KUALA LUMPUR: TRIBUNAL HEARS WITNESS TESTIMONIES OF HORRIFIC TORTURES

May 9, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Prosecuting lawyer Gurdial Singh Nijar presenting his case to the five panel Tribunal

Witness Jameelah Abbas Hameed giving her testimony

 

PRESS RELEASE

TRIBUNAL HEARS WITNESS TESTIMONIES OF HORRIFIC TORTURES


 
KUALA LUMPUR, 8 May 2012 –
The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal heard the testimony of the prosecution’s third witness Jameelah Abbas Hameedi, who used to be the Head Chief of the Cooperation Unions in Kirkuk. The 57-year-old Iraqi told of her torture in the Baghdad Airport and Abu Ghraib prisons in 2004.
 
She told the 5-member tribunal panel via a translator that on 13 January 2004, the American military broke into her home by force in Kirkuk and rounded up her whole family including her 22-year-old daughter and 17-year-old son, a 25-year-old nephew and a 23-year-old female guest.
 
She said, “We were told that we were providing monetary assistance to the resistance and they wanted the money. The searched the whole house and found nothing except for 150 dinar which is for daily expenses.”
 
She told the tribunal she was dragged by her hair outside of the house into the winter rain in her nightclothes and her hands were tied very tightly at the back with a wire. They destroyed all her belongings in the house and alleged that the car battery charger they had found is used to explode bombs.
 
She further told the tribunal she was taken to the Kirkuk military airport via a military vehicle and in the process was hooded, kicked like an animal, pushed out of the Hummer onto the road, dragged on the paved road and later left standing at a wall.  
 
She said that that she was asked about her relationship with the Baath party and accused of being part of the resistance, assisting and funding the resistance. She was told that if she did not cooperate she would face worse things that no one had seen or heard about.
 
She further related that on their way to the Baghdad Airport, she, her daughter and the female guest were taken in one helicopter while her son and nephew in another. She said they asked for the doors and windows to be closed because it was very cold. She said the soldiers had said that it could not be done because to avoid attacks from the resistance. And if the resistance shot at the helicopter, they would hit first.
 
In essence, they were being used as human shields, a fact Prof Francis Boyle stressed to the tribunal. Boyle pointed out their actions as a despicable act by the US Armed Forces and it was indeed a war crime.
 
Jameelah further related that she was placed in a tiny wooden cell with no windows with her daughter and her female guest. They were not fed for two days and not allowed to use the toilet. She said that she was eventually taken to an individual 2 metres by 2 metres cell with no amenities.
 
“I was feeling dizzy and felt very weak. I asked to sit but they refused to allow me. The asked me to confess that I was part of the resistance and also who were my colleagues in the resistance,” she related.

She further related that she was taken to a room with two pictures of Saddam Hussein with eyes cut out and was dragged by her hair and thrown from wall to wall continuously until she lost consciousness several times. Further beatings were inflicted upon her person when she was asked to stand up and not lean against the wall.   

She was told that if she did not confess her other son would be put in prison and her daughter raped. She said that she was willing to swear on the Quran or Bible that she had not done anything wrong and had no connection with the resistance. She related that the American had said to her that he was the devil himself!

She revealed to the tribunal that she was taken to a black room, her clothes removed and asked to sit on her knees and hands and icy water poured on her. She related that she was then beaten with a plastic tube inserted with wood and when she dropped on the floor she was kicked until she was bleeding on her shoulders, back, arms and legs.

“The interrogator was very cruel and kept doing this for many hours. My wounds were also not attended to by the soldiers. I was told that I could not rest and that it was part of my punishment,” she related.

She related that to get her to confess, she was made to believe that her daughter was shot dead. She found out later that the daughter who was still alive was made to believe that she had been shot dead.

She related that due to being beaten with plastic chairs for hours she sustained injuries. Part of the broken plastic chair pieces got embedded in her feet. They threatened that her head and that of her nephew, whom they were also beating up in the same room, would be chopped with a machine. They continued to beat her nephew on his private parts. Her nephew was kept naked and later taken to Abu Gharib in the same condition.

She revealed that she was later taken to Abu Gharib and given a wristband with a number by which she was known and no longer by her name. She was refused any treatment and given little medicine. During winter cold water was poured in the cell to make the cell very cold and to further aggravate her injuries. She was given little clothing and no footwear.

She related that when news of Abu Gharib had reached the outside world, she had been in Abu Gharib for almost 6 months and before that about 20 days in Kirkuk and Baghdad Airport.

“The members of the press came one day to see Abu Gharib prison and we raised our voices and the press heard us and realised that there were women in the prison. The press was surprised that women were there when officially women were not supposed to be there,” said Jameelah, who was released from Abu Gharib prison on 22 June 2004.   

She said, “To date, I endure physical suffering due to my beatings and conditions in which I was detained. I am unable to move my left leg freely and my left arm is also affected and I am unable to use it like I used to and I suffer aches. I am also unable to wear shoes that cover my feet.”

She also said that what has been revealed and shown about Abu Gharib prison in the news is just a drop in the ocean. “They have no humanity in them,” she concluded.

The tribunal also heard two other Statutory Declarations of Iraqi citizen Ali Sh. Abbas alias Ali Shalal and Rhuhel Ahmed, a British citizen.

Ali Shalal, 48, was arrested on 13 October 2003 on his way to prayer at Al-Amraya. Ali Shalal was one of the detainees in Abu Gharib who suffered intense torture in the hands of the American soldiers. Ali Shalal was charged with being an anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic, that he supported the resistance, and he instigated the people to oppose the occupation and that he knew the location of Osama bin Ladin.

During his imprisonment at Abu Gharib, Al Shalal suffered tremendous mental and physical abuse including severe electrocution at the hands of the soldiers. In his statement Shalal related details of the electrocution torture – “The bag was placed over my head and I was left alone for a long time. During this time, I heard several screams and cries from detainees who were being tortured. The interrogated returned and forcefully placed me on top of a carton box containing can food. They then horizontally connected the wires to my fingers and ordered me to stretch my hand out horizontally and switched on the electric power. As the electric current entered my whole body, I felt as if my eyes were being forced out and sparks flying out. My whole body was shaking all over.”

He was electrocuted on three separate sessions and throughout the time of his torture the interrogators would take photographs. This picture of a hooded man standing atop a cardboard box, attached to electrical wires with his arms stretched wide became cited worldwide as an indelible symbol of torture at Abu Gharib.

Ali Shalal was eventually released in March 2004 when it was discovered that he was wrongly arrested. He was put into a trunk and taken to a highway and then thrown out.

Rhuhel Ahmed, a British citizen, was visiting Pakistan and Afghanistan with his friends when the American forces arrested them in October 2001. Rhuhel who was 27 at the time of his wrongful arrest was periodically hooded, severely beaten, feet chained and hand cuffed by the soldiers, first at the Shabarghm prison in Afghanistan and later when he was sent to Guantanamo Bay.

Rhuhel was often interrogated about his personal background and family details by the American soldiers as well as by the British intelligence. He had asked to be released but was told by the British intelligence that they could not do so as he was in American custody.

Rhuhel was being accused of being in a photograph taken from a video that they called the ‘Turnip Farms’, which was taken in Afghanistan showing Osama bin Ladin giving a speech. The Americans alleged that he was in the video along with his friends.

Eventually the British intelligence confirmed that he was in the UK during the time the alleged video was filmed. Rhuhel stated that even after the intense interrogations ceased and he was taken out of solitary confinement, the regular interrogations continued, as did the abuse of punching and kicking. He was eventually released in March 2004.   

The prosecution concluded the day’s proceedings by showing a documentary called “Taxi to the Dark Side” directed by Alex Gibney, who also directed “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Rooms”. The documentary featured the true story of a taxi driver who was detained in Afghanistan in 2001 and who died in American custody at the prison in Bagram a few months later due to severe and harsh physical abuse.  

The trial will be a public hearing held in an open court on 7-12 May 2012 at the premises of the Kuala Lumpur Foundation to Criminalise War (KLFCW) at 88, Jalan Perdana, Kuala Lumpur. 

ends
 
 

 For further information, please contact
 
Dato’ Dr Yaacob Merican
Secretary General of the KLWCC Secretariat
Tel: +6012-227 8680

Ms Malkeet Kaur
Media Representative of KLWCC
malkeet@dbook.com.my
Tel: +6012-3737 886


The Tribunal Members
Tan Sri Dato Lamin bin Haji Mohd Yunus,
Mr Alfred Lambremont Webre
Tunku Sofiah Jewa
Prof Salleh Buang
Mr Alfred Lambremont Webre
Datuk Mohd Sa’ari Yusof.
 
The Prosecution
Prof Gurdial S Nijar
Prof Francis Boyle 
Mr Avtaran Singh
Ms Gan Pei Fern
 
Amicus Curiae (appointed Defence team)
Mr Jason Kay
Dr Mohd Hisham
Dr Abbas Hardani
Ms Galoh Nursafinas

The Charge
Crime of Torture and War Crimes
against former U.S. President George W. Bush and his associates namely Richard Cheney, former U.S. Vice President, Donald Rumsfeld, former Defence Secretary, Alberto Gonzales, then Counsel to President Bush, David Addington, then General Counsel to the Vice-President, William Haynes II, then General Counsel to Secretary of Defense, Jay Bybee, then Assistant Attorney General, and John Choon Yoo, former Deputy Assistant Attorney-General.
 
The Tribunal will adjudicate and evaluate the evidence presented on facts and law as in any court of law. The judges of the Tribunal must be satisfied that the charge is proven beyond reasonable doubt and deliver a reasoned judgement. The verdict and the names of the persons found guilty will be entered in the Commission’s Register of War Criminals and publicised worldwide.

About Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission (KLWCC)
The KLFCW established the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission (The Commission), to investigate cases of war crimes that have been neglected by established institutions such as the International Criminal Court. The Commission seeks to influence world opinion on the illegality of wars and occupation undertaken by major Western powers.  
 
The aim of The Commission is thereby to hold perpetrators of war crimes accountable for their actions especially when relevant international judicial organs fail to do so.
 
The Commission
The commission’s function is to:
i) receive complaints from any victim(s) of any conflict on:
 
(a) Crimes against peace
(b) Crimes against humanity
(c) Crimes of genocide
(d) War crimes
 
ii) investigate the same and prepare a report of its findings. To further call for more evidence or where The Commission is satisfied to recommend prosecution
 
The Legal Team
The legal team’s aim is to present the complaints of victim(s) of any conflict and to act on the recommendation of The Commission’s report and to frame charges and prosecute accused person(s).
 
The Tribunal
The Tribunal shall adjudicate on the charges filed against the accused person(s) The applicable standard of proof shall be beyond reasonable doubt.
 

About the Kuala Lumpur Foundation to Criminalise War (KLFCW)
Malaysia’s fourth Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad founded the Kuala Lumpur Foundation to Criminalise War (KLFCW), a non-governmental organisation established under the laws of Malaysia on 12 March 2007.

The main objectives of the Foundation, as stated in its Statutes are, inter alia:
 
1.    To undertake all necessary measures and initiatives to criminalise war and energise peace;

2.    To provide relief, assistance and support to individuals and communities who are    suffering from the effects of war and armed conflict wherever occurring and without discrimination on the grounds of nationality, racial origin, religion, belief, age, gender or other forms of impermissible differentiations;

3.    To promote the education of individuals and communities suffering from the effects of war or armed conflict;

4.    To foster schemes for the relief of human suffering occasioned by war or armed conflict;

5.    To provide for mechanisms or procedures in attainment of the above purposes.



WHY is it that the murder of one man is considered a criminal act whereas the killing of hundreds of thousands of innocent people committed in wars, is not considered so?
-Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad

 

 


Dirk Adriaensens
Member BRussells Tribunal Executive Committee

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