Below I will post the whole story of my friend Khalid Jarrar, and his experiences whilst being held illegally under suspicion of "viewing terrorist websites" - the comments' section on Raed In The Middle
In my words, here is the story- and its implications.
Khalid went to University, he is a studying (almost finished) engineer. He was there to pay fee's (I did this same event here in perth, last week @ Curtin University, fortunately my experience was much less dramatic). He filled out the appropriate paper work and was told he must wait for one of the staff members who was currently in a meeting, they would be ready to sign his papers in 1 1/2 hrs.
So, as everyone does to kill time, Khalid went to the CAFE to get a bite to eat. After 15 minutes or so he was bored, he decided there must be something better to do and thought "what would I do to kill time normally?", evidently, being a blogger, the answer was "THE INTERNET!".
So he went to the internet cafe at his Uni (which he had not used since the invasion), and did the usual round of blog-reading, which is much similar to my order- raedinthemiddle, riverbendblog, astarfrommosul, liminal, etc etc etc...
Raed's site, as usual, had a full comments section and comments in english, from many people of all countries and nationalities around the globe (probably including me). Khalid soon got bored as on this day there were not many new posts (he had posted earlier in the day on his blog, so he must have been bored then too!). So he left the internet cafe.
On his way back to the administration, (shortly after leaving the internet Cafe'), he was approached by an old man who asked him "how can I help you?" confused, Khalid replied with "how may I help you?". There was a very brief series of questions - who, where, why and what are you doing? where is your ID card?
Khalid told him that he was on his way to pay @ the administration and had been killing time @ the internet Cafe. The security man escorted him to administration where his mobile phone and ID card were left (standard procedure at Khalid's Uni).
On arriving he found that the box his ID and Mobile Phone was left in had been "mistakenly locked", minutes later a man came in saying "Where is the detained person?". The detained person, apparently, was Khalid. They pulled up the records of what he had been reading, on Raed's blog. The security didn't know english, and accused him of being a terrorist, showing the comments section from Raed's blog as 'proof'.
He was made to run, bag over head, handcuffed tightly, to a police van that he was forcibly made to enter. He was taken to a building he knew to be 'expensive', because
of the marble floor (the only thing he could see since his head was covered).
And so the story goes. He was kept in jail, with others who had been tortured, forced to sign false confessions, had fingernails ripped off, acid treatments, held upside down whilst under interrogation.... There is much more horrid methods that you need not hear... The 'interrogators' asked him to “Tell us the name of the other members of your group, and where you get your fund from”.
A stupid question. Khalid is no terrorist, has no terrorist connections and over all promotes non-violence, peace, respect and religion. He was asked also silly questions like "Why do you have a beard", which he was not allowed to fully answer before being hit over the head, and "Have you ever had sex", to which he replied no (he may be charged with adultery or something ridiculous if he said Yes), and was teased and told that he "must like boys instead".
The men who interrogated Khalid are NOT QUALIFIED for their job, they are completely under-trained and are UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF THE AMERICAN CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, which has its Baghdad headquaters in the 8th story of the building in which he, and other prisoners of the Mukhabarat were kept.
It was around this time he was sent to a cell, where other accused 'terrorists' and criminals were also kept, 35 of them in a 12x12 room. They had realised they were directly in custody of the Iraqi Mukhabarat, and thanked god that Khalid had not been sent to a police station or national guard unit first, where he would probably have succumbed to the same treatment of some of the prisoners he was sharing cell with.. That is, BRUTAL torture methods to try and FORCE false confessions out of them.
They spent much time praying and thanking god they were allived, reading the Quran and joking about the silly accusations placed against them. They talked alot about each others stories and lifes, and kept each other's hope alive. Khalid was very fortunate, his family had connections, which helped accellerate the process of having him face a judge.
On Thursday the 14th of July, Khalid managed to find an 'illegal' way to contact his family. (only god knows how). This made him feel very relieved, by this time his dad had already contacted the National Guard, the US occupying forces in Baghdad, Every morgue & hospital in baghdad and even many known insurgent groups to try and find his son. So they were very relieved to know he was alive.
It was this day that I viewed Raed's website and called the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. In the following two weeks, the majority of the worlds media and hundreds if not thousands of government officials and embassies world-wide were contacted in an attempt to ensure Khalid got a fair-trial and was free'd, because every person who knows him also knows his innocence. More on this can be found further down on my blog, or on http://giveusourkhalidback.blogspot.com/ and on http://iraqblogcount.blogspot.com/ and many other blogs around the world.
And when the day finally came that Khalid must face a judge, on Wednesday the following week, he was taken, cuffed hands & feet, with a big chain connecting his cuffed hands to his body, to face a man sitting with computer, mobile phone and a copy of the comments section from Raed in the Middle. The judge asked if Khalid knew what these websites and comments were, to which Khalid replied that it was from a website he was reading, that he had not commented on, and which was free'ly available to anyone in the world to comment on.
The judge asked if it was like chatting, Khalid replied that it was similar, but to him much more like TV, if you don't like what you read you can just change to another site. There is no membership, he had not commented, and was not in any way responsible for or related to the contents of the comments on that website.
The judge knew a little about computers, and understood this. Realising that Khalid was more than likely innocent the judge told Khalid (who's lawyer that was provided by the Mukhabarat had not said a word the entire time, only signed two peices of paper declaring he was Khalid's lawyer), that he would take the Arabic translation of this comments section home, and read them that night and inform Khalid of his decision the next day.
Evidently Khalid was released on saturday, but not until being forced to sign papers declaring he would not tell the families of the arrested people he had met that they are arrested, and that he wouldn’t tell anyone about anything that happened whilst he was arrested or tell them what he had seen inside the jail, and that he would report any case of breaking the law that he knew about to the authorities, and would not visit anything considered to be a 'terrorist website'. (I wonder, is this considered a terrorist webiste? Because I am against occupation and write in English?).
Of course, after leaving the Mukhabarat Khalid mistakenly forgot what he had signed and decided to tell the families of his new friends who had been jailed wrongly, and to write about what had happened to him on his blog, and to visit whatever website he so wished whenever he so wished. GOOD FOR HIM. I SAY, GO FOR IT.
Khalid knows that the world was behind him, he could feel the hope of our prayers entering him inside the jail, and god only knows what would have happened to him if we had not prayed. The stories of his friends can be found on Khalid's full post, which is listed below on this blog, and also on Khalid's website: (http://secretsinbaghdad.blogspot.com/
This post will be being forwarded to the media, I want this story in the local paper. I want my friends to know, I want the Australian Government to know what its troops are being labelled as a part of, I want the Australian Public to know what is happening our friends in Iraq, as a result of the occupation our government so adamately supports. Do not underestimate my conviction to getting this in the publics face, if the Media will not help, then I will personally walk the streets of the suburbs and the cities handing out his story and telling people.
Accountability should lie on the shoulders of those who trained the people who arrested Khalid' and others, on the shoulders of interrogaters, and of the leaders who allow such tactics and send troops to this illegal occupation without ensuring their training is adequate for the job of training others to detain and interrogate others fairly and effectively.
The US has not trained the Iraqi Secret Police, National Guard, or Police Recruits efficiently and should be held accountable. The rest of the "coalition of the willing" should also accept responsibility for their part in this quagmire.
relieved, angry and inspired