Afghan youth says he was tortured at Gitmo

Aug. 27, 2009 at 10:04 AM
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KABUL, Afghanistan, Aug. 27 (UPI) -- A former detainee at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, military prison has accused his captors of torturing prisoners and insulting followers of Islam.

Mohammed Jawad, who said he was 12 when arrested seven years ago, was released on a federal judge's order and returned Monday to Kabul, Afghanistan, to his family and friends.

"This is one of the happiest moments in my life -- to be back in Afghanistan after all this time," he told The Times of London. "I hadn't done anything -- they took me for nothing. All I could do was hope that one day I'd be free and back home in Afghanistan with my mother."

Since returning, Jawad accused prison officials of torturing prisoners, denying them of food and sleep, and insulting Islam and the Koran, The Times reported Thursday. He said his hands were bound and stretched behind his back, and he was forced to eat by bending over and putting his mouth into a plate of food.

Jawad's lawyer, Eric Montalzo, said his client was treated as an adult despite his age.

"He has been in a cage for seven years. So it's very difficult for him," Montalzo told The Times. "He is a fragile human being and we need to protect him and his interests."

Navi Pillay, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, said prisoners such as Jawad should be compensated and that no one should be immune from prosecution for the torture of terror suspects.

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