Statement on Detention Under Jordan’s General Intelligence Directorate.
Torturers Named. Threats of Retaliation by Prison Officials.
On October 1st, Amer Jubran made another statement with a more complete commentary on his case and the conditions he is now facing in prison. In this statement he named two of the GID interrogators who tortured him.
We received word on Oct. 10th that Amer is now being threatened by prison officials, who are limiting contact with his family and pushing for him to be placed in solitary confinement. We urge people to continue to write Jordan’s Minister of Justice. New sample letter here.
We are releasing Amer’s statement below, along with some further details from court papers concerning his trial:
“This case is made of two parts: one of targeting US soldiers stationed in Jordan back in 2006, and the other, of joining Hezbollah to carry out terrorist acts. As far as the part about US soldiers is concerned, how can a plot go on for 8 years without execution unless it was not true at all? Besides, there are no American troops in Jordan, as confirmed by the king himself and the Jordanian Prime Minister through their official statements published in the local media and presented to the court as evidence. Furthermore, there was a similar case that was ruled in favor of the defendants based on the same official statements. And also, there is one big question here: who is to be believed and who is lying? Is it the king, or is it some confessions extracted by force by the GID?
The GID has exaggerated this case for the following reasons, apart from its vindictiveness against me: first, they wanted to enlarge the achievement for themselves and for the officers involved, for promotional reasons; also, accordingly, to reflect maximum punishment and revenge against me in person; and thirdly, to use their false achievement to collect anti-terrorism funds from the foolish US government. No proofs were presented in this case except for the confessions made by forceful process. If this case is as serious as they claim, how come all the co-defendants have received 2-3 year sentences and I have received a 15 year sentence? Lastly, please note that I was declared innocent on the charge relating to carrying out terrorist acts and this constitutes a screaming contradiction between the verdict and the sentence.
As for the part about Hezbollah, apart from the political argument over this issue and my denial of this charge–and despite my respect and admiration for Hezbollah–here is the big fact: the Jordanian government has not classified Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. The judges denied us our requests numerous times where we have requested both in writing and verbally to make the prosecutors spell out Jordan’s official position on Hezbollah’s classification or have us get an official statement from the Prime Minister or the GID and the Ministry of Interior, or the Ministry and the Ministry of Defense. The Court ruled on this based on its opinion and not based on the legal official stance of Jordan on Hezbollah. Again, in this part, no proofs were submitted except for a false confession and a laptop–that had an encoding and decoding software–seized from the defendant number 7. Defendant number 7 had this laptop in his possession, and surprisingly he was cleared of any charges including also codefendant number 5. Which puts a question mark on, Why?
During the interrogation there were numerous sessions during which I was asked questions about friends and activists from the States. Including [list of names]. They claimed, when I asked why, that this was for their own use of information and for their friends in the States. [He provides some additional details about statements that the GID claimed were made by his co-defendants concerning people from the US.] These are total lies, made up to pressure me into cooperating […]
My dear friends, I admit that I was not a hero during the encounter with the GID. Except for refusing to be a sell-out. I was broken down by the amount of threats against my faith and my family, and the one I love. But one would ask, Why I would believe these threats? Because the GID is credible in its evil and criminal history. I, until this moment, still fear the vindictive reaction against myself and my loved ones. I have signed all documents that they have presented to me. And wrote all sorts of confessing narratives including admitting to full responsibility of an attack that was carried against the Israeli Ambassador convoy back in January 2010. Also plotting to attack the Israeli embassy in Amman. At the end, it got so funny with the confessions and the rearrangement of the confessions, that they had to rewrite them and to rearrange them–the whole full set of the confessions by all the co-defendants for over five times. And each time they changed–they made sure that it is directed toward my full responsibility. And along with these changes and amendments and total turn around of events in each different confession that they had assigned, the Prosecutor went on and made the changes accordingly in order to match and fit the confessions made by the interrogators, or before the interrogators.
The abuses and torture were carried out by a colonel whose name–you have his name in the papers. His name is Habes Rizk. He was the man in charge. And also, he is Officer Number 1 in the table list which you have. Also, there are many others. The first five witnesses presented by the prosecutor. … The first 5 of them were the actual interrogators and officers in charge of the whole show. The first witness is what you know as Officer Number 2. And he’s the one who took charge, from the moment of raiding my house, threatening me and my family inside my house, taking me and doing all sorts of torture and threats and abuse.
Last item I have, I’m kept now in a group solitary confinement with the other six co-defendants, of which 5 of them have made my life hell as they have been instructed by the GID if they were to get off the hook.
[… ] Now I will be in lock-up for perhaps some retaliatory measures to be carried out against me while in prison like perhaps by denying my rights to make phone-calls and visitation, or even by moving me to another prison where individuals who are charged with Al-Qaeda and its sisters do not take lightly people who are charged with being with Hezbollah or members of that party. And this is the least I would say.
Please note, I don’t know if you have realized in the documents which you have received that the court of military judges has said that they did not need to look even at our facts of defense or our evidence of defense and they have thrown all of that out and ruled from their own heads what was designed or predesigned before even the trial went on.”
Amer refers in his statement to a table list with officers who conducted the interrogations against him. This list of interrogation methods was provided as part of his trial testimony, but with numbers in the place of the names of officers. Since Amer has now provided the names of two of the individuals who tortured him, we are supplying the names of the actual officers in brackets from the narrative provided by Amer’s lawyers:
1. Officer 1 [Colonel Habes Rizk] threatened to “hide [the defendant] behind the sun” and expressed his racism that all the Palestinians are traitors because they want to free their country.
2. Officers 1 [Colonel Habes Rizk] and 2 [Captain Motaz Ahmad Abdurrahman] deceived the defendant by claiming that his father [name] , his brother [name] and ten of his company’s employees had been arrested.
3. Torturing other arrested persons in the same case before him like [defendant name] and [defendant name].
4. Successive interrogation sessions lasting 72 hours, with an interrogation team alternating every 8 hours. Sometime these sessions extended for 120 hours. During such sessions, the defendant sometimes suffered from fainting and in three such instances was taken to an internal clinic, a large quantity of acetone was poured into his nose to revive him, and the doctor would say that the fainting has nothing to do with cardiac disease, but is a psychological effect of the severity of the interrogation. When the interrogation was resumed, if the defendant lost consciousness he was given a cold shower with his clothes on to wake him up and the interrogation continued.
5. On the third day after each interrogation tour, Officer 2 [Captain Motaz Ahmad Abdurrahman] would pour water on the defendant and treat him as if he had urinated on himself. He would then be punished by ordering him to stand in the corner of the room and then by insulting him, e.g. ‘Is not it shameful for a 45 year old man to urinate on himself?’ This would be repeated every three or four days.
6. During the interrogation, Officer 2 [Captain Motaz Ahmad Abdurrahman] threatened to bring the wife of the defendant, and to insult and assault her in a way that would guarantee cooperation on part of the defendant. This occurred in the presence of Officer 3.
7. Officer 2 [Captain Motaz Ahmad Abdurrahman] would use the method of applying pressure to the point where the defendant’s neck meets his shoulder while he is seated. He would do this by using a conscript called ‘Abu Zeid’ who was heavily built. Abu Zeid would put his elbow on the aforementioned area while pushing the head in the opposite direction for several hours. In addition, the method of slapping the defendant on the face was used when he was not responsive.
8. Officer 2 [Captain Motaz Ahmad Abdurrahman] would order the defendant to sit in the prayer position and would place both feet on the leg of the defendant in case of his failure to respond.
At the conclusion of his statement, Amer refers to the Court’s refusal even to consider the testimony and evidence of the defense. The court relied entirely on the confessions obtained through torture, although the defendants testified that in some cases they had not even been allowed to read these “confessions” before signing them. Here is the statement of the court:
“… The court was assured of the evidence presented by the prosecution, and relies on it for proof, including the fact that the confessions of the defendants during the investigations were given clearly, correctly, with no ambiguity, and were given freely and by choice. … Upon the preceding and upon the prosecution’s evidence, this court finds that it is not obliged to discuss Defense’s evidence presented by defense attorneys since accepting prosecution’s evidence automatically implies rejection of defense’s evidence, as this was the interpretation settled upon by the respected Court of Cassation in many of its rulings, among them decision number 757/2002 chapter 21/10/2002, from which is quoted: ‘…the State Security Court has done well to set aside defense’s evidence without discussing it.'”
Amer’s case is still on appeal before Jordan’s Court of Cassation. We urge supporters to share information publicly about his case to create as much visibility as possible while it is still in appeal.
Amer’s case underlines the fact that the primary purpose of torture has never been to gather intelligence. Its purpose instead is to terrorize people into silence and inaction and to force them to implicate themselves and others in false crimes, which in turn props up whatever narrative the state wishes to promote about terrorism.
As friends of Amer from his time in the US–some of us apparently named in the the GID’s interrogation sessions–we express our full solidarity with Amer in his pursuit of justice, and condemn the use of torture against him and his co-defendants.