Freed From Guantánamo, Mohammed Jawad Celebrates Eid With His Family

21.9.09

Mohammed JawadEarlier today I published an exclusive article about Mohammed Jawad, the Afghan prisoner, seized as a teenager, who was freed from Guantánamo last month, in which Maj. David Frakt, his military defense attorney (who also represented him in the habeas corpus case that resulted in his release) described the contributions made by other members of the defense team, and especially Maj. Eric Montalvo, who made two investigative trips to Afghanistan before his release, and who also accompanied him when he was finally freed.

As a follow-up, I’m posting below (via YouTube) a report from al-Jazeera about Mohammed Jawad celebrating Eid ul-Fitr for the first time in seven years with his family.

In the report, broadcast on Sunday, Jawad told reporter Zeina Khodr, “Eid is a day of happiness. Prisoners in Guantánamo, they have children, and they want to be with them. They are innocent. They called me a terrorist. Now they know I was just an innocent child.” His uncle, Haji Naik Gul, added, “Seven Eids we spent without him. We were worried, wondering whether he was eating. We didn’t know anything about him.”

As Jawad also explained to Zeina Khodr, “They violated all rights for children. The Americans say they are human rights lovers, but I am a human being. They didn’t respect the fact that I was a child. They tortured me, and kept me illegally in prison.”

Mohammed also explained to Khodr that he believes that at least 25 Afghans are still held at Guantánamo, but as Khodr added, “it’s not only Guantánamo. Hundreds of others are imprisoned at a US military base here in Kabul. Bagram holds approximately 600 detainees, the majority Afghans, many held for years without trial or charge.” She also discussed the Obama administration’s recent plans to introduce tribunals for the Bagram prisoners, which I discussed at length — and with profound skepticism — in two articles last week, “Obama Brings Guantánamo And Rendition To Bagram (And Not The Geneva Conventions),” and “Is Bagram Obama’s New Secret Prison?

As for Mohammed Jawad, as Zeina Khodr also explained, “[He] is now free, but he says his happiness won’t be complete until the release of all detainees.”

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK). To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed. Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, published in March 2009, and if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.

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