Is the US military torturing Iraqis with electricity?
Dahr Jamail, Electronic Iraq
8 January 2004
7 January 2003 -- Sadiq Zoman Abrahim, 55 years old,
was detained this past August in Kirkuk by US Soldiers
during a home raid which produced no weapons. He was
taken to the police office in Kirkuk, questioned by
the Americans there, then transferred to Kirkuk
Airport Detention Center.
It was from this detention center he was transferred
to Tikrit Airport Detention Center. While in this
detention center Mr. Abrahim managed to find a man who
was about to be released, and have him pass on to his
family information about where he was.
It was from this place that the Americans transferred
him, comatose, to the hospital in Tikrit.
Acting on this information the family searched the
hospital, but was unable to find him. While there,
hospital staff (who wish to remain anonymous) informed
them they had someone in a coma by the name of Abrahim
Sadiq Zoman, who was dropped off two days prior by the
According to staff at the hospital, the only
information provided by the Americans was the
incorrect name and a medical report which said Mr.
Abrahim had suffered a heart attack. They provided no
information as to where he had been picked up, no
address and no other personal information.
It is documented by both the hospital and Iraqi Red
Crescent in Tikrit (who took the photos of Mr.
Abrahim), that the Americans dropped the comatose man
off with the aforementioned information. Before his
family had found him, the Iraqi Red Crescent had
posted photos of Mr. Abrahim on buses leaving Tikrit
in hopes of someone recognizing him, as noone in the
city knew who he was.
In the photos taken by the Red Crescent, Mr. Abrahim
appears with long hair and an unshaven, scruffy face.
The staff at the hospital shaved him, and cleaned up
his ragged appearance.
The doctors at the hospital in Tikrit, after
performing diagnostic tests, informed the family that
Mr. Abrahim had suffered massive head trauma,
electrocution, and other bruises on his arms. An EKG
proved that his heart was functioning perfectly. The
family was told that he was in an unrecoverable state
and would be in a coma for the rest of his life from
the obvious trauma suffered.
The family decided to take him to Haitha, where CT and
CAT scans proved the man was in a hopeless condition.
In despair, the family then took Mr. Abrahim to
Baghdad, where the same tests verified his vegetative
state as being permanent.
Now, today, three months later Mr. Abrahim lies
dormant, his eyes staring blankly at the ceiling,
blinking slowly from time to time, yet completely
unresponsive to any stimuli.
This horrible situation raises many questions.
If the Americans knew who he was and where he was when
they detained him, why did they fail to provide this
information to the hospital when Mr. Abrahim was
Why did the Americans fail to notify the hospital of
Mr. Abrahim having an accident if there had been one?
How do you explain the massive head trauma, the burns
on the bottoms of his feet caused by electrocution and
bruises on his arms, if he had only suffered a heart
attack as the medical report provided by the Americans
According the Coalition Joint Task Force 7 Coalition
Press Information Center, in a press release dated
June 30, 2003,
"The recent stories of Coalition forces torturing
Iraqi detainees are false. It is not Coalition policy
to violate the human rights of Iraqi detainees, held
US Army Col. Marc Warren, Coalition forces' top Judge
"U.S. Forces scrupulously adhere to the rule of law in
the conduct of military operations. It is the
obligation of every soldier to adhere to the law of
war, which includes respect for human rights."
The family saw Mr. Abrahim in perfect health upon
being detained by the Americans. He was in their
custody the entire time until dropped off at the
hospital in Tikrit.
No firearms, bombs, or other incriminating evidence
was ever found by searches conducted in the home of
Mr. Abrahim upon his detention. His family states that
they have no idea why he was detained.
Even if the worst case scenario was true: that Mr.
Abrahim was an active member of the resistance and/or
a high ranking Ba'ath Party member, does this justify
being tortured by electrical shock and being
bludgeoned into a coma?
Is this not a violation of international law?
Should not he have been held for a trial to determine
whether he was innocent or guilty?
Today Sadiq Zoman Abrahim lies staring at the ceiling,
eyes wide open, in Haitha, Iraq.
His family is left sitting with him, with nothing else
but unanswered questions from the CPA.
Dahr Jamail is a freelance journalist and political
activist from Anchorage, Alaska. He has come to Iraq
to bear witness and write about how the US occupation
is affecting the people of Iraq, since the media in
the US has in large part, he believes, failed to do
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