A Briton who spent two years in the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, accused his American captors of subjecting him and
other inmates to a catalog of brutality: beatings, forced injections, sleep deprivation and shackling in painful positions.
Jamal Harith, 37, described how he endured a beating in which a guard jumped up and down on his legs when he resisted an
injection of an unknown drug, one of 10 such injections that left him feeling woozy and disoriented. He said interrogators
forced him to spend long periods in painful positions on his knees or bound in chains that cut into his skin. On some days,
according to his account, guards chained him to the floor for up to 15 hours in an interrogation room with cold air blowing
in, forcing him to urinate on himself.
Harith said he witnessed dozens of beatings inflicted by a team of guards known as the Extreme Reaction Force. A guard with a
video camera often taped the incidents, he said. Inmates suffered broken arms and legs, and bloodied and swollen faces, he
Harith’s account of conditions at Guantanamo echoed some of the reports of abuse at U.S. detention facilities in Iraq and
Afghanistan. He spoke with The Times last week in one of his first interviews with a U.S. newspaper.
Harith’s detailed description of captivity in the secretive facility is difficult to confirm. But he said the evidence of
wrongdoing in Iraq — depicted in now-infamous photographs — makes it harder to dismiss allegations that similar misconduct
by U.S. prison guards occurs at Guantanamo.
“It’s just like what was happening in Iraq. They’d say the same thing: ‘Oh, yeah, really,'” Harith said.
“But the fact that you’ve seen pictures, then you can believe it, relate to it. All I can say is I have spoken to the people
this has happened to. I have seen the effects. I have seen people beat up — the swollen faces, the limping back or being
dragged back. I’ve seen the effects of it. I cannot produce pictures. All I can say is what happened…”