Iraq/Occupied Kuwait: Testimony A4

By

A 22-year-old student arrested on 24 August following house-to house searches in the al-Rawda district of Kuwait City. He was detained for eight days in al-Rawda and al-Farwaniyya police stations, and subjected to beatings, kicking, falaqa; cigarettes were extinguished on his body and his leg was slashed with a knife.

Return to "The Accuser"

"I was arrested on 24 August. Iraqi soldiers were searching all houses in the area where I lived (al-Rawda) and arresting a number of men. It was a Friday and I was at home. They knocked on the door and when I opened it they arrested me. I was put in the back of a lorry together with others who had been rounded up. We were not allowed to talk to each other. We were taken to al-Rawda police station. I was put in a cell measuring 3 x 5 metres together with eight other detainees. We were all blindfolded and our hands and feet tied. For a while I also had a rope put around my neck, and which was tied to the ceiling. We remained in the cell for two days, during which we were beaten by guards. Groups of four or five guards would enter the cell and start hitting us with their hands, and sometimes they kicked us with their heavy army boots. They threatened us with electrical torture. I knew one of the detainees in my cell. His name is ... [name withheld by Amnesty International], a Kuwaiti aged about 24. His father was a lieutenant in the National Guard. He was beaten very badly and suffered broken legs as a result. They only gave us bread to eat.

On Sunday morning I was taken to another room. Two Iraqis, both with the rank of captain, interrogated me. One of them asked the questions and the other tortured me. I was asked to name people who were active in the resistance. When I said I did not know anyone in the resistance, they threatened that they would arrest my two younger brothers (aged 14 and 15). One of them began beating the soles of my feet with a cane, and then he forced me to walk around the room. He also extinguished cigarettes on my upper left arm and on the left side of my chest, traces of which are still apparent. He also cut my left thigh with a knife.

After that I did not return to the cell. I was put in a car (a Toyota Saloon) and driven to al-Farwaniyya police station. I was put in a room which contained torture equipment. It was mainly electrical equipment, wires and electrodes like those used to recharge car batteries but smaller in size. I was told to sit down, and I was left alone for about one hour. I did not know what was happening, but I could hear screams from nearby rooms. There was a lot of blood on the floor, particularly in the corners of the room. After one hour I was taken to the airport. A Palestinian in the Iraqi army, with the rank of lieutenant, came with us. When we arrived at the airport an Iraqi officer took me to a toilet and said to me, "This is where Kuwaitis belong". I was made to stay in the toilet for about a quarter of an hour. Everything was broken. While waiting I noticed some discarded uniforms previously worn by Kuwaiti Airways stewardesses. I could hear the sounds of people screaming even here at the airport.

I was then taken to an office, where the Palestinian lieutenant and the Iraqi officer were seated. I was asked again about whom I knew in the resistance. I refused to give any information. The Iraqi officer then put a gun to my head and said while laughing, "You are about to die". They then brought a video camera, and gave me a piece of paper which contained statements against the [Kuwaiti] government. For example, it said that the government was corrupt and that the Kuwaiti people had been oppressed until their liberation by Iraq. The told me to memorise the statement in preparation for filming. After the filming was over, they asked me to cooperate with them as an informer. I told them I could not do that if they used the film because the resistance would not trust me. They agreed not to use it and allowed me to telephone my family. My mother and brother came to the airport to collect me. The Iraqi officer and the Palestinian lieutenant came with us, and we dropped them off at al-Salmiyya police station. The Palestinian lieutenant told me to return to al-Farwaniyya police station that evening and bring him babies' milk. When I went there with the milk, I was detained for another two days. I was kept in an office, not a cell, and I was not tortured again.

After my release, I returned home. The Iraqis kept contacting me to make sure that I had not fled, and to threaten me that if I failed to cooperate with them they would arrest my family. They said they would also arrest me and take me to Fao. I managed to leave Kuwait almost three weeks after my release. At the Kuwaiti-Saudi Arabian border I was told to turn back, as no males were being allowed to leave. I gave one of the soldiers 100 Iraqi dinars and some cigarettes and he let me through."

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2005/02/iraq-occupied-kuwait-testimony-a4/303756/