Statement presented by Mohammed al Qahtani (ISN 063) to his second annual Administrative Review Board
|Statement presented by Mohammed al Qahtani (ISN 063) to his second annual Administrative Review Board
Mohammed al Qahtani's Administrative Board hearing convened in late October 2006.
It was published due to a FOIA request from the Associated Press in September 2007.
It was wikified from pages 42-50 of http://www.dod.mil/pubs/foi/detainees/csrt_arb/ARB_Transcript_2000-2099.pdf on September 28, 2007
Note: The handwritten copy of his statement is found on pages 42-50 of the .pdf. The version that was read aloud is recorded, without paragraph breaks, on pages 36-37 of the .pdf — in the transcript.
This version is transcribed from the hand-written version.
Mohammed Al Qahtani, ISN 063
To the Administrative Review Board:
Thank you for the opportunity to address you.
After almost five years of illegal imprisonment by the United States, this is the first statement I am making of my own will and without coercion of under threat of torture.
I am unfamiliar with the laws of the United States and the regulations for the ARB. Obviously I wish my lawyer was hear to help me with my case, but because this is not allowed I must speak for myself.
I have been told that I have been classified as an enemy combatant and I do not know how this came to be. With all my respect to the Board, a mistake was made. Because all of the information extracted from me was done under torture.
I can say without hesitation that I am not a threat to the United States, its allies, or anyone else in the past. I will not harm the United States in the future. I know nothing about acts of hostility against the United States and I do not belong to any organization that wants to harm the United States and I want to return to my mother and father in Riyadh and start my business again.
I was kidnapped as a civilian and was eventually handed over to U.S. military authorities. The United States transferred me to Guantanamo.
I have always explained to interrogators that I am a businessman and have a company that was registered with Saudi (sic) government. I have also been engaged in the trade business and have assisted other businessmen to obtain official documents from the Saudi government.
Beginning in August 2002 through 2003, I was subjected to physical and psychological methods during interrogation that amounted to torture; cruel, inhuman (sic) and degrading treatment; and outrages upon my personal dignity.
These methods included:
- severe sleep deprivation combined with 20-hour interrogations for months at a time;
- severe isolation;
- threatened with rendition to countries that torture more;
- religious and sexual humiliation;
- threats made against my family;
- strip searching, body searches, and forced nudity, including in the presence of female personnel;
- denial of the right to practice my religion, including prohibiting me from praying for prolonged times and during Ramadan;
- threatening to desecrate the Koran in front of me;
- placing me in stress positions for prolonged times;
- restrained me for many months for days and nights and the restrainst were very tight;
- threats and attacks by dogs;
- exposure to low temperature for prolonged times;
- exposure to loud music for prolonged times;
- forcibly given frequent IV's (sic) many times a day by medical personnel during interrogation, which felt like repeatitive (sic) stabs and this happened on a daily basis.
Medical personnel were involved in carrying out these methods used in interrogations. As a result of the intense physical and psychological stress from these methods, I went from approximately 160 pounds to 100 pounds and was sent to the hospital twice when I was close to death during interrogation. This list does not include everything that happened to me and many other methods were used against me.
A human being needs four main things in life that were taken from me at Guantanamo. First to honor religion and freedom to practice religion and respect it. Two, honoring his personal dignity by refraining from humiliating a human being through beating or cursing him and bad treatment in general. Three, respect for his honor, which means not dishonoring him through sexual humiliation or abuse. Four, respect for human rights, by allowing a human being to sleep and be comfortable where he is; to be in a warm shelter; to have security for his life; to have sufficient food and beverage; to have means to relieve himself and clean his body; to have humane medical treatment; and to know this his family is safe from threats or harm. Again, all of these rights were taken from me.
It was only during this period of physical and psychological torture and inhuman (sic) treatment, that I was forced to make false statements and fabricate a story. I would have said anything to stop the torture at Guantanamo.
Once this torture stopped, I explained over and over that none of what I said was true. I am a businessman, a peaceful man. I have no connection to terrorism, violence or fighters.
In the past; I have worked and socialized with Americans and could never have imagined that anything like Guantanamo would ever happen to me. My past experience with Americans, sitting across the table with them, and so on, has been positive in the past. I viewed them as people and, even now, I still look at Americans as human beings.
To this day, I have been unable to show the United States military that a mistake has been made, that I was tortured, and that I am a peaceful, businessman. This was because I have been cut off at Guantanamo from the outside world with no ability to gather witnesses, collect official documents or other evidence, to defend myself. I was denied access to any lawyer who could have assisted me in defending myself and prevented interrogators from obtaining false statements from me using torture and abuse. But what is past is past, and I refuse to be vindictive about this.
Even after being subjected to the torture and inhuman treatment authorized by U.S. government officials, I only want to return home to my mother and father and rebuild my life. I want to help my brothers and sisters care for my aging parents. I want to get married and have children and return to my business and community.
I request that the United States and the Kingdome of Saudi Arabia work together to return me home. As a Saudi citizen, I ask the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to honor the statement by Prince al-Faisal and to use all diplomatic efforts to return me to my family and my home.
- It is certain that I have no intentinn whatsover to kill people in general of innocents in particular of any country or any religion. especially Americans.
- Interrogators provided me with this information and details and under pressure and coercion forced me to adopt the story that the interrogators wanted to hear. The information that I provided during interrogation was information I only got from them during interrogation sessions. The information I gave them was not valuable and did not help to protect lives or property. I was unable to give them any different or new information about anything in the past or in the future. I just repeated the information give to me during interrogations. Any information that other prisoners have given about me must have also been extracted through torture or coercion; lies by prisoners for privilieges; or lying to cooperate with interrogators to get promises for release or other things.
- Even if you have any concerns about transferring me, my country can offer sufficient guarantees to American authorities to keep me in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and my country has enough authority to assure the United States that I will not present a danger.