbidden from experiencing natural sunlight and natural air, and being surrounded by a metal box on all sides.
I was very healthy in the past. However, since I was brought to Camp 6, I got rheumatism. My joints started to hurt all the time and are getting worse. My kidneys started to hurt ten days ago.
My countryman Abdulrazaq used to have rheumatism for a while, and since he came to Camp 6 it got worse. Sometime in early August, the U. S. Army told Abdulrazaq that he was cleared to be released, and also issued the release form to him in writing. As a result, Abdulrazaq requested to move to a camp that had better conditions, for health reasons. When his request was ignored he embarked on a hunger strike, which has lasted for over a month now.
Currently, he is on punishment and his situation is even worse. He is shackled to the restraint chair and force-fed twice a day by the guards, who wear glass shields on their faces. This has taken place for the past 20 days. For someone who has not eaten for a long time, such treatment is not humane. Abdulrazaq would never want to go on hunger strike. However, the circumstances here forced him to do so, as he had no other choice. If the oppression was not unbearable, who would want to throw himself on a burning fire? In the U. S. Constitution, is it a crime for someone to ask to protect his health and to ask for his rights? If it does count as a crime, then what is the difference between the U. S. Constitution and the Communist constitution? What is the difference between this and Hitler’s policies during the Second World War?
I have heard that an Egyptian man broke his back and became handicapped while he was being handled by a team in Camp 1 or 2, and then he was sent home as a crippled person for the rest of his life [Sami el-Leithi, released in October 2005]. Another Libyan broke his arm also. I worry that Abdulrazaq will face a similar or worse situation while being force-fed twice a day for a long time, and I am also concerned for his psychological condition as it is extremely difficult for him to keep his mental state normal under such circumstances.
Recently, I started to wonder, “Why are we staying in this jail for so long?” I wonder if we will be released after we damage our internal and external organs and our arms and legs. Or is it necessary for a few Turkistanis to die, as happened in the past here in this jail, in order to gain others’ attention and their concern towards our matter? Such thoughts are in my mind all the time. The reason I am writing this letter to you is that I sincerely hope that you and others related to law and enforcement can solve this issue quickly and help us in a practical manner.
Abdulghappar Turkistani (281)
December 12, 2007
Guantánamo Bay jail, Camp 6
|This is said to be David Hicks’s cell, in Camp Six. The windows
looks down on central common rooms, which are left vacant, as
a change in policy, to turn the facility in a “supermax” facility,
made common rooms redundant. The inset picture is of a
“reading room”. Captives are, occasionally taken to these
“reading rooms”, during their one-hour per day they are taken
from their cell. However, they remain in isolation. Only one
captive at a time is allowed in each reading room or exercise yard.
On March 11, 2007 the Boston Globe reported that the 17 remaining Uyghur captives had been transferred to the newly built Camp Six, in Guantanamo. The Globe reports that the Uyghurs are held for 22 hours a day in cells without natural light. The Globe points out that prior to their detention in Camp Six, they were able to socialize with one another, but that they couldn’t speak to the prisoners in neighboring cells because none of them speak Arabic or Pashto,. The Globe quotes Sabin Willett, the Uyghur’s lawyer, who reports that, consequently, there has been a serious decline in the Uyghur’s mental health.
According to the Globe: “The military says the Uyghur were put there either because they attacked guards or trashed their quarters during the riot last May.”
The Globe quotes Sabin Willett’s explanation for the Uyghur’s new harsher detention. Willett: “…links their assignment to Camp Six to a filing he made seeking their release.”
The passage of the Military Commissions Act and the Detainee Treatment Act
In the Summer of 2006, the habeas corpus submissions known as Hamdan v. Rumsfeld reached the United States Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ruled the Executive Branch lacked the Constitutional authority to initiate military commissions to try Guantanamo captives. However, it also ruled that the United States Congress did have the authority to set up military commissions. And, in the fall of 2006 the Congress passed the Military Commissions Act, setting up military commissions similar to those initially set up by the Executive Branch.
The Act also stripped captives of the right to file habeas corpus submissions in the US Court system.
The earlier Detainee Treatment Act, passed on December 31, 2005, had stripped captives of the right to initiate new habeas corpus submissions, while leaving existing habeas corpus motions in progress.
The Detainee Treatment Act had explicitly authorized an appeal process for Combatant Status Review Tribunals which failed to follow the military’s own rules. And Sabin Willet, the Uyghur’s lawyer, has chosen to initiate appeals of the Uyghur’s Combatant Status Review Tribunals.
“Each Uyghur’ CSRT was inconsistent with the standards and procedures specified by the Secretary of Defense, because none appropriately applied the definition of ‘Enemy Combatant’. The CSRT Procedures defined an ‘enemy combatant’ as: ‘an individual who was part of or supporting the Taliban or al-Qaida forces, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners.’”
However, Willet argues, the Combatant Status Review Tribunals failed to consider the interrogators conclusions that the Uyghurs were not enemies, had not supported the Taliban, and had not engaged in hostilities.
Assistant Attorney General Peter D. Keisler lead the response team. Keisler’s team accused Willet of trying to:
“…recreate the habeas regime that Congress recently abolished.”
They said the argument boiled down to:
“[Should] detainees captured on a battlefield during a time of war, be given unprecedented access to our nations courts and to classified information, even after Congress emphatically rejected such an approach?”
TAKE ACTION! Please Write or FAX a letter to:
Robert Gates Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1000
The Honorable Condoleezza Rice
Secretary of State U. S. Department of State
2201 C Street, N. W. Washington DC 20520
Fax: + 1 202 261 8577
Gordon England Deputy
Secretary of Defense
1010 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1010
J. Alan Liotta
Principal Director Office of Detainee Affairs
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense
2900 Defense Pentagon
Washington DC 20301-2900 USA
President George W Bush The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Rear Adm. Mark H. Buzby
Commander Joint Task Force
Guantánamo Department of Defense
Joint Task Force Guantánamo
Guantánamo Bay, Cuba
APO AE 09360
Fax: +1 305 437 1241
PLEASE BE SURE TO CC ALL ADDRESSES ABOVE and you will want to edit this as you like.
Dear [ ]
I am writing on behalf of Abdul Rahman ISN 281. I understand that he was cleared for release, and not ruled an “enemy combatant,” so I wonder why he is still there. In addition, he is in Camp 6, a high security area of Camp Delta.
I also read that there is some discussion about where these Uyghurs can go after their release. At the very least, until that is decided, I ask you to move him to Camp 4, the communal living area. Why should he be locked up like a criminal when he is not?
I also ask that you give him, and the others access to their families. Phone calls would be nice. At least let them tell their families that they are all right.
Imagine if he were your son. Would you lock him away like that? Please afford these detainees basic human rights.
Our country and our military’s reputations have been dragged through the mud with all of this. Our human rights record is deplorable. Please take this opportunity to help remedy that situation.