IRAQ: A testimony of torture and a second son


July 11, 2003

IRAQ: A testimony of torture and a second son

by Sheila Provencher

He has two sons now.

Mr. Najib is 59 years old. On May 15, 2003, the then-governor of Kerbala
sent him on a business trip. When he returned, U.S. intelligence officers
were waiting. Mr. Najib does not know why the Iraqi governor wanted to get
rid of him. Perhaps because he had criticized local corruption.
Regardless, the U.S. soldiers imprisoned him without charges.

Mr. Najib held back tears as he told us about his first night at the at
Kerbala University military base. "The soldiers
. . . beat me and spit in my face. When I asked for water, they poured it
over my head." He hesitated, apologized for what he was about to say, and
then told how one soldier opened his own pants, put his penis in Mr. Najib's
mouth, and said, "Now you can drink!" They stretched Mr. Najib face-down on
the ground and danced around him, yelling obscenities and shouting,
"Tomorrow, Guantanamo!"

That first night was the beginning of a nine-month agony in and out of
different prison camps, hospitals, and military bases.

Mr. Najib suffered a heart attack and spent forty days under guard in a
public hospital. The U.S. detention officers then sent him to a military
hospital in Baghdad, and then to the detention center at the airport where
he again suffered beatings and verbal abuse, then finally to Abu Ghraib
prison. One morning just after midnight, he suffered a stroke and
temporarily lost the use of the left side of his body. Another heart attack

Here, the story changes. Mr. Najib--father of one twenty-two-year old son
named Ahmed who had pled with soldiers to release his ailing father-- met
his other son.

"There was a doctor there, a soldier from the U.S. He was so noble
and so kind. He was crying when he heard about my story. When I saw
him, I saw my son. He hugged me, and his tears fell on my cheek . . . Dr.
Jasy would sneak me cigarettes and call me 'my father Najib.'"

Meanwhile, human rights organizations
and CBS news learned of Mr. Najib's story and pressured Coalition
authorities to release him. Interrogators at Abu Ghraib admitted that they
had no incriminating evidence. On December 28th at 1:00am, Mr. Najib awoke
to find one of his tent-mates overjoyed because of his own release. "You
are going home too!" the prisoner cried.

At this point in his story, Mr. Najib's face glowed. He waved his arms to
describe what happened next. "All of a sudden the door burst open, and Dr.
Jasy and others came in singing, 'Happy
Biiiiirthday Baba Najib! You're goooooing home!'"

Hours later as we rode home from Kerbala to Baghdad, our translator
said, "It is as if the terrible weight of all that suffering is somehow
balanced by his great love for the young doctor."

[To read Mr. Najib's entire testimony see the CPT Iraq page at]