World News

Guantanamo Victims Point Fingers: Israel Accused of Copying US Torture Tactics

Former Guantanamo detainee Asadullah Haroon, reflecting on images of Palestinians held in Israeli prisons, recalls his own harrowing experiences of abuse and torture in US detention centers. Haroon, who successfully sued the US government for unlawful imprisonment in 2021, spent 16 years in Guantanamo Bay following his arrest in 2007. He asserts that the treatment of Palestinians in Israeli prisons mirrors what he endured.

Describing his ordeal, Haroon vividly recalls being subjected to physical and mental torture, including beatings and sleep deprivation. He mentions that many detainees, himself included, were attacked by dogs and received inadequate medical care. Haroon emphasizes that while physical torture was severe, the psychological torment was equally agonizing. He draws parallels between the suffering of Palestinian prisoners and those in Guantanamo, Bagram, and Abu Ghraib, highlighting systemic abuses.

Reports from the Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs in Gaza indicate that 54 Palestinians have died in Israeli jails since October, during Israel’s military operations in Gaza. The United Nations Human Rights Office in Palestine has received numerous reports of mass arrests, prisoner abuse, and forced disappearances. These accounts, shared widely on social media and with aid agencies, depict horrific conditions faced by Palestinians detained without trial.

Recent revelations published by Haaretz detail the severe mistreatment of Palestinian prisoners, including beatings, attacks by dogs, and other forms of humiliation. The abuses documented bear striking similarities to the infamous treatment of Iraqi and Afghan prisoners by US forces at facilities like Abu Ghraib, where detainees were subjected to degrading treatment and abuse, often captured in shocking photographs.

Human rights organizations, including the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI), have called for urgent action from the United Nations to end the systematic abuse of Palestinian detainees. They describe a pattern of violence and torture across seven Israeli prisons and detention facilities, exacerbated since the recent conflict began. The legal framework of administrative detention in Israel allows for prolonged imprisonment without charge based on undisclosed evidence, denying detainees basic legal rights.

Moazzam Begg, a former Guantanamo detainee and human rights advocate, echoes these concerns, noting parallels between his own experiences in US custody and the plight of Palestinian prisoners. Begg emphasizes the persistence of abusive practices, including stripping prisoners naked and subjecting them to cruel treatment. He underscores the need for international accountability and justice, pointing out the repeated violations of human rights laws and UN resolutions amid ongoing conflict and humanitarian crises.

Despite calls for investigations and accountability from rights groups and legal experts, there remains skepticism about meaningful change. Begg expresses doubt that international law and human rights norms will be upheld in the face of ongoing violations and geopolitical challenges. The plight of Palestinian prisoners, marked by systemic abuse and denial of rights, continues to draw international condemnation and calls for urgent intervention to ensure justice and respect for human dignity.

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