Guantanamo transcripts show US suspicions but little proof

[JURIST] Parts of a broader, more human picture of the Guantanamo detainees, their frustrations and the cases against them have begun to emerge from the depths of over 5000 pages of documentation [PDF files] on over 300 specific detainees released by the Pentagon [JURIST report] late Friday under court order. Some of the papers had been previously released with names and nationalities of detainees removed. The files show confrontation, confusion and sometimes pathos as detainees attempted in different ways to cope with captivity in a harsh physical environment and American officers tried to push them through a particular military legal process in Combatant Status Review Tribunals [DOD materials] that gave prisoners no chance to see classified evidence against them and little opportunity to plead their cases effectively. Although such evidence was not included in the released records, most of the detainees appear to be "small fry", a good number - farmers, students, engineers, journalists, clerics, charity workers and so on - not even "combatants" in the generally-accepted sense of the term, who were swept up in US or Pakistani security operations in and around Afghanistan and who have few demonstrated links with higher-ups in al Qaeda or other terrorist groups. More than a few simply seem to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. AP has more.

A number of transcripts show detainees urging US officers to speed up the process against them or afford them appropriate rights. Arkin Mahmud, a Chinese Muslim Uighur who said he had traveled to Afghanistan to look for his brothers, told a tribunal "If I am guilty they should come up with my punishment. Otherwise, do something faster to finish my case." Another transcript shows British Muslim detainee Feroz Ali Abbasi - eventually freed in January 2005 - trying to insist that he should have prisoner of war status under international law, only to be shut down by a frustrated Air Force colonel:

Mr. Abbasi your conduct is unacceptable and this is your absolute final warning. I do not care about international law. I do not want to hear the words international law again. We are not concerned about international law.
AP has more.


 

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