One of the British men released from Guantanamo Bay said through his lawyer Friday that US authorities beat him, interrogated him at gunpoint and subjected him to "inhuman conditions" during his detention. \nLouise Christian, Tarek Dergoul's attorney, said his family believed his experiences had damaged him psychologically. \nHe was among five Britons returned home from the US Navy base in Cuba and released this week. \nHe is the second of the group to publicly describe conditions at the camp, where former fellow detainee Jamal al-Harith said earlier he had suffered beatings, humiliation and interrogation for up to 12 hours at a time. Families of all the freed men, who were not charged, have said they were innocents caught up in the US war on terrorism. \nUS Secretary of State Colin Powell told a British television network it was "unlikely" abuses were taking place at Guantanamo. "Because we are Americans, we don't abuse people who are in our care," he said, according to a transcript released by ITV. \nChristian said Dergoul had begun telling her and his family about "the horrific things which happened to him during detention at Bagram (US air base in Afghanistan), Kandahar and Guantanamo Bay." He alleged "gross breaches of human rights" and demanded that the 640 detainees still in Guantanamo be freed immediately, she said. \nUS authorities say prisoners at the camp are suspected of links to Afghanistan's fallen Taliban regime or the al-Qaeda terror network. The US military repeatedly has denied that Guantanamo prisoners have been mistreated. \nDergoul described "botched medical treatment, interrogation at gunpoint, beatings and inhuman conditions" and condemned the US and British governments, Christian said. \n"Tarek finds it very difficult to talk about things and his family believe his mental health has been severely affected by the trauma he has suffered," she said. \nShe declined to give any further details and said Dergoul, 26, of east London, would not be speaking to journalists any time soon because of health problems. \nHe reportedly flew to Pakistan in 2001 to learn Arabic after giving up his job caring for the elderly and was allegedly captured in Afghanistan. His family has insisted he has no links to terrorism and said he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. \nAl-Harith told Britain's ITV network that interrogators at Guantanamo had applied intense psychological pressure, telling him that authorities in Britain would seize his family's home and all their money, turning them onto the street if he did not admit he was involved in terrorism. \n"He was obviously trying some mind game but I said `I don't believe you,'" said al-Harith, 37. \nMany detainees were given regular injections, after which "they would just sit there like in a daze and sometimes you would see them shaking," he said. \nHe said he was beaten and put in isolation because he refused injections and was sometimes forcibly given unidentified drugs. \nAl-Harith said he had never had any ties to terrorism and would seek compensation from the US government for his two years at Guantanamo. \nThe five detainees were flown back to Britain on Tuesday. Al-Harith was freed after several hours of questioning and the others were released on Wednesday. \nPowell told ITV that charges of abuse were unwarranted and that it was "not in the American tradition to treat people in that manner." \nHe said the prisoners' long detentions were justified. \n"They were picked up in very dangerous circumstances, and we had to protect ourselves by bringing these people to Guantanamo to see what they knew about terrorism and see if they were responsible for any of the kinds of things that have been happening in the world," ITV's transcript quoted him as saying. \nBritain and the United States are continuing discussions about the remaining four Britons at the camp. Britain has insisted its nationals either receive fair trials or be returned home.
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
ACADEMIC FREEDOM: One professor told her students to submit anonymized papers and not to record any online classes. Some US schools have announced similar steps Students at Oxford University specializing in the study of China are being asked to submit some papers anonymously to protect them from the possibility of retribution under the sweeping new security law introduced three months ago in Hong Kong. The anonymity ruling is to be applied in classes, and group tutorials are to be replaced by one-to-ones. Students are also to be warned that it will be viewed as a disciplinary offence if they tape classes or share them with outside groups. The Hong Kong National Security Law was imposed on June 30 by Beijing after more than a year of pro-democracy
Japan’s government yesterday urged people to seek help if they were struggling to cope, following Sunday’s death of the popular actress and Miss Sherlock star Yuko Takeuchi, 40. News of her death shocked the nation and follows other recent cases of Japanese celebrities taking their lives, with figures showing a recent rise in suicides. Takeuchi was a household name in Japan and had given birth to her second child in January. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato did not mention a particular case, but said that some people were struggling to cope during the COVID-19 pandemic. “There has been an uptick in the number
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big