Gitmo Detainee Calls al-Jazeera, Alleges Abuse

Prisoner, captured at 14, says he was beaten, tear-gassed

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 15, 2009 11:48 AM CDT

(Newser) – Prisoner abuse at Guantanamo Bay hasn’t gotten any better since Barack Obama took office, one detainee told al-Jazeera yesterday after using newly granted phone privileges to call the Middle Eastern news network. Mohammed al Gharani says he’s been abused “almost every day” since Obama’s term began, the Miami Herald reports. The 21-year-old described one incident in which guards beat him with a rubber baton and threw tear gas at him when he refused to leave his cell.

Gharani celled an al-Jazeera cameraman who was released from Guantanamo last year after 6 years' incarceration. Gharani had recently gained phone privileges following his transfer to a camp for detainees awaiting release. In January, a court ruled that the Chad citizen, who was nabbed in Pakistan at age 14 in 2002, should go free because the Pentagon’s “mosaic of allegations” against him wasn’t strong enough.

This image, released by his lawyer, shows Mohammed el Gharani, a Chad native who has complained of abuse at Guantanamo Bay.
A Guantanamo detainee walks past a cell block at Camp 4 detention facility, at the US Naval Base, in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Nov. 18, 2008.   (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
Navy Chief Petty Officer Bill Mesta replaces an official picture of George W. Bush with that of Barack Obama, in the headquarters of the US Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Jan. 20, 2009.   (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, Pool)
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One of them held my head and beat it against the ground. I started screaming to his senior 'see what he's doing, see what he's doing.' His senior started laughing and said 'he's doing his job.' - Mohammed al Gharani

The people managing the detainees there haven't changed yet. These are the same people who were there during the Bush years and so they use the same methods. - Sami al-Hajj, the al Jazeera reporter Gharani called.

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