Author(s): Murat Kurnaz
The gripping account of an innocent man held prisoner in Guantanamo detention camp for five years.This is a shocking, revealing account. Here, prisoner 61 from Guantanamo reveals precise details concerning torture, doctor participation, sexual humiliation, and also, elections, coordinated hunger strikes and revolts. While Murat Kurnaz's innocence was officially acknowledged by US authorities in 2002, he was not released until 2006.It is timely. US Presidential candidates, politicians, judges and lawyers around the world are being asked to take a stand on the matter. Seven British residents are still being held there.It is a rare testimony. One of few testimonies to emerge from Guantanamo, this story is unique because Kurnaz was one of the first to be held there, he was only 19 at the time, and he was held for five years though they knew he was innocent for at least four years.It has big name support: Legendary rocker Patti Smith wrote a song about Kurnaz called "Without Chains" in 2006 (he is the same age as her son) and will write the foreword to the book.This is the gripping account of an innocent man held prisoner in guantanamo for five years.
'The most compassionate, truthful and dignified account of the disgrace of Guantanamo that you are ever likely to read.' -John le Carre 'I thank God that Murat kept his sanity in the hell of injustice and torture of nearly 5 years in Guantanamo so he could tell his story. May it be studied in every school and college in Europe and the USA. May it help to close down all the illegal and secret prisons and camps, as well as Guantanamo, and restore the prisoners to their families. I am sure Murat's book will educate a whole generation about justice and the defense of human rights.' - Vanessa Redgrave 'Like many of the men imprisoned in Guantanamo, Murat Kurnaz was held for years without proper charge or trial. After intensive campaigning by his friends, family and Amnesty International members all over the world, he was finally released. This book is a profound and detailed account of his experiences. After suffering torture and detention without trial, it is testament to great strength of character that he is able to tell his story with such power and clarity.' - Kate Allen, Director, Amnesty International UK 'Murat makes the horrors and inanities of Guantanamo so real; his voice is by turns young and headstrong, wry and wise. Murat's mother came to the Unites States to hear our first Guantanamo case argued before the Supreme Court back in 2004 - when I met her, I didn't know whether she would ever see her son again. Now he is home safe and has produced this riveting and moving account of his torture and abuse at the hands of the U.S. government to shine a light in a dark place and try to help all those still languishing without hope. This is a must read.' - Michael Ratner, President of the Center for Constitutional Rights and attorney representing the Guantanamo detainees 'Kurnaz recounts his woes, and those of his fellow prisoners, with modesty and compassion...He has written a measured and readable account, which is often even humorous in a Swiftian sort of way.' - The Economist 'A vital document that should - rightly - shock and appall.' - Kirkus Reviews 'A plainspoken account, Five Years of My Life focuses on the daily humiliations and surreal texture of life at Guantanamo.' - Mother Jones 'May well represent our best hope yet of preserving the truth about this depraved chapter in American history...Kurnaz describes the varied tortures to which he was subjected for the next five years with such a level-headed lack of self-pity that they come across as neither bitter rallying cry nor unbearable litany of torment. In his gentle, understated way, Kurnaz describes the reality behind the euphemisms used to describe the 'enhanced interrogation practices' the Bush administration has openly authorized in the 'war on terror'.' - The Santa Barbara Independant 'This is a book politicians should read, and should inspire anguished soul-searching among the rest of us.' - The Washington Post 'Kurnaz...avoids sensationalism for a harrowing record of barbarities carried out in the name of democracy...[written] in stark, unadorned prose, with no scores to settle, knowing that his account is beyond most people's imagination.' - The Guardian 'Kurnaz reveals Guantanamo shorn of media spin.' - The Guardian 'Kurnaz' book is an invaluable document, a testament that juxtaposes the impossible courage of one individual against the paranoia, irrationality and cruelty that can take hold when a regime loses its moral courage.' - Cary Gee, Tribune
Murat Kurnaz is a Turkish citizen and legal resident of Germany, where he was born in 1982. He was in the process of becoming a German citizen when he was arrested in Pakistan and held prisoner for five years. He now lives in Germany.
Foreword, by Patti Smith Without Chains, by Patti Smith Translator's Note Chronology of events I Frankfurt Airport II Peshawar, Pakistan III Kandahar, Afghanistan IV. Kusca, Turkey V. Guantanamo Bay, Camp X-Ray VI. Bremen, Hemelingen VII. Guantanamo Bay, Camp X-Ray VIII. Guantanamo Bay, Camp Delta IX. Guantanamo Bay, Camp Echo X. Guantanamo Bay, Camp 4 XI. Ramstein Air Base, Germany XII. Bremen, Hemelingen Epilogue by Baher Azmy