Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login

A sickening truth at Guantánamo

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Editorials & Other Articles Donate to DU
babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 08:16 PM
Original message

A sickening truth at Guantánamo

A gravely ill detainee I represent, never charged with a crime, has been neglected by military doctors. Will he be the next to die inside the notorious prison?

By H. Candace Gorman

March 14, 2008 | The U.S. government has long insisted that it provides quality medical treatment to all suspected terrorists imprisoned in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Even the dependably cynical Michael Moore, in his latest film "Sicko," fell for the hype. But it is time to set the record straight. Five prisoners are now known to have died inside the secretive prison -- at least one under dubious circumstances -- and others are gravely ill. And in the case of one very ill man, there is evidence of extraordinary medical neglect on the part of military physicians.

I am an attorney representing that man, Abdul Hamid Al-Ghizzawi, who has been held inside America's legal black hole since March 2002. The U.S. government has never charged him with any wrongdoing. Military officials claim he has been given proper healthcare. But Al-Ghizzawi appears to have acute liver disease, among other ailments, and the military is allowing his condition to deteriorate without proper diagnosis or treatment, according to a doctor with the International Committee of the Red Cross who has observed Al-Ghizzawi and his medical records at the prison. A leading medical expert who has reviewed Al-Ghizzawi's case agrees with that conclusion, as do I, based on my observations of my client during repeated visits to Guantánamo. Military and government officials have refused to grant me access to my client's medical records.

Al-Ghizzawi, now 45, is a Libyan-born man who had been living quietly in Afghanistan with his Afghan wife. They had a small shop selling honey and spices that they later expanded to a bakery. They have a young daughter, now 6 years old, whom Al-Ghizzawi last saw when she was just a few months old. When the American bombs started to fall in late 2001 on Jalalabad, the city where Al-Ghizzawi lived with his family, he did what most people would do: He fled. He took his wife and infant daughter to his wife's parents' home away from the city. Unfortunately, Al-Ghizzawi was not well known in his in-laws' village. Bounty hunters turned Al-Ghizzawi over to the Northern Alliance in December 2001, who then handed him over to the United States. (Our government offered millions of dollars for captured "murderers and terrorists," and few questions were asked when Arab men were turned over for those bounties.) By March 2002, Al-Ghizzawi was sent to Guantánamo, where he was never charged with a crime or given the opportunity to prove his innocence.

The military eventually used so-called Combatant Status Review Tribunals to justify holding prisoners at Guantánamo without the due process on which our legal system is based. But in Al-Ghizzawi's status review in November 2004, the tribunal unanimously found him not to be an "enemy combatant" (as was determined to be the case with some 35 other prisoners). The U.S. government proceeded to convene a second tribunal using exactly the same "evidence" against Al-Ghizzawi found to be worthless the first time around. One of the officers who sat on the first tribunal, Lt. Col. Stephen Abraham of the Army Reserve, testified to Congress in July 2007 that the evidence against Al-Ghizzawi was "garbage." In the meantime, Al-Ghizzawi has not been allowed to see or talk to his wife and young daughter for more than six years.

The duration and isolation of his indefinite confinement are appalling enough, but now Al-Ghizzawi appears to be dying of liver disease. Eighteen months ago, in August 2006, I filed an emergency motion with the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., to try to get copies of Al-Ghizzawi's medical records, which the government refused to turn over. Bush administration lawyers submitted an affidavit in response from the then medical director at Guantánamo, Dr. Ronald Sollock, who acknowledged that Al-Ghizzawi had a "history of hepatitis B," and stated that the military had run "routine" tests on Al-Ghizzawi. The results, he said, came back "normal." Sollock also noted in his affidavit that Al-Ghizzawi became infected with tuberculosis while at Guantánamo. This was the first that Al-Ghizzawi had learned of his having a "history of hepatitis B" and of being infected with tuberculosis. But U.S. District Judge Bates denied my motion to gain access to the medical records.

Shortly thereafter, in December 2006, Al-Ghizzawi was moved to Camp 6 at Guantánamo, a maximum security facility where prisoners are kept in total isolation. When I protested to military officials about this seriously ill man being put in such harsh conditions, I was told that Camp 6, which had just opened that month, was the new prison facility for the "general population." I was given no other explanation as to why Al-Ghizzawi was moved there.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
Sen. Walter Sobchak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 08:23 PM
Response to Original message
1. a solider who was in afghanistan told me
that they litereally had boys bringing them their little brothers claiming they were terrorists,
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
leftchick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 08:24 PM
Response to Original message
2. I have been following her blog for a while now
fuckin A this makes me sick. :puke:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
panader0 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 08:24 PM
Response to Original message
3. Gitmo=another reason I think the war is issue #1.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
midnight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 08:51 PM
Response to Original message
4. Legal hole provides good medical care??? Maybe
Michael Moore was just trying to make a crazy point.....Our own govt. says it provides health care for prisoners....But will not provide it for citizens....
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Tue Sep 19th 2017, 03:54 PM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]

Home » Discuss » Editorials & Other Articles Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators

Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC