Saturday, October 2, 2010

Andy Worthington's Series: "Who Are the Remaining Prisoners in Guantánamo?"

What follows is one example of the summaries collected by Andy Worthington regarding the status and history of the detainees who remain at Guantánamo prison. Andy is presenting them in an eight part series. The story of Umar Abdulayev is taken from Part Five. Like many of the tales about the men still languishing in the U.S. detention site, it is a tale of wild, reckless policy and lawless subversion of U.S. and international law. I highly recommend readers follow the entire series, and send links to their friends, Facebook pages, etc.

Regarding Abdulayev's story, note the attempt by the Obama administration to repatriate a prisoner back to a country (Tajikistan in this case), where the prisoner refuses to return, for fear of persecution and/or torture. Already, the Obama administration (with Congressional notice in advance) has violated the Convention Against Torture and the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees by forcibly repatriating Abdul Aziz Naji back to Algeria, despite his fear of attack by Islamic extremists in that country, and imprisonment or arrest by the Algerian government as a former Guantánamo prisoner. In fact, Naji was charged by the Algerian government, with unspecified charges, and ultimately returned to his family under government supervision. The former detainee told an Algerian newspaper that Guantánamo prisoners were tortured to give false confessions, and forced "to take some medicines for three months to drive them crazy, loosing [sic] memory and committing suicide."
ISN 257 Abdulayev, Umar (Tajikistan)
A refugee from Tajikistan, who had arrived in Afghanistan with his family in 1992 (when he was around 13 years old), Abdulayev was living in a refugee camp near Peshawar, Pakistan, in November 2001, when he was seized in a bazaar by operatives of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), who asked him for a bribe which he couldn’t pay, and then imprisoned him, and, it seems, made him copy information relating to insurgency and military activity into a series of notebooks that were then used to justify his detention as a terrorist. In June 2009, as Abdulayev’s habeas case neared the District Court, the Justice Department abruptly announced that they would “no longer defend his detention,” and that they “want[ed] US diplomats to arrange to repatriate him” This decision was distressing to Abdulayev and his lawyers for two reasons: firstly, because Abdulayev is terrified of returning to Tajikistan, as he was threatened by Tajik agents who visited him in Guantánamo; and secondly, because the Task Force’s decision also led the Justice Department to ask a judge to drop Abdulayev’s habeas petition, prompting his lawyers to point out that the Task Force’s decision was “not a determination that [Abdulayev’s] detention was or was not lawful,” and that it therefore “does nothing towards removing the stigma of being held in Guantánamo or being accused of being a terrorist by the United States.” As one of his lawyers, Andrew Moss, explained to me, the Justice Department’s maneuverings meant that the writ of habeas corpus was “effectively suspended.”

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