Pakistan’s Poor Human Rights Record and Torturing of Prisoners

The Pakistani authorities are infamous for their very poor human rights record, and notorious for mistreating and abusing their, in many instances, unlawfully detained prisoners. Muhanad was captured by the Pakistani Authorities and was not given his rights afforded to him by the Government of United States. Muhannad had no access to his government’s support systems, he was not afforded an attorney to defend him, nor was he even provided with access to a family or friends that could help him in his predicament while detained by the Pakistanis.

Below are the results of our research on how the Pakistani Government, which is funded by the United States Government in many aspects of its military, hence arguably following its instructions, mistreats and tortures prisoners captured by its forces. The record is especially grim with regard to those prisoners detained in counter-terrorism operations.

Solitary Confinement Legality

Muhanad has been held in solitary confinement ever since his extradition to the United States. Solitary confinement is the removal of a prisoner from inmate society and placing them within an isolated room, often eliminating all their sensory and physical stimuli. Individuals are placed alone within solitary for approximately twenty three hours a day.

Solitary confinement is a violation of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Rights. Article 5 of the UDHR states: No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Additionally, the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution states also forbids excessive and “cruel and unusual punishments inflicted” on its prisoners. Below are a few articles that argue that solitary confinement is illegal and inhuman.

Solitary Confinement Psychological Impact

Until now, Muhanad has been held in solitary confinement for the total of 5 years. Solitary confinement is derogatory to the mental health of individuals because it eliminates social contact. Humans need this stimulus to remain healthy. Sensory deprivation (SD) and perceptual deprivation (PD) experiments conducted in McGill University during the 1950s have shown that isolating individuals for mere hours or days can cause “hallucinations, confusion, lethargy, anxiety, panic, time distortions, impaired memory, and psychotic behavior.”

People who experience solitary confinement face life-long lasting effects. An ex prisoner, Joe Loya, wrote about his time in solitary confinement. Loya spent two years in solitary confinement at the age of 33. Loya explained that the only thing he could do was stare at the wall. Even after his release, Loya still feels solitary’s grip now and then. In 2003, hallucinations haunted him that he checked into a hospital for eight days. He has developed a case of tinnitus and sometimes hears sounds like the rumbling of a crowd, a reminder of those long days in solitary confinement.

Below are some articles that discuss the long lasting harm of solitary confinement. The long lasting effects even after the release of the prisoner makes this punishment cruel and unusual, as the effects outlast the duration of confinement.

Extrajudicial killing

The government of United States of America runs a program of assassination it calls “targeted killing.” Published reports (see below) document that members of the government, congress, and/or the senate have had deliberations about implementing this program on Muhanad Al Farekh.  The government released a memo arguing the legality of this program in 2010. The limitations of implementing the program described in the memo the government are very lose, vague, and give government authority very broad and sweeping level of unfettered and unsupervised discretion.

The government argues conducting extrajudicial killing of American citizens is justified if “an informed, high-level official” deems him to present a “continuing” threat to the country. This authority exists even if the threat is not imminent, the victim of the killing is not accused of a crime or informed of the allegations against him, and even if the target is not located anywhere near an actual battlefield.