USA: Torture Survivor faces unfair trial in Guantanamo
Governments around the world go through many efforts to cover a veil of secrecy upon their cruel practices of torture. Ammar al Baluchi's story shows the ways in which the US has tried to cover their brutal, extensive use of torture.
Ammar al Baluchi faces charges, including the death penalty, for an alleged role in the 9/11 attacks.
In April 2003, Ammar was abducted and taken into US custody in Pakistan. For the next three years, the CIA subjected him to enforced disappearance, moving him to different CIA-operated "black sites". Throughout this time, Ammar was brutally tortured by CIA authorities as part of their interrogation program. Acts of torture that he was forced to endure include: water torture similar to water boarding; continuous high volume music; extreme sleep deprivation; forced nudity, and beatings that have resulted in a painful traumatic brain injury.
Ammar was transferred to prison at Guantánamo Bay in 2006, where he still is today. He continues to suffer from symptoms including the inability to sleep, along with severe physical and psychological pain, as a result from his torture and brain injury - all inflicted at the hands of US authorities. He has yet to receive medical treatment or rehabilitation for his extensive injuries. This continues to affect Ammar’s ability to participate effectively in his own defense, even though the United States has invoked the death penalty against him.
Unfortunately for Ammar al Baluchi and other individuals who have been tortured in the CIA secret detention programme, the US has actively shrouded their extensive use of torture. Ammar and other detainees' experiences – including their own memories of their torture - have been classified as Top Secret. As a result, their recollections of years of torture cannot be shared to the public until authorities declassify them.This leaves Ammar unable to share the things he felt, saw, and experienced. The tortured are essentially silenced by their torturers, leaving the authorities unaccountable for the suffering and pain they inflicted upon detainees, including the trauma that torture survivors are now forced to bear.
Despite the CIA classifying Ammar's experiences of torture, classified information about Ammar’s torture was provided by the CIA to the filmmakers of the Hollywood film 'Zero Dark Thirty'. The classified information provided to the filmmakers has never been provided to Ammar's lawyers.
Ammar al Baluchi's trial has yet to begin. Please take action now to help torture survivors like Ammar receive justice.
Write to Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis now.
* Express concern that the charges against Ammar al Baluchi and his co-defendants carry the death penalty.
* Point out that international law prohibits the death penalty based on any trial that has not met the highest standards of fairness, and that the military commission trials do not meet such standards.
* Urge that the military commissions be abandoned in favour of trials in ordinary US civilian courts and that pursuit of the death penalty be dropped in any case, whatever the trial forum.
* Call for a prompt, full medical assessment of Ammar al Baluchi’s physical and psychological injuries and related apparent mental disability which he developed as a result of torture.
* Urge that Ammar al Baluchi receives all necessary treatment and rehabilitative care.
Address your messages to
Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1000
Please send a copy to
Ms Elizabeth Moore Aubin
Chargé d’Affaires, Embassy for the USA
PO Box 866, Station B
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5T1
Fax: (613) 688-3082
Let Ammar know he isn't alone. Send him a letter or card. Here's some inspiration:
Address your solidarity letters to:
Ammar al Baluchi
P.O. Box 141
Cabin John, MD