The mistreatment and torture that Mohamedou Ould Slahi experienced at the hands of American authorities is shocking.
An excerpt from Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s gitmo diary:
“Stop the f*** praying! You’re having sex with American [redacted] and you’re praying? What a hypocrite you are!” said [redacted] angrily, entering the room.
I refused to stop speaking my prayers, and after that, I was forbidden to perform my ritual prayers for about one year to come.
I also was forbidden to fast during the sacred month of Ramadan October 2003, and fed by force.
During this session I also refused to eat or to drink, although they offered me water every once in a while.
“We must give you food and water; if you don’t eat it’s fine.”
They also offered me the nastiest MRE (meal ready to eat) they had in the camp. We detainees knew that [redacted] gathered Intels about what food a detainee likes or dislikes, when he prays, and many other things that are just ridiculous.
I was just wishing to pass out so I didn’t have to suffer, and that was really the main reason for my hunger strike; I knew people like these don’t get impressed by hunger strikes. Of course they didn’t want me to die, but they understand there are many steps before one dies.
“You’re not gonna die, we’re gonna feed you up your a**,” said
Sky News reports…
Most remarkable of all is how Mr Slahi is still in prison in Guantanamo, illegally and without charge, after 13 years in US custody – 12 of them within the detention camp.
He was born in Mauritania, West Africa, 44 years ago. At the age of 18, he won a scholarship to study electrical engineering in Germany.
As a young man, he spent a year or so in Afghanistan with the mujahideen, who were allies of the US at the time, fighting against the Soviet invasion.
He pledged his allegiance to al Qaeda in 1991 but claims he cut all ties with the group when he left a year later. The US insisted he had acted as a recruiter and supporter for the organisation in the years since then.
In 1992, he returned to Germany – subsequently working there, in Canada, and Mauritania. Following 9/11, he turned himself in to the Mauritanian authorities at their request.
The US authorities subjected him to rendition in Jordan, then, after the Jordanians found no case to answer, to Bagram military base in Afghanistan.
In August 2002, he was transferred to Guantanamo Bay and has been held there since.
While there, he underwent torture by sleep deprivation, freezing, isolation and diet manipulation, as well as physical and psychological humiliation. These experiences are described in his diary, and have been subsequently verified in declassified documents released to US investigators.
The diary was written in 2005, and it has taken a decade of legal battles to bring it to publication now.
In 2007, the FBI, CIA and military intelligence conceded they could not link Mr Slahi to acts of terrorism.
And while a US District Court judge ordered his release in 2010, he is still imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay with no obvious prospect of freedom.
Before his election in 2008, President Barack Obama pledged to shut down the prison camp but has failed to do so. Around 200 inmates are still detained there.
Even with the blacked out lines redacted by the authorities, Guantanamo Diary is a vivid and moving personal testimony.
Mr Slahi is still bearing witness to what many regard as one of the most shameful and evil chapters of US history.
This true-life account is, as the writer John le Carré puts it in his endorsement of the book: “A vision of hell, beyond Orwell, beyond Kafka.”
“We tortured some folks” – US President Barack Obama.