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Freed Guantanamo Detainees Talk of Rewards and Beatings

Two of the eighteen recently released detainees at Guantanamo Bay have cited rewards and beatings as part of the treatment.
At the US detention center in Guantanamo Bay, prisoners who argue with guards are persecuted and sometimes beaten, while those who obey are rewarded with good food, clothes, hygiene, and even video games, according to interviews with the largest group of detainees set free so far from the main facility for Taliban and Al Qaeda suspects.
The eighteen men were sent back to Kabul from Guantanamo and have since been allowed to return to their homes. They were innocent of any connection to terrorism or Al Qaeda. Some were low level employees of the old Afganistan regime, e.g., drivers to Taliban leaders. To be fair, the article cites most of the released men as praising their treatment at Guantanamo. The bad treatment is apparently saved for those perceived to be terrorists or those who don't go along with the U.S.'s game plan.
Murtaza, 28, of southern Helmand province, was one of two who said they had received bad treatment. A driver for the Taliban who also fought as a soldier, his problems at Guantanamo began, he said, when he protested the confiscation of his Koran. US guards piled everyone's copies on the floor and then sat on them, he said. Murtaza also said guards had whistled loudly during the five-times-daily Muslim prayer calls, and had dragged chains on the ground to annoy inmates while they were praying. ''I was gassed till I fainted and hosed with water cannon for complaining and resisting the indignitites against the holy Koran,'' Murtaza said, pulling up his pant leg to show scars he says he got from being kicked by heavy-booted US soldiers when he protested their actions.
A U.S. spokesman denied the charges, alleging the detainees have no reason to tell the truth. That rings false to us in light of Murtaza's scars. Some more allegations:
The men said they did not know of anyone having been beaten during interrogation. But Murtaza complained about being put in rooms with frigid air-conditioning and invasive strip searches. ''It was life in a cage,'' he concluded. He said he saw a prisoner beaten until his arm broke after protesting guards dragging chains during prayers. ''There are many human beings suffering there, and praying and reciting the Koran is not a crime, nor is it proof of affiliation with the Taliban or Al Qaeda,'' he said.
If these prisoners are to be believed, and we tend to believe them, the detainees at Guantanamo Bay are not being physically mistreated during interrogations, but when the authorities perceive them to be a discipline problem, the scenario changes substantially: rooms with freezing temperatures; kept naked for a week; strip searches; beatings; water torture and gassing; interruption of prayers and deprivation of prayer books.

Why did the U.S. hold these men in captivity for sixteen months before freeing them? Surely they knew fairly quicky the men were neither terrorists or criminals. How many more of the 660 men currently being warehoused at Guantanamo are being held, and perhaps mistreated, despite being innocent?

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