His Response to Torture Was Hunger Strikes

restraint_chair.jpg  Gruesome chair used to restrain prisoners for force feeding.

Abu Bakr Alahdal, another of the supposed Yemeni “foot soldiers,” may in fact have actually been one, though if so, he should have been given the protections of the Geneva Conventions instead of tortured.  His foot soldier role, furthermore, seems not to have ever been against the US.

He is said to have come to Afghansitan in October 2001 from Pakistan where he had been for several months.  He is said from the latest of the infamous transcripts, according to Andy Worthington, to have “became interested in going to Afghanistan when he heard about how the Taliban had destroyed the idolatrous Buddhist statues in Bamiyan, Afghanistan. … [he] felt the statues were an affront to Islam and needed to be destroyed, and respected the Taliban for what they did.”

And what exactly does this have to do with aggression against the US?

He apparently got help at a mosque in Yemen which connected him to people among the Taliban, though his contact took him first to a guest house in Kandahar and to another in Kabul where he was more a tourist for a few weeks than anything else.

Ultimately he did make his way to Bagram where, according to Andy, “he served as a fighter for the Taliban Arab forces.  He fell ill and was sent to Kabul to a hospital where he was actually recuperating for several months.  When the “ariel bombardment” began, he decided it would be better to die serving Allah in battle.  He went to Jalalbad and waited to be called to the front lines, but never seems to have been.  He ultimately got to Pakistan, where he was turned in.

It is beyond my ability to state how shameful it is that such a person should have been sent under the worst conditions to an interrogation center intended originally for the leaders of al Qaeda, where interrogation included torture.

Alahdal was one of many prisoners at Guantanamo who went on hunger strike.  He only weighted 99 pounds on arrival and reached 81 pounds at one time.  He was force fed daily, Andy reports, from August 2005 at least until the publicly released weight records ended in December 2005.  At that time he weighed 101 pounds.  Read Andy Worthington’s accounts of these prisoners here.

Reports from prisoners of the force feeding are torture in themselves.  Having had myself a number of carefully administered surgical and medical procedures at one time, I have said that if they were not administered to save my life and as kindly as they could be, they would have been torture.  The prisoners at Guantanamo were not kindly treated and suffered badly from the force feeding.

This young man, who wanted to live in a real Islamic country according to his lights did nothing to merit having his protections under the Geneva Conventions abrogated.  And again, no one, no human being regardless of what they ever do, should be tortured.

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