Letter from United Nations Special Rapporteur re: Potential Detainee at Bagram Air Base

Summary of allegations by the Special Rapporteur of abuse of a detainee held in custody at Guantanamo Bay and Bagram Air Base in 2002-2003. The claim of abuses included: prolonged standing; kneeling; painful and awkward positions; hooding; blindfolding; sleep deprivation; and 24-hour lighting. The report also strings together several domestic U.S. police incidents where it is alleged that the use of pepper spray and Tasers was inappropriate and constituted abuse.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003
Wednesday, December 29, 2004

I •UC IlCIIl1,1l.lI
No.6413lP. 4
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Summary of allegations
The Special Rapporteur has received information according to which detainees in Bagram Air
Base, Afghanistan, have been subjected to "stress and duress" techniques during CIA interrogation. In
particular, it is alleged that prisoners have been subjected to prolonged standing or kneeling, hooding,
blindfolding with spray-painted goggles, being kept in painful or awkward positions, sleep deprivation, and 24­hour lighting. In this connection, the Special Rapporteur has received information on the following individual

7who was allegedly released from Guantanamo Bay and returned to Afghanistan in
May 2003. It is reports that he spent 40 days in the Bagram Air Base in mid 2002 before his transfer to Cuba.
According to the information received, he had been forced to stand, sit or kneel for prolonged periods. He is
believed to have knee problems as a result of this alleged treatment. It is also alleged that he was held in
handcuffs and shackles for the first week, kept in 24-hour lighting and woken by guards when trying to sleep,
interrogated six or seven times, not given enough food, not allowed to talk to or look at other detainees, and
forced to stand or kneel for hours. He is reported to have been taken to the US base in Kandahar — roughly
handled, blindfolded, with his ears covered, a black bag over his head and taped around his neck, his hands and
legs tied. It is alleged that detainees in Kandahar arc not allowed to look at the soldiers faces and when they do
so, they are forced to kneel for one hour. At Kandahar base, he was reportedly interrogated five or six times.
Sayed Abbasin is also reported to have been kept in detention in Camp Delta, Guantanamo military base. He is
alleged to have been deprived of sleep because of the alleged 24-hour illumination and because the military
guards would not allow him to cover his head with a blanket to make sleep easier. As a result, he is said to have
had problems with his eyesight since his release. It is also alleged that he was put in a punishment cell for five

vs as punishment for exercising in his cell. While being kept there, he was reportedly not allowed his outdoor
.xercise" time and not allowed to wear his cap during prayer and he was also allegedly deprived of blankets.
The Special Rapporteur has received disturbing information on the reported use by the police of
certain types of non-lethal devices with potential harmful effects in a manner that may constitute cruel, inhuman
or degrading treatment. Ln particular, the Special. Rapporteur has received information on the use of pepper
spray, which is an inflammatory agent acting on the mucous membranes, causing choking and gagging as well
as acute burning sensation in the eyes. He has also received information on the use of the so-called M-26 Tased,
reportedly described by the manufacturers as "specifically designed to stop even elite, aggressive, focused
combatants" and which allegedly employs an 18-26 Watt electrical signal to fire 50,000 volts of electricity
through the target's clothing to override the central nervous system and produce contraction of the muscle
tissue. It is reported that doctors have denounced their harmful effect and that there are already been at least
four deaths associated with this kind of electro-shock weapons. In this connection, the Special Rapporteur has
received information on the following individual cases:

an African American was allegedly pepper-sprayed and subsequently subdued by
several New York City police officers during•is arrest following an argument at a softball game on 11 August
2002. He is alleged to have been pepper-sprayed again at least two times before being plated in a patrol car. It
is reported that he had a history of asthma and experienced breathing difficulties after he was sprayed.

I a 15-year-old schoolgirl, was reportedly subdued by the police who are
alleged to have used pepper spray and a Taser electro-shock device. The incident is reported to have occurred
on 3 October 2002 after a school bus driver reportedly flagged down three police officers from the city of
Miramar in Florida to complain that students on the bus were being unruly and throwing paper darts. Police
ficera are alleged to have explained that the pepper spray and an M-26 Taser gun were applied after ti
pecarne "verbally abusive", tried to leave the scene, and struck an officer.


50 (os)
11.111111•1111111.1.11111/1a 21-year-old African American man, was arrested by officers from the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, Miami, on 19 April 2003. It is alleged that he was subdued by five officers and
•rayed once in the face with Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) pepper spray after he ran from police after being
.opped for a traffic violation. He reportedly died about an hour later in the booking area outside the police Station, aft= reportedly complaining of breathing difficulties. According to the information received, the Broward County Medical Examiner found that he had died from "intravascular sickling following physical exertion due to sickle cell trait" and that "Reactive airway disease following OC Pepper Spray administration is a contributory cause of death". This case is reportedly under investigation by the police department's Internal Affairs Division.