Aug. 5, 2005 – With the release of a report detailing the plight of two men taken prisoner in the so-called "war on terror," the worldâ€™s largest humanitarian organization is calling on the United States to end rendition -- the practice of transferring prisoners to other nations for interrogation -- and to release the names and locations of all people "disappeared" by the US and allies.
Wednesday night, Amnesty International released a report documenting claims by two Yemeni men that they were detained and tortured at a series of secret prisons in Jordan and Iraq before being transferred to Yemen, where they remain imprisoned.
The two, Muhammad Faraj Bashmilah and Nasser Salim â€™Ali, told Amnesty that Jordanian security officers held and tortured them before they were transferred into US custody. They recount being regularly beaten, threatened with sexual assault and verbally abused.
Once handed over to US authorities, American captors held each in solitary confinement, often in shackles or other restraints, they told Amnesty. The group charges that the US violated international law by holding the two for a year and half without ever charging them, providing legal aid or notifying humanitarian organizations or the prisonersâ€™ family and friends.
The men allege that the Jordanian agents took them captive in 2003 â€“ Salim â€™Ali in Indonesia on August 19, and Bashmilah on October 19 in Jordan. After being held by Americans for over 18 months, they were transferred to Yemen and jailed at the request of the US, Amnesty said. Many of the details of who held Bashmilah and Salim â€™Ali remains murky, even to them, because many captors wore masks and the travel and transfers took place in darkened conditions, according to their statements.
US authorities have defended the conditions detainees are held under and have repeatedly denied the existence of secret prison camps. Officially, the US military claims it does not participate in rendition, but the CIA has admitted to the practice and engaged in it for years.
Amnesty says it does not know where the men were held, but, according to their statements, there was not enough air travel time for Bashmalih and Salim â€™Ali to have been taken to GuantÃ¡namo Bay. Both said they did not see daylight and assumed the prison was actually underground.