Spanish prisoner tells of Guantanamo ‘hell’
27 February 2004
MADRID – The only Spanish prisoner to have been held at Guantanamo Bay said Friday he had “escaped the hell” after being extradited to his own country.
Hamed Abderrahman Ahmed is being prosecuted in Spain by Judge Baltasar Garzon for alleged ties to the Al Qaeda terrorist network.
The judge ordered his imprisonment at a facility near Madrid after three hours of questioning.
In an interview with a Spanish radio station released Friday, Ahmed, arrested in Afghanistan following the 11 September 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States, said: “(U.S.) soldiers, upon detaining me, stepped on my head as I lay face down on the ground; we were stepped on and tied with a thin string that made us bleed.”
The prisoner condemned the 11 September attacks and denounced “terrorism and the killing of women and children.”
“I have nothing to do with Al Qaeda and have denounced their actions,” he said.
Since his arrival in Spain last week, Ahmed said: “Everything is better, I have left hell.”
He denied being crazy or traumatised by the Guantanamo experience, but admitted he is “scared”.
The detainee went on to describe daily life during the two years and three months he spent at the base.
“At first, I was kept in a cell that measured two metres by two metres (6 feet by 6 feet), with a metal roof; the heat was unbearable, and they played very loud American patriotic music all day long,” he said.
“They would wake us up at five-thirty, and we began to pray. We had breakfast at eight and then I would read the Koran for a long time. We showered only twice a week, we were led out blindfolded and gagged, our ears covered and our hands and feet bound.”
The prisoner said he does not resent or hate anyone, and that he “has the utmost respect for Judge Garzon.”
He said he and some friends formed a fundamentalist Islamic cell in Spain and later went to Afghanistan, where he joined the Taliban and was eventually arrested.
Ahmed’s lawyers said he will appeal his jailing and that they plan to sue the U.S. government for tortures they allege were inflicted on their client while he was held at Guantanamo.
Garzon maintained that Spanish police who questioned Ahmed in Guantanamo established his “direct” ties to recruiting organisations presumably linked to Al Qaeda.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news