Report: Torture and Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment of Prisoners at Guantanamo Bay

This report is a product of our united efforts. This report uniquely recounts the experiences of prisoners inside Guantánamo Bay prison. Other reports, for the most part, rely on the statements of released prisoners who were willing to tell their stories. Appearing in this report are the accounts of torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment drawn directly from habeas counsels’ unclassified notes. Prisoner statements were made to counsel during in-person interviews conducted at Guantánamo beginning in the fall of 2004.

(See bottom of page to view or download the ful report as a pdf)

Information provided to counsel through client interviews is presumed secret until cleared. Such information must be provided to a Department of Defense (DoD) privilege team for review. Once cleared, the information carries no restriction. All of the information reported by prisoners in this report has been cleared for publication. Some information has been taken from public sources compiled in a separate report by the law firm of Shearman and Sterling LLP.

The italicized block passages in this report are excerpts from attorney notes and summaries of prisoner accounts. In some cases, the passages are taken from documents submitted in public court filings. In most cases, the accounts are taken verbatim from attorney summaries; in a few instances, the accounts are paraphrased or combined from more than one document. To the extent possible, reported incidents have been corroborated by other public, unclassified sources, including government documents. Those corroborated accounts are also cited in this report. Prisoners’ statements of abuse generally correspond with descriptions of abuse recorded in government documents released through a Freedom of Information Act suit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, CCR, Physicians for Human Rights, and Veterans for Peace.

Sergeant Eric Saar, a former Guantánamo military intelligence linguist, corroborates specific accounts of abuse in his book Inside the Wire: A Military Intelligence Soldier’s Eyewitness Account of Life at Guantánamo. Additional corroboration can also be found in the book For God and Country: Faith and Patriotism Under Fire written by Captain James Yee, a former Muslim chaplain at Guantánamo who was falsely accused of spying for Al Qaeda and later exonerated.

Finally, given the limitations of access to the base, this report cannot provide a full accounting of the incidents of prisoner abuse at Guantánamo. Rather, by offering examples of the abuses described to attorneys and, in many cases, corroborated by independent government or other documents, this report compels the conclusion that a more detailed investigation must be conducted into the treatment of prisoners at Guantánamo.


Last modified 

January 11, 2010