Stories and News No. 25: Clandestine escapes and calls Italian television!
Here is the transcription of the phone call:
My name is...
No, I don’t tell you my name. After all, it doesn’t matter to you…
I am an illegal immigrant, for you I am just an illegal immigrant.
I haven’t your citizenship and your law says that I have no right to put my feet on your country.
I have just the licence to stay here, in this CPT (Centro di Permanenza Temporanea), this Temporary Residency Centre, where illegal people are collected before to be deported.
Indeed, they are now called CIE, Centre for Identification and Expulsion.
Left or Right style, the substance doesn’t change.
I have not much time; they will soon notice that I have stolen a mobile phone to a guard. He was distracted watching the Big Brother. Fortunately the TV transmits this boring shit.
So, this is my request: could I remain here? Please, don’t let me out!
Here I live in a kind of container. I'm not complaining. Containers are what Abruzzo quake’s people dream as replacing of the tents.
The hygienic conditions are poor, the food date is expired and bed linen is dirty, but in my country I risk a certain death. I am here seeking asylum, because my government persecuted me for my political views, but I share my room with former prisoners.
I have no objection on this too, because I know that your Parliament members sit near persons already condemned. I understand this is normal in Italy.
The medical care is inadequate, but fortunately I have good health. If I were sick outside, I would be deported. Here the doctors cannot accuse me. I am already behind bars.
Here I don’t risk to be burned alive because I sleep on a bench.
Here people cannot stop me because I have an old car and hit me, depriving me of an eye.
Here I don’t need to spend the nights praying the police to do the DNA examination and prove my innocence.
Here I cannot delude myself pretending to be considered first and foremost as a human being, before than a clandestine, a foreigner, a different one.
Here it’s more secure.
From here I cannot get out, but mostly no one can enter...
Well, I hope so.
From The Telegraph, 15 April 2009: A Guantanamo inmate captured in Afghanistan at the age of 14 has become the first to give an interview from inside the camp, claiming he was beaten by his jailors.
Mohammed al-Gharani, who has spent seven years in the camp, said that he had been hit with batons until his teeth broke and tear-gassed after refusing to leave his cell. The mistreatment started 20 days before Barack Obama became the American president, he said.
"Since then I've been subjected to it almost every day," he said. "Since Obama took charge he has not shown us that anything will change."
Mr Guarani, whose family is from Chad but who grew up in Saudi Arabia, is one of a number of Guantanamo prisoners whose release has been ordered by an American judge. Evidence that he had fought with al-Qaeda in Afghanistan was found to be "unreliable".
Such prisoners have been allowed to make phone calls to members of their families, but Mr Guarani spoke to a former Guantanamo inmate who works for al-Jazeera, the international Arabic television channel, instead.
Mr Guarani said he had refused to leave his cell because he "not been granted his rights", such as to interact with other inmates and eat "normal food".
A group of six soldiers wearing protective gear and helmets came into the cell, he said.
"They had a thick rubber or plastic baton they beat me with," he said.
"They emptied out about two canisters of tear gas on me.
"After I stopped talking, and tears were flowing from my eyes, I could hardly see or breathe.
"They then beat me again to the ground. One of them held my head and beat it against the ground. I started screaming to his senior 'See what he's doing, see what he's doing' [but] his senior started laughing and said 'He's doing his job'.
"He broke one of my front teeth. Of course they didn't film the blood, they filmed my back so it doesn't show."
Journalists who visit the Guantanamo Bay facility in Cuba have to sign a document agreeing not to speak to the prisoners.
The camp's closure was ordered by Mr Obama immediately after he took office, but there remains uncertainty about what will happen to its inmates.
Mr Guarani was ordered to be freed a week beforehand at a hearing in front of a district judge in Washington. He is likely to return either to Chad or to Saudi Arabia.
Judge Richard Leon said that the charges he faced, that he had stayed at an al-Qaeda guest house in Afghanistan, fought in the battle for Tora Bora in late 2001, and served as a courier for senior al-Qaeda leaders, were a "mosaic of allegations" from other captives whose reliability was in doubt.
He is currently being held in Camp Iguana, a transitional camp for those whose release has been ordered where they are given greater privileges, including the telephone calls.
Amnesty International says that at least four Guantanamo captives were under 18 when they were captured, and some were as young as 13.
It alleges that Mr Guarani, who was captured while praying in a mosque by Pakistani police before being handed over to American forces, was repeatedly beaten before becoming one of the camp’s first inmates in early 2002.
A spokesman for the camp, Lt Cmdr Brook DeWalt, told the Miami Herald newspaper there was “no evidence to substantiate these claims and all credible allegations are fully investigated”.
He said that Mr Guarani had called a “pre-vetted number” but that it had been answered by the al-Jazeera journalist, Sami al-Hajj, rather than his relative, believed to be an uncle.
Stories and News: “invented” Stories, fruit of my imagination, inspired by “true” media News.