Today, we have a new term to add to our ever-growing torture vocabulary list along with strappado and waterboarding. It’s a technique called “Palestinian hanging,” not because Palestinians do it, but because Palestinians are hung that way by Israelis.
Dr. Vincent Iacopino, director of research for Physicians for Human Rights, called the hyper-extension of the arms behind the back “clear and simple torture.” The European Court of Human Rights found Turkey guilty of torture in 1996 in a case of Palestinian hanging – a technique Iacopino said is used worldwide but named for its alleged use by Israel in the Palestinian territories.
I looked on B’Tselem’s torture page, but they didn’t have an illustration of a Palestinian hanging, so just imagine your arms shackled like this:
And then being hung by those shackles.
That’s what happened to Manadel al-Jamadi, the man whose picture is held by his wife and son, below.
Here’s an account of his last day:
Navy SEALs apprehended al-Jamadi as a suspect in the October 27, 2003, bombing of Red Cross offices in Baghdad that killed 12 people. His alleged role in the bombing is unclear. According to court documents and testimony, the SEALs punched, kicked and struck al-Jamadi with their rifles before handing him over to the CIA early on November 4. By 7am, al-Jamadi was dead.
This isn’t the first time Navy SEALs have been implicated in torture.
Al-Jamadi was one of the CIA’s “ghost” detainees at Abu Ghraib – prisoners being held secretly by the agency.
His death in November 2003 became public with the release of photos of Abu Ghraib guards giving a thumbs-up over his bruised and puffy-faced corpse, which had been packed in ice. One of those guards was Pvt. Charles Graner, who last month received 10 years in a military prison for abusing detainees.
Al-Jamadi died in a prison shower room during about a half-hour of questioning, before interrogators could extract any information, according to the documents, which consist of statements from Army prison guards to investigators with the military and the CIA’s Inspector General’s office.
One Army guard, Sgt. Jeffery Frost, said the prisoner’s arms were stretched behind him in a way he had never before seen. Frost told investigators he was surprised al-Jamadi’s arms “didn’t pop out of their sockets,” according to a summary of his interview.
Frost and other guards had been summoned to reposition al-Jamadi, who an interrogator said was not cooperating. As the guards released the shackles and lowered al-Jamadi, blood gushed from his mouth “as if a faucet had been turned on,” according to the interview summary.
The military pathologist who ruled the case a homicide found several broken ribs and concluded al-Jamadi died from pressure to the chest and difficulty breathing.
Dr. Michael Baden, a distinguished civilian pathologist who reviewed the autopsy for a defense attorney in the case, agreed in an interview that the position in which al-Jamadi was suspended could have contributed to his death.
I checked the Corner to see if anyone had written that this was just like a frat hazing, but no one has, yet.