Saturday, February 2, 2013

A Conversation with David Remes: Lawyer of Yemeni Guantanamo Detainees


The subject of Guantanamo Bay is revived every time a prisoner dies. When the outcries lead to nothing, the subject is then unheard of. The last death in Guantanamo was that of Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif on September 08, 2012. Adnan, like many other Yemeni detainees, had no charges pressed against him. 

This week Yemeniaty meets with David Remes, a lawyer who defends these detainees pro bono. He shares with us letters handwritten by Adnan Abdul Latif. 




Adnan used to write poetry about his experience in Guantanamo. 
The following is a letter Adnan Latif wrote to his lawyer on December 26, 2010: 
David Remes,Do whatever you wish to do, the issue is over.I am happy to express from this darkness and draw a true picture of the condition in which I exist. I am moving towards a dark cave and a dark life in the shadow of a dark prison. This is a prison that does not know humanity, and does not know [anything] except the language of power, oppression and humiliation for whoever enters it. It does not differentiate between a criminal and the innocent, and between the right of the sick or the elderly who is weak and is unable to bear and a man who is still bearing all this from the prison administration that is evil in mercy.Hardship is the only language that is used here. Anybody who is able to die will be able to achieve happiness for himself, he has no other hope except that. The requirement is to announce the end, and challenge the self love for life and the soul that insists to end it all and leave this life which is no longer anymore called a life, instead it itself has become death and renewable torture. Ending it is a mercy and happiness for this soul.I will not allow any more of this and I will end it. I will send [move] it to a world that is much better than this world. There, the real life will live again that will be filled with complete happiness and be rid of all harassments. There, the environment will clear up, things will calm down and you will be able to relax and you will not see the world of evil people.I am in need of a person who blindfolds his eyes from me [looks the other way] and leaves me in my freedom so that I can choose my end. With all my pains, I say goodbye to you and the cry of death should be enough for you.A world power failed to safeguard peace and human rights and from saving me. I will do whatever I am able to do to rid myself of the imposed death on me at any moment of this prison.156

Friday 5/28/2010
To Attorneys David Remes and Marc Falkoff,
 
Here I am drowning in my blood and you are still looking for justice and seeking
hearings. Meanwhile they are leading me to death.
Everything has a price except human life. It became cheap. In their view, life became
less than refuse to be thrown in a garbage can. I am being pushed towards death every
moment. The way they deal with me proves to me that they want to get rid of me but in a way that they cannot be accused of causing it.
 
I don’t think anyone believes me but this is the truth to be found by people who
investigate what is happening to me especially these days. I have been isolated in Alpha
block, camp five, in a cell that resembles a lion’s cage. It has been made especially for me in this way. I am also without the Quran because of several mishandling of it. I was also deprived of praying several times. (My prayers are more important than my life.) They entered my cell during prayer for no reason.
 
I was hurt badly by the IRF teams. Imagine that one night, from sunset until six in the
morning, they entered my cell fifteen times. During those times, they tied me to a
stretcher and carried me to the clinic in camp five then returned me back to my cell.
They repeated that fifteen times until I lost my mind; they broke my bones and made me bleed. This also happened on the second day when they entered my cell ten times hitting my head against the wall and dragging me on the floor and leaving me there in the middle of the cell which was full of water, urine and feces. I was left in this dirty mixture all day with my hands tied firmly behind my back.
 
Furthermore, and to make you believe that they want me to die and to kill me; they
prevented me from having anything that can help me live normally. They don’t give me
books, a blanket, soap, medical supplies that I need for my hearing, eye glasses, tooth
paste, medical shoes or a neck pillow. Instead they give me contraband items like a
spoon to hurt myself with it right after all the pressure they exerted on me as I
mentioned in the beginning of this letter. They even gave me a big pair of scissors. It was given to me by the person responsible for camp five. This made me ask for the police. A Chief in the Navy who is specialized in investigating such incidents was called. It is your duty towards me to follow up on the results of this investigation.
A day or two later, they threw some coins after an occurrence of pressure on me. This
made me swallow the coins along with other things. This caused complete blockage of
my throat and death was a step away. I was taken outside the camp to a hospital where
they operated on me for two hours. But instead of extracting the items, or making a
small opening in my throat to get them out, they pushed them down to my stomach. I
was unconscious for five hours after the operation. When I woke up, I was unable to
speak because of what they did in my throat. The items stayed in my stomach hurting
me; these things might lead to my death. I asked them to contact you by phone by they
didn’t approve it.
 
Here I am in the big hospital of the camp where death is certain. They insist, while I am
in this condition, on looking at my private parts and then letting me urinate and
defecate in my bed while my hands and legs are bound. I am not allowed to go to the
bathroom and not allowed to pray. So, no need for courts or justice. Real justice for me
is to die instead of being tortured. All what happened and what I have mentioned is in
their daily reports and their computers. After the surgery, they stopped feeding me or
letting me eat by orders from the surgeon.
It seems that I might have to send you my body parts and flesh to make you believe me
and to believe to what degree of misery I have reached. I am happy to die just to get
away from a non-extinguishable fire and no-end torture.
Marc and David: In the end, I am a human being.
Adnan Farhan Abdulatif Al-Yemeni
Friday 5/28/2010
Blessed is he who can rescue a human being from his ordeal.
If you could, use this letter and the previous one
and give the judge copies and then
bring me a copy when you come to visit me







[To watch Adnan's burial, watch Laura Poitras' video in the New York Times website or Click here]
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