India gave Kasab fair trial, but in Gitmo innocents are never put on trial, says Arab interpreter

India Cuba US

Razor wire is seen on the fence around Camp Delta which is part of the U.S. military prison for ‘enemy combatants’ on June 26, 2013 in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

IANS

New Delhi – An Arab interpreter who has been visiting the US’ controversial Guantanamo Bay prison, says that while India gave Ajmal Kasab, the 26/11 terrorist who was caught alive, a fair trial, in Gitmo there are innocent people “who were never put on trial, leave alone a fair trial”.

This and many other interesting details come out in the account of a visit to Gitmo by an Indian journalist, Syed Nazakat, of The Week.

Nazakat is the first Indian journalist to visit the prison. His graphic eye-witness account has been published in the latest issue of the news magazine.

Nazakat met the Arab interpreter at a small cafĂ© near the Navy Gateway Inns & Suites. The interpreter “has been visiting Gitmo since 2005. He translates conversations between Arab detainees and their lawyers. ‘In India, you even gave Ajmal Kasab [the sole terrorist caught alive during the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai] a fair trial and a chance to defend himself,’ he said. ‘[This is despite his being] captured while killing so many innocent people. In Gitmo, you will find people who are just innocent. Yet they were never put on trial, leave alone a fair trial’,” reads an excerpt.

America’s controversial Guantanamo Bay prison still has several prisoners held without trial, and several who may never be freed. They are allowed four phone calls a year, but their families are never allowed to visit them.

As many as 17 detainees are below the age of 18, and some were picked up and handed over to the CIA by Pakistan army officials and Afghan warlords for bounties. The youngest detainee is a 12-year-old Afghani, says a release.

The report reveals that prisoners, mostly al Qaida operatives, also turn abusive. They routinely throw “splashes” at the guards – a mix of faeces, urine, blood and saliva.

The magazine also carries an interview of the commander of the prison, Rear Admiral Richard Butler, who has denied the existence of any torture chambers.

Often termed America’s gulag, Gitmo is spread over 120 sq.km. and is located on leased land in Cuba, 840km off Miami. It currently has 164 detainees from 23 countries. Some of them have been in solitary confinement since 2002 and without trial. There has been global outcry over the way the US has treated Gitmo detainees.

IANS 2013-10-16 21:00:04

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