War Crimes

Tonight on 60 Minutes they showed the story of Murat Kurnaz, a German citizen who spent five years in Guantanamo for doing absolutely nothing. He married an Islamic girl from Turkey and went to Pakistan to explore the Islamic faith. He was detained at a roadside checkpoint for looking suspicious; being a white amongst Islamic Pakistanis. He was then sent to a prison in Afganistan and then Guantanomo where he claims he was tortured daily including having his head put underwater and hit in the stomach simultaneously so he had to inhale.

Kurnaz says the Americans used a device to shock him with electricity that made his body go numb. And he says he was hoisted up on chains suspended by his arms from the ceiling of an aircraft hangar for five days.
“Every five or six hours they came and pulled me back down. And the doctor came to watch if I can still survive to not. He looked into my eyes. He checked my heart. And when he said okay, then they pulled me back up,” Kurnaz says.

“The point of the doctor’s visit was not to treat you. It was to see if you could take another six hours hanging from the ceiling?” Pelley asks.

“Right,” Kurnaz says.

Even worse is that this continued after the US admitted having no evidence of him being a threat.

Six months after Kurnaz reached Guantanamo, U.S. military intelligence had written, “criminal investigation task force has no definite link [or] evidence of detainee having an association with al Qaeda or making any specific threat toward the U.S.”

At the same time, German intelligence agents wrote their government, saying, “USA considers Murat Kurnaz’s innocence to be proven. He is to be released in approximately six to eight weeks.”

But Azmy says Kurnaz was kept at Guantanamo Bay for three and a half years after this memo was written in 2002.

Because of irrational fear, a man has lost five years of his life. These are the crimes for which the Bush Administration must be held accountable for. Read the rest of the transcript here. Kurnaz has also written a book on his time in captivity titled “Five Years of My Life: An Innocent Man in Guantanamo.”


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