Gitmo’s Forgotten Child Prisoners

Posted on June 16, 2011 at 1.17 pm

Mohammed El-Gharani was captured at 14 while simply praying in a mosque in Pakistan, where he had traveled to learn how to repair computers so he could start his own business.  After 20 days of hanging by his wrists in a Pakistani prison, he was sold as supposed terror suspect to the US military and ultimately flown to Gitmo.  Once there, despite his young age and having absolutely no charges levied against him, the treatment was brutal:

He has been hung from his wrists on 30 occasions (an experience he described as worse than in Pakistan, because his feet did not even touch the ground), and has also been subjected to a regime of “enhanced” techniques to prepare him for interrogation — including prolonged sleep deprivation, prolonged isolation and the use of painful stress positions — that clearly constitute torture.

On one occasion, a heavily-armoured riot squad — the Initial Reaction Force (IRF), used to quell even the most minor infringements of the rules — slammed his head into the floor of his cell, breaking one of his teeth, and on another occasion an interrogator stubbed out a cigarette on his arm.

One of at least 22 minors imprisoned in Guantanamo, El-Gharani was ultimately released in 2009 after eight years in jail without so much as a charge.  However, at least three prisoners who were captured as minors remain in custody in Guantanamo Bay.  One of them, Wikileaks revealed, was cleared for release as long ago as 2004.

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