Letter from Ali Khan, Majid Khan's father
To the Tribunal:
My name is Ali Khan, and I am Majid’s father. I am writing this statement on behalf of my family because the military will not let us travel to Guantánamo and participate in Majid’s hearing. I ask the Tribunal to consider my statement, which has been prepared with help from my children and from our lawyers at the Center for Constitutional Rights because I have difficulty with English.
I have not seen my son in more than four years, since before he was kidnapped from his brother’s home in Karachi on March 5, 2003. Now I am told by the military that my son wants to know whether I said in March 2003 that he became very religious and developed anti-American feelings, and whether one of my other sons said that Majid might be involved with Al Qaeda. Where and when did we make these statements that you claim we made? Who did we make these statements to, exactly? The government has refused to give us this information. Anything we may have said about Majid was simply out of shock because we only knew that Majid had disappeared, and was pure speculation based on what FBI agents in the United States told us and pressured us to say.
You want to know whether my son is a terrorist? The answer is no. As I have said before publicly, I cannot accept these allegations against him. If you think that he did something wrong, show me the evidence. Charge him with a crime and give him a fair trial in a real court. This Tribunal is not a real court. It is not a legitimate proceeding. It is only for show and the outcome has probably already been decided. After several years of detention there are still no charges against Majid; he cannot see any evidence or question any witnesses against him; and he cannot have access to his lawyers at the Center for Constitutional Rights, which he has asked for in letters sent through the Red Cross. Anything that he may have confessed to or that other prisoners may have said about him should also be considered with suspicion because these statements were probably tortured or coerced out of them. Under these circumstances, how could anyone believe what the government says about my son?
What I can tell you is that Majid was kidnapped from my son Mohammed’s house in Karachi, along with Mohammed, his wife and my infant granddaughter. They were captured by Pakistani police and soldiers, and taken to a detention center 15 minutes from Mohammed’s house. The center had walls that seemed to be 80 feet high. My sons were hooded, handcuffed and interrogated. After eight days of interrogation by U.S. and Pakistani agents, including FBI agents, Mohammed was allowed to see Majid. Majid looked terrible and very, very tired. According to Mohammed, Majid said that the Americans tortured him for eight hours at a time, tying him tightly in stressful positions in a small chair until his hands, feet and mind went numb. They retied him in the chair every hour, tightening the bonds on his hands and feet each time so that it was more painful. He was often hooded and had difficulty breathing. They also beat him repeatedly, slapping him in the face, and deprived him of sleep. When he was not being interrogated, the Americans put Majid in a small cell that was totally dark and too small for him to lie down in or sit in with his legs stretched out. He had to crouch. The room was also infested with mosquitoes. This torture only stopped when Majid agreed to sign a statement that he was not even allowed to read. But then it continued again when Majid was unable to identify certain streets and neighborhoods in Karachi that he did not know. Majid almost cried when he told Mohammed how he was accused of lying even when he was telling the truth.
According to Mohammed, Majid was interrogated and abused at a separate detention center in a different neighborhood. He was taken there in the morning and brought back at night. Other unknown prisoners were transferred to and from there as well. The Pakistani guards were upset by this treatment, and often let Majid speak with Mohammed when he got back late at night. After about 20 days of these interrogations, Majid told Mohammed that the Americans had threatened to send him to Guantánamo. He was exhausted from lack of sleep. A day or two later, Majid was again allowed to see Mohammed and hold him that he was being sent to Islamabad. Majid said he was not sure he would ever see his brother again and asked him to pray for him.
After that, Majid disappeared and my family had no idea whether he was alive or dead until President Bush announced on September 6, 2006 that he had been moved from a secret CIA prison to Guantánamo. According to Mohammed, the Pakistani guards promised that Majid would never be turned over to the Americans and sent to Guantánamo because President Musharraf had a special deal with the Americans to prevent this. But this was obviously not true.
Also according to Mohammed, he and Majid were detained in the same place where two of Khalid Sheik Mohammed’s young children, ages about 6 and 8, were held. The Pakistani guards told my son that the boys were kept in a separate area upstairs, and were denied food and water by other guards. They were also mentally tortured by having ants or other creatures put on their legs to scare them and get them to say where their father was hiding. The Americans also once stripped and beat two Arab boys, ages 14 and 16, who were turned over by the Pakistani guards at the detention center. These guards told my son Mohammed that they were very upset at this, and said the boys were thrown like garbage onto a plane to Guantánamo. Women prisoners were also held there, apart from their husbands, and some were pregnant and forced to give birth in their cells. According to Mohammed, one woman almost died in her cell because the guards could not get her to a hospital quickly enough. This was most upsetting to the Pakistani guards.
At the time Majid was kidnapped and these events were happening in Pakistan, our family’s home in Maryland was also raided by government agents. Our whole house was searched from top to bottom, and our life was so disrupted that we eventually had to move out of our neighborhood. I was also interrogated by FBI agents for several days, as was each of my sons and daughters. We were threatened, and when we asked about lawyers we were told that they could not help us. The FBI pressured us to talk and to speculate about Majid. They followed us everywhere we went for a long time, requiring us to tell them in advance where we were going and what we were going to do there. They followed us so closely that we even asked them for directions sometimes when we got lost driving.
Despite all that we have endured, we have always cooperated and continue to cooperate with the government. At this point, the FBI has probably questioned us for hundreds of hours. I think they have opened our mail. And they seem to have placed listening devices in our house, our phones and probably our computers. They have also tried to recruit my sons to spy on other Muslims by bribing them with money. I am also not allowed to leave the country. But the government still refuses to show us any evidence against Majid. This is not right. We expected much more in America, particularly because Majid has political asylum here and grew up and went to high school here in Maryland. He has legal status in the United States.
We are also deeply saddened that President Musharraf and the Government of Pakistan would allow this to happen to Majid. We cannot understand why they participated in his abduction and rendition from Pakistani soil, or why they do not call for Majid’s release and return to Pakistan now. We can only assume that they do whatever the United States tells them to do. This is not right. It is not Islamic.
We love Majid very much and we support him. Again, if he has done something wrong, he should be charged with a crime and given a fair trial. But this Tribunal provides no justice. It is also cruel that the military refuses to allow Majid to see his family after several years of imprisonment. We would be allowed to visit him in jail in Pakistan. Why does the United States, which is supposed to respect the law and stand up for human rights, deny us this simple request? Is the United States afraid of what Majid would say? Someday we will learn the truth about what has happened to my son.
Thank you for considering my statement.