Camp X-Ray

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Posted by D from ( on Wednesday, May 28, 2003 at 10:42PM :

Prisoners gone crazy

A Pakistani released from the United States' secretive detention center in Guantanamo Bay said that most of the 600-plus prisoners still held there on suspicion of Al Qaeda links had become mentally disturbed.

"The majority of prisoners in Camp X-Ray are not even familiar with the name Al Qaeda," Shah Muhammad, 23, said in his home village of Alladhand Dheray in Dir district, some 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the border with Afghanistan in Pakistan's North West Frontier province.

"Most of them are in a critical condition mentally and have become mentally deranged."

Muhammad was released earlier this month from Camp X-Ray, the US naval base prison in Cuba, with two other Pakistanis, Jehan Wali and Sahibzada Usman Ali, and handed over to Pakistani authorities on May 8. He returned to his home on May 13.

"Jehan Wali has not talked to anyone for the past eight months," Muhammad said of his fellow detainee.

A former baker, Muhammad was one of an estimated 6,000 Pakistanis who followed the urgings of firebrand preachers and flowed over the border into Afghanistan to defend the Taliban against the US-led bombing in October 2001.

He said he was captured in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif by the Northern Alliance in November 2001 and was handed over to US troops, who flew them to Guantanamo Bay after first sensorily depriving them.

"For several months prisoners were tortured frequently. Later, after the Red Cross intervened, the torture was limited to interrogation sessions and the bans on the call to prayer and talking to each other were lifted," Muhammad said. "The American government without any proof or justification kept me imprisoned for 18 months. The US should compensate me for this loss of freedom," he said.


-- D
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