“Guantanamo Days” an American Muslim soldier tells the story of his transformation from a prisoner to a prisoner in the notorious prison

“Guantanamo Days” an American Muslim soldier tells the story of his transformation from a prisoner to a prisoner in the notorious prison 

American Muslim soldier James Yusuf described the situation inside the infamous Guantanamo Bay prison, where he worked as an imam before turning from jailer to prisoner.

James said in an interview with "Al Masia" on AJ news Mubasher, Sunday, "I was assigned to be the imam of the mosque inside the prison and to ensure that all Muslim prisoners exercise their rights to worship and practice their rituals."

And he continued, through the series “Guantanamo Days” presented by Al Jazeera Mubasher: I witnessed all the abuses that prisoners were subjected to and their experiences, and reports were submitted on behalf of those who were being tortured, which the prison leadership considered sympathy with the prisoners, which prompted them to accuse me of being a terrorist and espionage, and the punishment for these two charges was the death penalty. .

James explained to AJ news Mubasher that he is an American born in the United States of a World War II veteran father and that he has two brothers who served in the American forces.

Insulting the Qur'an
The Muslim American soldier told the evening program the forms of torture that Guantanamo soldiers were mastering in, saying, "I witnessed abuses of the Holy Qur'an in addition to the torture that prisoners were subjected to in interrogation rooms, and they demonstrated, especially when insulting the Qur'an."

"Sometimes when the guards were searching the cells, they would take the Qur'an and throw it on the ground, which angered the prisoners," he added.

He added, "In the interrogation sessions, the interrogators would throw the Qur'an on the ground or trample it and sit on it in front of the prisoner who is handcuffed as a form of torture, pressure and provocation."

"The United States of America treats prisoners in an appropriate manner and respects human rights and Islamic culture," he said, "but what was happening in Guantanamo was hostility to Islam and Muslims, as the soldiers did not respect even Muslim civilians who were teaching in prison."

Child prisoners
The jailers were torturing the prisoners until the last moments of their arrest, and the former detainee stood when the released detainees were taken in boats across Guantanamo Bay and drowned their heads in the water while the boat sailed to make them feel as if they were drowning.

The former imam at Guantanamo said that among the strangest prisoners he worked with, during his period of work between 2002 and 2003, were 3 children, one of whom was 12 years old and another 13 years old, who were held in separate cells for adults without providing others of their own.

James added that Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen who was detained at Guantanamo, was 16 years old and was being held with adult prisoners.

He explained: I had no background on how they were arrested, how they got here, nor what the charges are against them. They were young boys who were active like other children.

The guest expressed his astonishment, "I was always trying to understand how they end up at this age in this notorious prison."

Guantanamo prisoners were resisting their jailers by practicing their religious rites - according to James - and they were also on hunger strike and demonstrating in the face of abuse, until the soldiers forced them to eat by putting food tubes in their noses.

The mental health of prisoners is not taken into consideration in Guantanamo, especially in single cells, and I witnessed an incident in which a prisoner hit his head against the wall with full force out of frustration and despair.

Message to Biden
The Guantanamo prison has damaged the US's reputation for human rights, according to James, who had hoped to close it during the era of former President Barack Obama.

James Yusuf said he hopes President Joe Biden will close Guantanamo, especially since many more prisoners have been released than previous administrations have.

The American citizen renewed his belief that Guantanamo was a disaster in the field of human rights and that the United States arrested and prosecuted terrorists and brought their files to the Hague International Court, but the situation was not like that in Guantanamo, where individuals who had nothing to do with terrorism were imprisoned, according to the spokesman.

James considered that the establishment of the prison in Cuba was so as not to be subject to the law of the United States, and directed his words to Biden, saying that he was Obama's deputy when he promised to close the prison, which he can implement now while he is president, before he concluded, "I hope that this prison will be closed during his administration."

James, who was released by the US authorities in 2004 after his detention for a year, entered Guantanamo as a spiritual guide or imam, and then turned to the most prominent activists calling for its closure.

He published his book “For God and then for the Homeland” in 2005, in which he told what he lived through inside the notorious prison, after he got to know the detainees inside and made friends with them and was an eyewitness to the mistreatment of detainees.
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