Saturday, October 07, 2006

Gitmo Guards Boast About Beating Detainees

Guards at Guantanamo Bay boasted about their beatings of detainees to a visiting Marine at Gitmo last month:

The Pentagon said Friday that it will investigate a Marine's sworn statement that guards at Guantanamo Bay bragged about beating detainees and described it as a common practice.

The Marine, a paralegal who was at the U.S. Navy station in Cuba last month, alleges that several guards she talked to at the base club said they routinely hit detainees.

"From the whole conversation, I understood that striking detainees was a common practice," the sergeant wrote. "Everyone in the group laughed at the others' stories of beating detainees."

The woman's name was blacked out of a copy of a two-page affidavit provided to The Associated Press by a civilian defense attorney working with Lt. Col. Colby Vokey, the Marine Corps' defense coordinator for the Western United States and based at Camp Pendleton.
The Marine said in the sworn statement that she has been working at Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton in Southern California on a Guantanamo-related case, and was in Guantanamo from Sept. 20-27.

She said some Marines had invited her to the base club Sept. 23. She didn't see them but a group of at least 15 sailors invited her to join them. She said she spoke with the sailors for about an hour, during which she had one drink, and that the sailors did not appear drunk.

A 19-year-old sailor referred to only as Bo "told the other guards and me about him beating different detainees being held in the prison," the statement said.

"One such story Bo told involved him taking a detainee by the head and hitting the detainee's head into the cell door. Bo said that his actions were known by others," the statement said. The sailor said he was never punished.

Other guards "also told their own stories of abuse towards the detainees" that included hitting them, denying them water and "removing privileges for no reason."

"About 5 others in the group admitted hitting detainees" and that included "punching in the face," the affidavit said.

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