24 March, 2009

A person of interest moves from US to UAE

Washington Post
In August 2006, Hamdan moved the family to Dubai. At the Los Angeles airport, he was questioned for so long that he missed his flight. When he returned in 2007 for a visit, the FBI surveillance was continuous, associates said.

Things were not going smoothly abroad, either. In early 2008, while waiting for a flight in Beirut, Hamdan was arrested and interrogated for four days by Lebanese authorities. Hamden said a lawyer the family later hired to examine the court file said his detention was at the request of "outside influences."

Last July, FBI agents passed a request to Hamdan to report to the embassy in Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital, then flew there to question him. "What did they want?" his brother recalled asking Hamdan, who he said replied: " 'Whatever they ask at the airport, same thing. You can't imagine how much they know about us. If you ever forget something in your life, a certain spot, call them. They'll tell you.' "

Six weeks later, the security police took him away, then returned to carry away all things electronic.
...
One day last July, Naji Hamdan was summoned to the U.S. Embassy in the United Arab Emirates. He drove two hours through the desert heat from Dubai to answer questions from FBI agents who had arrived from Los Angeles, where Hamdan had gone to school, started a family, built a successful auto-parts business and become a U.S. citizen.

At his apartment six weeks later, he was awakened from a nap by men who bundled him into a black Chevrolet Suburban with tinted windows. Hamdan was told he was a prisoner of the UAE and was held in a cell painted glossy white to reflect the lights that burned round the clock, according to a note he wrote from prison. Between interrogations, he wrote, he was confined in a frigid room overnight, strapped into "an electric chair" and punched in the head until he lost consciousness.

In one session, the blindfolded prisoner recalled hearing a voice that sounded American. The voice said, "Do what they want or these people will [expletive] you up," Hamdan wrote.

The prisoner obliged, signing a confession that he later said meant only that he would do anything to make the pain stop. The case might have ended there but for Hamdan's U.S. citizenship and his American attorney's assertion that he was tortured "at the behest" of his own government.

"This is torture by proxy," said Ahilan Arulanantham, an American Civil Liberties Union staff lawyer representing Hamdan through his brother and wife. Noting that the UAE had shown no interest in Hamdan before arresting him, Arulanantham filed a habeas corpus petition in November in U.S. District Court in Washington. The petition alleges that the federal government used its influence to have Hamdan arrested and insists that it should use that influence to free him.
...
The torture accusations are from Hamdan's accounts to relatives and a handwritten eight-page note carried out of Abu Dhabi's Al Wathba prison by a U.S. diplomat required to check on the suspect's welfare.

After being beaten on the soles of his feet and kicked in the liver, Hamdan said, "I admitted to whatever they asked."

"Sometimes when he talks to me, he's crying," said Mona Mallouk, his wife, by phone from Beirut, where she went after the arrest with their two children, born in Los Angeles.

"When they beat him hard . . . his voice changed. I said 'Naji? Are you okay?' He said, 'No, I'm not okay. They hit me, badly. I don't know why, Mona.' "

5 comments:

Kyle said...

"When they beat him hard . . . his voice changed. I said 'Naji? Are you okay?' He said, 'No, I'm not okay. They hit me, badly. I don't know why, Mona.' "

I feel myself shiver reading these lines. I can not even comprehend about the person at the receiving end of such a battering. And the saddest part of this tale is not knowing why one was singled out in the first place.

I read a line some time ago, which said 'no one can hold out forever' but it appears Mr. Hamdan debunked this notion. People may label him a coward in signing a document to take the easy way out but at the end of the day, he demonstrated a trait he didn't even realize he possessed:

Survival of the fittest. Sadly that comes with a price.

And the price he paid are those wounds that will heal in time but if only he could wipe out those scars that would keep reminding him of the animal taint that we humans possess.

Peace to Mr. Hamdan and his family.

Media Junkie said...

i'm a little lost. who tortured who?

Kyle said...

MJ:

Go here for more details.

BuJassem said...

sad news. i am not surprised though!
it's like the FBI get their ideas from jack bauer's 24, and not the other way round!

Veiled Muslimah said...

What I'm sad and angry about is how the government here itself sided to put him in Jail... same way how a lot of other so-called Arab/Muslim countries are doing now.

Although it shouldn't come as a surprise. *Shuts up before saying anything anymore*

May Allah easen the affairs of the prisoners. Ameen.

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