Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

Judge Demands US Gov't Hand Over Secret Docs Detailing Gitmo Torture

Guantánamo Bay prison is a 'black hole where no laws apply,' claims former detainee in appeal

Jacob Chamberlain

On Wednesday, a judge presiding over the trial of the five alleged 9/11 plotters currently held at Guantánamo Bay ordered the U.S. government to submit previously undisclosed Red Cross documents that detail the conditions of prisoners at the secretive military prison, referred to by a former detainee as "a black hole where supposedly no laws apply."

The International Committee of the Red Cross, which is the only human rights group to be granted access to the detention center since 2002, has documented the prison conditions for over a decade—including those at the highly secretive "Camp 7" facility—but has not publicly released its findings.

James Connell, attorney for defendant Ammar al Baluchi, noted that the documents are "the only independent historical record” of the conditions at Guantánamo.

"The ICRC records may provide important information about the extremely harsh conditions of confinement at Guantánamo over the years," Connell stated.

Meanwhile, former Guantánamo detainee David Hicks, convicted of “providing material support to terrorism,” broke his gag order on Wednesday to speak out against the tortuous conditions he experienced in the six years he spent detained at the prison and to file an appeal against his former conviction with the help of the Center for Constitutional Rights in a bid to clear his name.

“Once the detainee was beaten and removed, they’d have to use hoses and scrubbing brushes to remove the blood from the cement floor." - former Gitmo detainee

Hicks, an Australian native who was taken into custody by U.S. forces in Afghanistan and was one of the first detainees at Guantanamo, claims he was coerced into a plea deal under the impression that it was "the only way to get out of Guantánamo and escape the ongoing abuse and torture" there, CCR reports.

“That ranges from typical physical beatings to a whole range of psychological ploys," Hicks told RT in an interview this week. "There was medical experimentation that was very scary to be subjected to.”

“Myself and everyone else were tortured on a daily basis,” Hicks said.

Among the abuses at Gitmo, Hicks described how inmates were forced to take pills and injections at the threat of beatings and were never informed which drugs they were taking.

Hicks said prisoners were routinely beaten "until their bones were broken."

“Once the detainee was beaten and removed, they’d have to use hoses and scrubbing brushes to remove the blood from the cement floor."

Hicks said by the end of his time at Guantánamo he no longer had the ability “to fight, to have hope, to believe that justice would prevail” and was considering suicide.

“Guantánamo is sort of this black hole where supposedly no laws apply except what they decide.”

“Today is just the first step in a long process to correct the wrongs committed against me,” said Hicks upon the announcement of his appeal. “I was detained for six years without having committed an offense (as recognized by the CDPP in the proceeds hearing) and was tortured and pressured with duress into making unfair decisions which did not reflect the facts.  I had no choice but to sign the plea deal or I would have died in Guantánamo.”

As for the ruling over the Red Cross documents this week, the documents are to be turned over to Judge Col James Pohl by December 2.

The ruling does not yet make the documents available to the public or the defense. Pohl will determine whether to release them or send them back into the shadows.

The ruling comes in response to pre-trial motions by the defense counsel in order to "ensure the conditions for detention are in compliance with international law agreements and standards," Pohl stated.

As The Guardian reports, "Such evidence is relevant to the defense’s contentions of illegal pre-trial confinement, which is sure to become an issue during sentencing in the capital case should the defendants be found guilty."

Watch Hick's interview on RT below:


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Wall Street-Funded Democrat PAC to Spend $1 Million in Bid to Unseat Tlaib: Report

"Imagine spending $1 million to oust Rashida Tlaib instead of organizing in Detroit to make sure Michigan goes blue," quipped one progressive group.

Brett Wilkins ·

Parents Demand Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty 'For the Sake of the Children'

"We cannot remain silent as the fossil fuel industry and world leaders rob our children of a livable future," parents from 32 nations wrote in an open letter.

Brett Wilkins ·

'We Can Do Better' Than Biden's Paltry Student Debt Relief Plan, Says AOC

The president's approach, said the New York Democrat, is "just enough to anger the people against it *and* the people who need forgiveness the most."

Julia Conley ·

Right-Wing Supreme Court Poised to Make US Gun Carnage Even Worse

The U.S. Supreme Court's right-wing majority could soon "obliterate even the mildest of gun regulations in service of its gun lobby masters."

Kenny Stancil ·

'Enough Is Enough!': Thousands Protest Outside NRA Convention in Texas

"I'm just tired of the NRA subordinating children's rights for gun rights," said one gun lobby opponent just three days after the school massacre in Uvalde.

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo