7 years in Bagram cost a Pakistani his youth – and then, his life – Prism

Yusuf was only a teenager at the time of his capture. Under arrest, he suffered humiliation and abuse.

The following is the story of Hamid Yusuf, a Pakistani citizen who spent seven years in extrajudicial detention at the Parwan Detention Center in Afghanistan, popularly known as Bagram Prison, and died of cancer shortly after his release.

Yusuf and his father had an import business, bought wood in Afghanistan and sold it in Pakistan. In 2007, Yusuf was traveling through Kunar when he was arrested by Afghan police and interrogated. He claims that the police tried to pressure him to offer a bribe.

When he refused, the police accused him of being a terrorist and handed him over to the United States Army. While at Bagram, the charges against him were never communicated.

Your account is part of the Justice Project Pakistan report, Faces of the border: stories of Bagram's returnees and their families, released on September 25, 2019. It is an incisive look at the lives of 43 Pakistanis who returned in 2014 after years of imprisonment at the famous US detention center in Afghanistan.

All names have been changed to protect identity.

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Yusuf Hamid was only a teenager, aged 16, at the time of his capture in 2007. Under arrest, he suffered humiliation and [alleged] Sexual abuse The young man was subjected to brutal treatment by US officials and spent seven years in Bagram, Afghanistan.

After five months, he was sent to segregation, where he was forced to wear only his underwear, while cold air hit him in the winter. It was made to withstand lack of sleep; If Yusuf accidentally went down, the incarcerated would deliberately create a racket to wake him up, or soak him in cold water.

He also claimed that a sergeant would enter his cell and touch his genitals. Yusuf also described that she hit him and then injected him with a sedative that would make him lose consciousness. He suspected he was raped during these incidents.

“While I was in solitary confinement, an official woman from the United States touched me and undressed me regularly. On several occasions I remember being injected with something and then waking up completely naked. She made fun of me for having a small penis … "

Yusuf was repatriated from Bagram in 2014, but his freedom seemed an impossible dream. Upon his return to Pakistan, he was imprisoned again. First, he was detained for three months at the Mohmand Agency, where he reported that the political agent demanded 500,000 rupees from his family and threatened him with further imprisonment. All this time, his charges were never communicated to him.

He was later imprisoned in Haripur Central Prison, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, for not paying the amount. He was sentenced to an additional 18 months. The mental instability he experienced when he was imprisoned again was evident in Yusuf's behavior in prison.

In 2014, I met Yusuf in the high security prison guarded by the army that houses several Afghan citizens. The jail was full and loud, but Yusuf and I were able to meet in private.

When I entered, Yusuf hugged me and started crying, saying he thought no one would see him there or help him. He said his family lives far away in northern Waziristan; His father is very old and the family poor. As Yusuf's father cannot travel here, he visited him only once.

Upon leaving, Yusuf showed me around the jail like a little boy showing his toys. He was so excited to see me that he didn't want me to leave; He even went to the prison superintendent and introduced us. The superintendent told me that Yusuf was one of the best inmates who cares for other prisoners and helps staff with their work in jail.

While in Haripur prison, Yusuf was diagnosed with cancer. He began to feel pain in his left leg, in the area where he had received injections while in Bagram. He was taken for medical exams to the Peshawar Central Jail, where cancer was detected.

He was then transferred to the Ghallanai Central Prison in the Mohmand Agency, imprisoned for another 15 days, and subsequently permanently released. Yusuf came to live with his family for only a few weeks. Bagram cost him his youth and, finally, his life.

Bahadur, Yusuf's brother, described how the family realized that Yusuf was getting worse and worse. He remained ill for days, with an insignificant appetite, unable to eat. He was quiet and barely spoke. Bahadur now found his brother silent and reserved, the opposite of his happy and friendly childhood.

As Yusuf's leg pain worsened, he was admitted to Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar. There he received medication to relieve pain, but it persisted, and he was taken to another medical center in the city, Imran Hospital, for further tests. That was when the doctors decided to amputate his left leg.

However, the cancer had spread to his shoulders and more surgery was required. Doctors said that in a semi-conscious state while recovering from anesthesia after what would be his last surgery, Yusuf recited the Holy Quran. That same day, he died.

Yusuf was very close to his mother, and even today she cries all the time. She doesn't talk about anything; she just remembers Yusuf and cries later. Now he has a habit of going and sitting in all the places of the town where Yusuf used to play with his friends. She sits there for hours and cries.

Bahadur burned all of Yusuf's photos and was left alone with those of his childhood.

Source: https://www.dawn.com/news/1507653/7-years-in-bagram-cost-a-pakistani-his-youth-and-then-his-life


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