Summarised Unsworn Detainee Statement (Ilkham Turdbyavich Batayev, ISN 84)
Summarised Unsworn Detainee Statement
The Tribunal President read the Hearing Instructions to the Detainee. The Detainee understood the process but requested that the documents be read to him in Uzbek rather than in Russian.
The Tribunal President confirmed that the Tribunal could comply with the Detainee's request
The Detainee (sic) confirmed that the closed session would be for the Tribunal only, and he would not be participating in that portion. The Tribunal President advised the Detainee that he was right.
In the summary of evidence, it says I associated with Taliban forces, but I have nothing to do with them. 1 know nothing about them.
The Tribunal President interrupted the Detainee to give him the opportunity to make his statement under oath, if the Detainee,chose to do so.
I never in my life have sworn before. Even when a representative from Kazakhstan came and presented me a Koran, I didn't want to swear on it.
The Tribunal President advised the Detainee that was fine and it was not necessary to take the oath and the Tribunal Members would still take his statement into consideration.
I have nothing to do with the Taliban forces. I've never been associated with them. What else can 1 say? I've never in my life been in America, I've only heard about it. I am all the way on the East side of the globe and America is on the west side. I have never had anything against America. I'm not even sure why I was brought here.
I am speaking from my heart; you can believe me. I knew America as a democratic country and I still believe it is a democratic country.
There is not much I can say about it. I believe you probably have some kind of statements in my case.
I was tortured badly; they [unknown] even tried to kill me, after I was brought here by the Northern Alliance forces.
I never had a weapon. I never carried a weapon with me and I've never been in any kind of armed fight. That is all I can say.
In your summary of evidence, it says I have been a cook for the Taliban. I never cooked for them, I was only a helper. I don't believe it's fair for you to include me as a Taliban combatant or fighter just because I was a helper for the cook. That's all I can say.
The Tribunal President advised the Detainee that the Tribunal Members have some questions they would like to ask.
It has been mentioned that is my choice to answer your questions or not, and according to that, I believe you are still going to make your own decisions. I believe it is worthless for me to answer your questions anyway,, because you are going to make your own decisions. I told you everything.
I believe, by law, I am entitled to have a lawyer.
The Tribunal President explained to the Detainee that if this were a judicial proceeding, the Detainee would be entitled to a lawyer, but this was an Administrative Bearing, The Tribunal Members are here to determine if the Detainee is properly classified as an enemy combatant
I am trying to understand, but it is still my understanding that during the questions and answers I have to have a lawyer. The Tribunal President stated the Detainee did not have to have a lawyer for this proceeding.
The Tribunal President further stated all the information the Tribunal Members have about the Detainee is in the Unclassified Summary and have seen no other evidence. It would be beneficial to the Detainee to allow the Tribunal Members to ask questions.
The Detainee agreed and allowed the questions.
Questions by Tribunal Members
|Q:||You are from Uzbekistan?|
|A:||I'm from Kazakhstan.|
|Q:||The evidence indicates that you were conscripted into serving with the Taliban by men from Tajikistan. Could you explain how that happened, please?|
|A:||These are [answers] I've already said so many times. They just took me away.|
|Q:||Were you in Tajikistan at the time or Kazakhstan, or somewhere else?|
|Q:||Was there more than one time?|
|A:||I'm confused. Is there a specific date you are talking about, or something else?|
|Q:||We don't know any of your story. It would be helpful if you told us how you came from Kazakhstan to Afghanistan, to help us understand. Are you willing to do that?|
|A:||I was doing trading. That's how I ended up in Tajikistan.|
|A:||I went to Tajikistan due to trading business.|
|Q:||Then what happened?|
|A:||I went there [Tajikistan] to sell apples and they captured me and took me away.|
|Q:||Did you know who these men were?|
|A:||I don't know. They didn't tell me who they were,|
|Q:||Did they take anyone besides you?|
|A:||I don't know but there is a possibihty.|
|Q:||Were you with anyone when you were taken?|
|Q:||We're not familiar with this group called the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. Can you tell us anything about that?|
|A:||I don't know anything about them. I've just heard about them.|
|Q:||So, the men took you when you were in Tajikistan. Then what happened?|
|A:||After that I was in Afghanistan for about a month and then they gave me away to different people.|
|Q:||What people were those?|
|A:||I don't know. They didn't tell me who they were. They just took me away and then they put me in labor, into work.|
|Q:||What responsibilities did you have?|
|A:||Like mentioned in the summary of evidence, I was working in the kitchen. I was just helping a chief cook, but I never cooked myself.|
|Q:||How long did you do that?|
|A:||Five to six months.|
|Q:||What happened at that end of that time? Was this when the Northern Alliance overran your position where you were?|
|A:||After the attack from America, everyone ran away. I was just let out of there. There was a car heading to Iran with a bunch of people. I just jumped in and decided I was going to go along with them. They were heading to Herat. I was going to continue my way to Iran and go from there.|
|Q:||You were on your way to Herat, and then what happened?|
We stopped at night, and in the morning we were surrounded by the Northern Alliance forces. Prior to that, I wasn't feeling good, for about 3 months. I was sick.
We were surrounded by Northern Alliance forces and taken to a place with walls around it. They [Northern Alliance] let everybody out of the cars and were searching all of the clothes and luggage. After that, they put all of us in the basement.
I spent one day there. I don't know the exact time because I was in the basement. At some point, they told us to get out of the basement. I was sick and decided I was going to go behind everybody. Everybody lined up to get out of the basement. It was group of about 20-30 people.
At that time, I noticed there were two entrances to the basement, one on the left and one on the right. We were standing in the one that goes on the left side. When I was close to the entrance on the left side, I heard gunshots. Everybody panicked and tried to get out I thought the gunshots were coming from the right entrance. I was running behind the people who were running from the left entrance.
As soon as I got out of the left entrance, in order to save my life, I turned to the right and there was a grenade explosion and I was injured. From the corner of my eye, as I turned around, I saw there were a lot of people laying or sitting on the ground. Since I was injured, I could only take a couple steps and I collapsed.
It wasn't outside yet. It was only as you got out of the basement, it took place in some sort of foyer.
So, when I collapsed, I noticed that both of my legs and my back were bleeding. I saw some fabric lying around, so I picked some up and tied my legs.
While I was lying on the ground, I heard a lot of gunshots close to me. Another explosion took place; it was close to me. Pieces of debris, like steel, not just regular debris...
In order to save my life, I figured it wasn't good for me to lie there. I decided to crawl back into the basement.
I went back to the basement and probably spent about 5 or 6 days and beside me there were a few more injured people. I lost lots of blood and was almost unconscious. I remember someone was giving me water, but I'm not sure who it was.
It was very hard without water. I believe I was hallucinating when I was injured and I'm not even sure what I was seeing.
There was another explosion and it felt almost like an earthquake. I'm not sure which side it was from; which forces did it.
Then we smelled gas and believed somebody actually spilled gas or oil and lit it on fire. Since I was unconscious, it smelled like someone cooking something, that somebody was actually frying meat. Then, it is my understanding that somebody actually caught on fire. It was somebody's body.
Then they started to fill the basement with water. I'm not sure how much time I spent in the water. After that, I totally lost control of myself. I remember hearing some voices. I remember somebody lifted me up and took me out of there [the basement].
They took me to the hospital and started treating me. My legs were swollen. I don't remember if they operated or did something. Then I was handed to you and since then, I'm here.
|Q:||How long did it take you to recover from your injuries?|
|A:||When I was in Kandahar in the prison, it was very cold. My injuries got worse. After I came over here, they treated me and I am well. Much better.|
|Q:||Most of the Detainees in the camp wear orange. We notice you are wearing white. Why is that?|
|A:||That is a question I intended to ask you.|
|Q:||If I knew the answer, I wouldn't have asked you myself.|
|A:||I don't know.|
|Q:||During the time you were helping the head cook, do you feel you could have just left?|
|A:||I thought about it, but I couldn't. 1 wasn't feeling good at that time. If you want, I can tell you what kind of sickness I have.|
|Q:||Did it [sickness] keep you from moving around very much?|
|A:||The problem was with my wisdom teeth. They tried to pull them out and actually broke them. After that, I caught Malaria. They didn't have a specific treatment for that illness, so everybody was giving me all kinds of medications, but nothing helped me.|
Questions by the Tribunal President
|Q:||Did you do any other chores or work related activities in support of the Taliban?|
|A:||I was there helping cook. I didn't even know who I was helping because no one told me it was the Taliban.|
|Q:||While you were helping the cooks, did you travel to many places in Afghanistan or stay in one place? A; I stayed only in one place.|
|Q:||And where was that?|
|Q:||Have you ever had weapons training, either in your home country or in another country?|
|A:||I didn't have any training on it, but since the Translator is from that area of the world, she knows, back in high school there would be classes where you learn military basics.|
|A:||In high school we were trained on rifles as preparation for the future or to join the military.|
|Q:||At any time, when you were in Afghanistan, did you carry a weapon?|
Questions by Tribunal Members
|Q:||When you were in Afghanistan, were you ever familiar with any people associated with Al Qaeda?|
|A:||I never heard about Al Qaeda until the U.S. invaded Afghanistan. Even after that I heard about Northern Alliance forces. Only after that I heard about Northern Alliance also.|
The Tribunal President thanked the Detainee for answering the questions.
Thank you so much for your cooperation also. I believe it's one step forward to me to get released.
According to the statement, I was associated with the Taliban and Northern Alliance. As I mentioned before I was sick for almost 3 months. I didn't even have the strength in my body to do anything of that nature.
I just want to tell you I have nothing to do with those forces. That's all I can say.
As the Tribunal President was reading the instructions regarding the Tribunal decision, the Detainee interrupted and made the following statement
I need to interrupt you because you said if I still pose a threat to the U.S. or its allies. I have never had anything against the United States and I didn't see anything against me from the U.S., so there is no reason for me to fight against you.
I always knew America as a democratic country and always heard positive things about America. I believe that after 9/11 America became very aggressive and that's probably the only reason I'm here.
The Tribunal President stated he was explaining the processes that lie ahead if the Detainee is found to be properly classified as an enemy combatant.
I certify the material contained in this transcript is a true and accurate summary of the testimony given during the proceedings.
Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps