Chris Bartlett’s portraits of former Iraqi detainees bring some long overdue humanity and perspective to an era that largely went without. Take the time to visit The Detainee Project, read about the case, and view more of Bartlett‘s work.
“The Purpose of this site is to bring together the various forces, both artistic and legal, that are working to alert the world of the extent to which the treatment of detainees in Iraq is not only legally and morally abhorrent but also undermines the very character of our nation.”
detained november, 2005 – may, 2006
single, he lives with his family. he had served in the iraqi military. “they interrogated me 2 to 3 times a day. i started not recognizing night from day.” he passed out at each interrogation. he does not remember how long he was in that cell, but he thinks it was a month. then they look him to abu ghraib. “first they got me naked, and they tied my hands to the door. my detention lasted six months. i was always naked, always tied to the door. my detention lasted six months. they brought the dogs to us.” just before his release, they told him he has been falsely arrested. “i started to have a very severe depression. i started sitting by myself alone. i became not normal. my family understands this.”
detained may 21, 2004
unmarried, he worked in construction. they stormed his house at 3:30am. when he opened the door, a solider slapped his face and broke a tooth. a sunni, he said he was turned in by a shiite informant. “in the jail, all the prisoners were sunni.” one of the interrogators, “a pretty, young, blonde woman,” called his brother “a pig, a criminal, a terrorist, and an animal.”
in prison, “I fell apart psychologically.”
detained january 7 – june 23, 2006
a student of islamic studies, he worked for the islamic faculty at the university in baghdad. “when they broke in, they hit me with a weapon and broke my rib. i remained handcuffed behind my back for 16 days. my shoulders were swollen with blood. they put us in black boxes about a meter high, handcuffed and lying down. while i was in the box, every 20 to 30 minutes someone would kick the door really hard.” when he fainted, they took him out, gave him an iv, and put him back in the box. this happened every three days.
© Chris Bartlett