10/11/2005

doesn’t this remind you of 1984? The ministry of love and stuff?

I was so lucky that I was taken to the Mokhabarat directly. Usually you have to go through a police station or a center of the national guards to get there, where the standard procedure of torturing is hanging people upside down and beating them with cables for hours, pinching their bodies with electrical drills, burning them with hot water, ripping out their finger nails, breaking bones, using acids on the wounds after whipping them, the dead bodies that are found in the dumpsters in Baghdad even had their eyes taken out of them, and a lot of these things happened with people that I know, or with people that were detained with the people that were with me in this jail, before they were brought here, and the list of torturing techniques is long, and you don’t want to hear them or know about them if you want to sleep at night.

In one of the floors in the same building, there is another prison, a bigger one called “The Palace of Hospitality” (doesn’t this remind you of 1984? The ministry of love and stuff?) Where recently a father and his son were arrested, and the son died at night because his rips were broken after they beat him, and then they spelled hot water on his body, he kept moaning of pain for the whole night, said Abo Ayid, who slept right beside him, and then he died. I’ll tell you more about Abu Ayid in the end.

they should have the right to appear in front of a judge very soon after being detained without being questioned and tortured, and they should have real lawyers in the court, they should at least know their charges!

Firas: a 26 years old light skinned guy, was walking in the street with grocery bags in his hands when a car attacked an American convoy, he ran away, in a normal reaction, so the police followed him and caught him, and beat him continuously for 7 hours with pipes while he was tied up to a chair, and when he didn’t confess of attacking the US troops or Iraqi police, his investigators wrote a report that he must have been trained in foreign terrorists camps to tolerate torturing, and sent him to this place, supposedly a place for more expert interrogators.

Mohammed: a very dull 23 year old dark skinned guy, works in a very poor traditional café in a very poor neighborhood, the owner of the café was high on drugs and reported that Mohammed killed 4 policemen and 4 national guards, Mohammed is hardly smart enough to form a sentence, he can read and write, but besides serving tea and coffee, don’t expect much of him. One minute with him and you will discover that he has a heart of a 6 year old child, he thinks that an imaginary bird comes to him everyday and tells him the news of his mother, the only family member he has. When they were interrogating him they asked him: “did you kill eight men?” He said “sayyidi ya 7aras wa6ani ya kharyan istor 3alena” hahahaJ (meaning: “me? I killed no national guard and no shit at all, don’t put me in trouble” which makes sense in English, but its extremely funny in Arabic and tells you that a person isn’t sane at all), since Mohammed is accused of killing eight men, we called him Mohammed the wolf, haha, and that was his nick name for the rest of the time, till I left, and God knows what will happen to him. All what it takes to put someone in jail is to call anonymously and claim that he is a terrorist, and that’s it, he will be tortured and put in jail for 45 days, so you, “the secret informer” can chose to come to the court during this period and swear that he is a terrorist, if so, that’s it, he will be legally accused of terrorism and might spend the rest of his life in jail, or he maybe executed, or maybe set free, its totally up to the judge to decide that, or maybe its up to the CIA, which I knew later that they occupy the floor that was above us in the building, where the orders come from.

Maysam And Nathom: two brothers, in their twenties, very poor, amazingly good looking, if there was an Arabic version of Hollywood, they would sure be Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt.

When I was in jail I cried twice, one of them was when Nathom came to the toilets from an interrogation session, and I was in the toilets at that time, and he started crying hard, he said that they beat him so much to the point that he had to say that his brother killed 300 people and stole many cars.

He came to the toilets while they started to torture his brother to make him confess of these crimes, I went back to the cell and cried for minutes, it was so unfair, so unfair.

That night we made jokes about it, and that since we all are supposed to be “terrorism experts” we knew that a sword can kill up to 50 people, so he must have used so many swords, or maybe he used chainsaw? How else would anyone kill 300 people with his own hands?

Yes, we made jokes about that, in prison, and when it’s such a silly situation, you learn to joke about it.

So the interrogator said: “so he killed 300 people?”
“yes sir” Nathom answered, and the interrogator writes the confession.
“and he stole an Opel Car?”
“yes sir”
“a yellow one?”
“yes sir”
And then the interrogator put down the pen and said “you son of a b****, it has been more that two years since the war and I never saw one yellow Opel car”
(And it’s true, for some reason all Opels in Iraq are grey, some are black or blue but it’s rare, but no yellow ones!) All of that interrogation happened while Nathom is hanging upside down, and being hit at the same time.

I left the jail and the two brothers where still there.

Abo kamal, and his nephews: a sheikh of a tribe, had an appointment with a friend to have dinner, and they agreed to meet in front of a well known police station in that area, so they waited there in their car, with the four hazard lights flashing, and the light inside the car turned on, on the side of the road right in front the police station waiting for their friend, and then some cops came out of the station, arrested them and accused them of killing a man, till I left, abo kamal and the others weren’t told the name of the person that was killed, how and when he was killed.

Abo ayid: you know that in our region we call people “abu something” and abu means “the father of” so for example my dad would be abu raed, cause raed is the oldest son, and if your oldest son is called james for example, you would be called abu james ok?
OkJ
Abu Ayid is a nick name that is used, rarely, to call someone that is married in long time but doesn’t have children, for any reason, cause its rude to call people with their names, calling them abu – is a formal and respecting way, so if you know someone that doesn’t have children you call him abo ayid, ok?
Ok!
Now abu ayid has been in prison for about three months, he was tortured a lot, his fingernails were taken out, his toes were broken, he was beaten so much, because someone thought that the name abo ayid sounds like a name of a terrorist, maybe a leader of a terrorist group, it SOUNDS like that, so they tortured him, and they are keeping him till he confesses and tells them about the other members in his group and their fund etc…

Whenever someone new arrives, I had this bad feeling in my stomach, its sick, and it keeps happening to other people everyday.
One of the guys there, Msaid, was so sad, he has been there for about 50 days, he never says a word, he never speaks to anyone, no one knows what he is accused of cause he wouldn’t talk, and I wouldn’t tell you about this if I didn’t see it with my own eyes, Msaid haven’t eat a bite since over 40 days, we all live in the same place and its easy to keep track of that, people there watch him and be him to eat every now and then, all they hear from him is: I don’t feel like eating.
Guys I haven’t lost my mind in jail, its true, and I saw it myself, Msaid drinks water only.
I really learned that yama fissign mazaleem!
Which is an Egyptian saying says that many of those in prison are really innocent.
I learned also the value of freedom, now just looking from the window or going out in the street is a lot of fun to me, I learned to appreciate freedom.
May God free everyone that is under such great injustice, and send them back home to their families and friends, about us, we will do what we can to make sure that happens, any kind of help that you can offer, any legal help or support from human right groups will be much appreciated and evaluated, we must do all we can to try to get some rights to those arrested, and being arrested in occupied Iraq, everyday.

Tell Me a Secret: I found myself...

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