Saturday, October 31, 2009

War Crime Commission Hearing: Statutory Declaration by Jameelah Abbas Hameed

I, JAMEELAH ABBAS HAMEEDI (Iraqi Passport No. G2582171) of full age and an citizen of Iraq do hereby solemnly and sincerely declare as follows:

1. I am 54 years old. I used to be Head Chief of the Cooperation Unions (that manages the other government unions in Kirkuk) prior to the invasion in 2003.

2. I now live in Damascus, Syria.

3. The purpose of making this declaration is to put on record my torture in the Baghdad Airport prison and Abu Ghraib prison in 2004 after the invasion of Iraq.

4. In January 13 2004 at around 1 a.m the American military broke into my home by force in Kirkuk and I was very frightened. The Americans rounded up the whole family including my daughter ( 22 years old), a son ( 17 years old), a nephew (25 years old) and a female guest (23 years old) and myself. We were told that we were providing monetary assistance to the resistance and they wanted the money. The searched the whole house and found nothing except for 150 dinar which is for daily expenses.

5. My hands were tied at the back with wire very tightly and the soldiers dragged me by my hair out of the house into the rain. It was winter and we were in only in our night clothes that were not suitable for going outside.

6. They destroyed everything in the house including the furniture, electrical appliances and all other belongings. They then searched our family car and found a car battery charger and they alleged that it was used to explode bombs. The car was then riddled with bullets and practically destroyed.

7. My head was then covered with a hood and I felt I could not breathe and would die. I was pushed into the military Hummer (military vehicle) and kicked by the Americans like animals.

8. After about 20 minutes being driven in the Hummer we were pushed out of the Hummer and I felt the road. I was then dragged on the paved road and after sometime I felt the ground changed from a paved road to a cemented finish. I was left standing at a wall for sometime.

9. Then my hood was removed and I saw that I was in a big hall with no windows except for a window in the ceiling. And I was then asked 2 questions - my name and date of birth by an American soldier. I asked if my hands could be untied as I was in pain. He refused to untie my hands and I remained standing facing the wall. As the hours went by I began to realise that I was in the Kirkuk military airport.

10. Later a hood was placed again on my head and I was dragged to another room. There my hood was removed and I saw an American who was in civilian clothes with another Arab looking man who spoke Arabic. The American gestured me to sit on a chair. I requested my hands to be untied. The Arab man responded that if I did not stop making this demand I would be slapped and thrown on the floor.

11. The American asked questions that were personal and about my relationship with the Baath party till the day I was detained. He told me that I was accused of being part of the resistance, assisting and funding the resistance.

12. I replied that I am not part of the resistance and nor am I assisting the resistance. And that nothing was found in my house when it was raided and destroyed. The Arab man then slapped me across the face. It was stinging and felt a burning sensation in my eyes and face. The interpreter said that this is just the beginning if I do not cooperate I will face worse things that no one has seen or heard about. At that time I was more concerned about my daughter and our female guest.

13. I was hooded again and asked to face the wall and remain standing. Sometime later 2 American female soldiers came and removed the hood and took photographs of me like a criminal- from my head to my feet.

14. I was not allowed to go to the toilet and no drink or food was given to me. Three days later an American soldier placed the hood on my head and dragged me into the open air. It was very windy and the hood flew off and I saw the rest of my family. I was very emotional as I felt that my family and our female guest were enduring this suffering due to me. My family tried to comfort me.

15. I saw an Iraqi interpreter and asked him to look upon me has his mother and to help our female guest by calling her family to inform them where she is. He obliged and took the contact phone number.

16. Two Apache helicopters came with a few American soldiers. My son, nephew and myself were taken in one helicopter and the girls were taken in another helicopter. The helicopter windows and doors were not closed and when we asked for the same to be closed as it was very cold, the soldiers said this could not be done because to avoid any attack by the resistance. Because if the resistance shot at the helicopter we would be likely hit first.

17. We where airborne for a few hours and I thought we were being taken far away and maybe Guantanamo Bay. When we landed we did not know where we were. Then our hoods were taken off and we saw American soldiers who appeared surprised to see our condition of wearing light clothing and with no shoes.

18. I also met my daughter and our female guest at the same place. The girls were placed in a cell together with me. Our hands were untied. I told them that we were not fed for 2 days and were not allowed to go to the toilet. We were in a tiny wooden cell with no windows. I asked the guard where we were and were told that it was Baghdad Airport.

19. A shortly within an hour I was hooded and my hands tied again. Two Americans in civilian attire questioned me. One was a doctor. They asked similar personal questions like in Kirkuk about my health.

20. I was then taken to an individual wooden cell with no amenities that was about 2 meters by 2 meters. Shortly later they took me again and placed a hood and tied me again. A woman soldier checked my person for any objects.

21. I was feeling dizzy and felt very weak. I asked to sit but they refused to allow me. The asked me to confess that I was part of the resistance and also who were my colleagues in the resistance.

22. I told them that my home was taken over by the Kurds militia for 2 months. The house was returned to me after I had appealed to the Kirkuk government. I told them I had no connection with the resistance.

23. One of the interrogators instructed the female soldier- a black American to take me to see what I had never seen before. I was then hooded and taken to a room that was all black in colour with some white dots. There were 2 pictures of Saddam Hussein with the eyes cut out on both sides of the wall. I was dragged by my hair and thrown from wall to wall continuously where the pictures of Saddam Hussein were many times and I lost consciousness a few times. When I regained consciousness they played loud sounds in the room that made me disorientated.

24. I was then dragged to another cell and I dropped to the floor as I was very tired. An American soldier came and asked me to stand up. I could not stand for long and when I leaned on the wall or sat the soldier would come and hit me with a stick and asked me to stand straight.

25. They threw a bag containing food that I did not recognise and some biscuits along with some water. In the night I heard music and dancing and shouting. Then my cell was opened and a large dog was brought which barked at me and I was terrified. After awhile they left and closed the cell door. When the cell door was opened I saw that this was being done to the other cells also.

26. The second day with my head hooded I was taken for questioning. I was told that if I did not confess they will put my other son in prison and then will rape my daughter. I said I did not do anything wrong and have no connection with the resistance. I am willing to swear on the Quran or Bible. The American said he is the devil himself. I was then taken to the black room by the same black American female and my clothes were removed and asked to sit on my knees and hands. Icy water was poured on me and asked to crawl from one side of the wall to the other. A plastic tube with wood inserted in the tube was used to hit me and was kicked when I dropped on the floor. until I started bleeding on my shoulders, back, arms and legs. The interrogator was very cruel and kept doing this for many hours.

27. I was then taken to my cell and asked to stand straight again. When I leaned on the wall I would be beaten. My wounds were not attended to by the soldiers. I cried for the interpreter by hitting the door. The interpreter came and was sad to see my condition. He asked the soldiers why I could not rest and they said it was part of my punishment.

28. I was taken to the black room where my hands were tied and my hair was grabbed and pulled tightly by the same female soldier. I could not take the pain and asked God to take me. In the process my hands became free and hit the soldier’s face in the struggle. The soldier was very angry and smashed my entire body into the wall. Another soldier came to the room and asked I be taken back to my cell.

29. I was left in the cell for 2 days without any interrogation. On the third day I was taken and hooded and when my hood was removed I saw my daughter. Her hair was cut short. We were asked to confess again. I felt for my daughter who was a student in the university and should not be facing this. I wanted to just agree to anything the Americans wanted me to say to release my daughter. But my daughter gave me strength and said not to do so.

30. They put hoods on our heads and I heard a bullet shot. I was told my daughter was shot dead. I lost my mind and began to shout and felt totally helpless. I was taken back to the cell.

31. Later in the same day I was taken to the toilet and I saw my daughter in the toilet and I felt great relief.

32. Next I was taken to the black room and my nephew was there naked and I was in my under wear. They said they would beat us until we confess. A black American man was beating my nephew and the black American female was beating me with the tube and kicking me. Loud sound was played and we were beaten by using plastic chairs till the chairs broke. Part of the broken plastic chair pieces got embedded in my feet. This beating went on for possibly some hours. They brought a machine and said the machine will be used to harm us. And then after frightening us they laughed and asked me to clean the room. My nephew said he will clean it. They continued to beat my nephew on his private parts. My nephew was kept naked and later he was taken to Abu Gharib in the same condition.

33. The Iraqi interpreter informed me the next day my female guest was released. I was taken to another cell and was informed my daughter was released and passed the prayer beads which they said she left for me. I was happy. But later I found out it was a lie.

34. I was taken away the next day in an Apache helicopter. I asked for assistance for my injuries but was refused. I was taken back to Kirkuk. There I was taken to a house. I was chained at my feet and hand.

35. Next day proper good food was served and I took a piece of bread but the chief interrogator said stop and said where are the resistance fighters. I dropped the bread and said I do not know any resistance fighters. I was slapped and hands tied at the back and put into a pick up truck and taken to a large house which was converted to a prison. People there where my friends and colleagues who recognised me and offered some food by tossing it to my cell.

36. After 3 days I was taken by Apache helicopter back to Baghdad Airport prison and told that my son and nephew were released. Later I found out this was a lie. I was getting a fever caused by my wounds especially the plastic piece embedded in my feet. A doctor came and said I needed surgery, which was done next day. The surgery was done without anaesthetic and the plastic was just pulled out of my feet. It was very painful.

37. Two days later I was taken to Abu Gharib by pick up truck. In the prison there were a lot of prisoners. I was given a wrist band with a number. I would be called by this number -157574 and no longer by my name. A hood was put on my head and entered a room and was examined by a doctor who said I was seriously injured and need urgent treatment. But the interrogators refused to treat me.

38. In the cell I was given some medicine. No follow up medicine was given. Food was very bad and the cell was tiny-about 2 by 2 meters. In front of my cell was the bath where men where tortured with cold showers and threatened with dogs.

39. I was not given proper clothing and nothing for my feet. I was asked to join them with promises of better food. They would release me if I cooperate. I said I do not know anything about the resistance.

40. During winter cold water was poured in the cell to make the cell very cold. All this aggravated my injuries.

41. When news of Abu Gharib reached the world outside and prisoners begun to be released. I was in Abu Gharib for almost 6 months. And about 20 days in Kirkuk and Baghdad Airport.

42. The members of the press came one day to see Abu Gharib prison and we raised our voices and the press heard us and realised that there were women in the prison. The press was surprised that women were there when officially there were not supposed to be there. We were later not given proper food because we had alerted the press.

43. In Abu Ghraib there was a department for prisoners to complain called the CID. I lodged a complaint about my ill treatment and situation. Unknown to me my sister also had lodged a complaint about my detention. Shortly after that an American committee came and interviewed me. I told them all that I have stated here. The committee acknowledged that I am a war victim.

44. About one month later I was released on 22 June 2004. I attach herewith the release letter from Abu Gharib marked as Exhibit J-1. I also attach my ICRC letter confirming my detention and marked Exhibit J-2.

45. Till todate I endure physical suffering due to my beatings and conditions in which I was detained. I am unable to move my left leg freely and cannot support me on its own. My left arm is also affected in that I am unable to use it like I used to and I suffer aches. I am also unable to wear shoes that cover my feet due to my injuries. I cannot endure cold climate or very cold air conditioning. My injuries to my lower back needs further treatment but I am unable to afford the cost of the surgery.

46. I am one of the many who have suffered as war victims. I have seen much suffering. Women have suffered tremendously and many have been raped.

And I make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing the same to be true and by virtue of the provisions of the Statutory Declaration Act 1960.

Subscribed and solemnly declared by the above named JAMEELAH ABBAS HAMEEDI on October 2009 at Kuala Lumpur through the Interpretation of SHAIMA F. HUSSEIN with the said been first affirmed that she had truly, distinctly and audibly translated the contents of this Statutory Declaration to the deponent and that she would truly and faithfully interpret the affirmation about to be administered unto the said JAMEELAH ABBAS HAMEEDI.

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