Thursday, May 27, 2010

Treatment in Guantanamo Detention Camp

A former US captain by the name of Imam Ma Yee came for the first time to Malaysia. He gave a talk detailing to the Muslims in Malaysia about his personal experience and treatment when he was arrested by the US authority. He was kept at the Guantanamo Detention Camp. He said he has witnessed with his own eyes the inhumane treatment of Muslim prisoners of war by the US soldiers inside the Guantanamo Detention Camp.

Nevertheless he said he was confident that US President Barack Obama would fulfill his promise and commitment to close the Guantanamo Detention Camp eventually. He added that the Muslims in the United States, the local US human rights organizations as well as some supporters of President Obama were in high anticipation for President Obama to close the Guantanamo Detention Camp. This was because this detention camp has seriously damaged the US world status and reputation.

Inhumane Treatment Prisoners of War by US Soldiers
At the Al-Khaadem fund raising dinner (held on 16 May in Petaling Jaya), Imam Ma Yee, also known as James J. Yee, has given a speech titled 'Guantanamo: Exploitation of Human Rights' to the Muslims in Malaysia. At this fund raising dinner, former Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad and his wife were guests of honor for this function. Also presented at this fund raising function was Al-Khaadem President Syed Hussain Yee.

In his speech, this ex-US captain said by now he was disappointed with President Obama because on 11 January 2010, President Obama has promised to close the Guantanamo Detention Camp. However, as of today, the US Government has not taken any action to fulfill President Obama's promise.

He said that there were still more than 180 detainees being kept inside the Guantanamo camp. He said that at the height of it, there were as many as over 700 detainees kept there. He also added that the condition at the Guantanamo Detention Camp at present stage has been improved a lot. He said that incidents leading to the abuse of power, corruption and ill treatment of prisoners of war by the US soldiers were not as serious and as rampant is it used to be in the past.

Aim To Obtain Intelligence From Muslim Captives
Imam Ma Yee pointed out that what made Muslims angry was that the Guantanamo Detention Camp has made use of religion as the main weapon to force the Muslim detainees to provide intelligence on terrorist activities.

'Very often, in order to force the Muslim detainees to come out with intelligence on terrorists, the US soldiers would make all kinds of profanity to desecrate Islamic faith, including trampling on the Koran and prohibit the Muslim detainees from performing their prayer rituals.

'The way the US military treated the Guantanamo Muslim captives was like treating dogs or animals without observing any basic human rights.'

Imam Ma Yee said he himself had also been innocently investigated by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agents. He was arrested and kept in the Camp for as long as 76 days under the order of US military tribunal court. Moreover, he was put in an isolated cell, handcuffed in both hands and legs. In addition, his eyes were blindfolded and his ears were covered. When he was detained, not only had he lost his total freedom, he has also lost the rights to see and to hear. He said he was simply cut off from the entire world.

Counseling Prisoners of War in Guantanamo Detention Camp
Imam Ma Yee believed that he has suffered such an unfair treatment by the US military because he is an ethnic Chinese and also a Muslim.

In November 2002, the then US Captain Imam Ma Yee was sent to the Guantanamo Detention Camp by the US forces with the assignment to provide religious counseling to the more than 600 Taliban prisoners of war the US soldiers had captured in the Afghanistan battlefield. His other duty was to persuade these Taliban prisoners of war to surrender.

However, in August 2003, when he made use of his vacation to go home to visit his relatives, when he was half way through Florida, he was abducted by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). He was charged with 'instigating revolt during the period when he worked in the Guantanamo Detention Camp.' He was also charged with 'fornication foreign enemies' and 'does not obey orders', among others offences.

After his release in 2005 Imam Ma Yee resigned from the US military forces. Currently, he engages in writing and in giving talks about his personal experience at the Guantanamo Detention Camp. He has been to a number of countries telling other nations about what he has gone through at the Guantanamo Detention Camp. He said the countries he had giving talks included Germany, India and Turkey among others.

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