by Dahr Jamail / Electronic Iraq –
IRAQ (January 7, 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 Americans.
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.
US Claims Abrahim Died of a ‘Heart Attack’
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.
Abrahim’s Feet Showed Burns from Electrocution
Sadiq Abrahim’s feet, showing burns from electrocution well known to those who lived under the Ba’athist regime.
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.
A Life Was Destroyed and Questions Remain Unanswered
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 dropped off?
• 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 states?
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 in custody.”
US Army Col. Marc Warren, Coalition forces’ top Judge Advocate adds,
“US 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 so.