Extraordinary rendition and secret prisons

Held for 900 Days Since Being Approved for Release from Guantánamo: Sanad Al-Kazimi, a Yemeni Torture Victim

25.3.24

The ninth article in my ongoing series of ten articles about the 16 men approved for release from Guantánamo, noting how long they have been held since those decisions were taken, telling their stories, and tying publication of these articles into significant dates in their long ordeal. The articles are published alternately here and on the Close Guantánamo website, and this particular article focuses on the case of Sanad al-Kazimi, seized in the UAE in January 2003, and held in Emirati custody and CIA “black sites” until September 2004, when he was flown to Guantánamo, where he has been held ever since without charge or trial. He was finally approved for release in October 2021, after over 12 years of tortuously slow review processes that began under President Obama.

Held for 800 Days Since Being Approved for Release from Guantánamo: Moath Al-Alwi, Zakaria Al-Baidany and Mohammed Abdul Malik Bajabu

6.3.24

The fifth article in my ongoing series about the 16 men approved for release from Guantánamo, noting how long they have been held since those decisions were taken, telling their stories, and tying publication of these articles into significant dates in their long ordeal. The articles are published alternately here and on the Close Guantánamo website, and this particular article highlights three men approved for release in December 2021 — the talented artist Moath al-Alwi, and two victims of extraordinary rendition and torture: Zakaria al-Baidany and Mohammed Abdul Malik Bajabu.

At Guantánamo, Accomplices in the 2002 Bali Bombings Reach A Plea Deal, May Be Released By 2029

25.2.24

My report about last month’s military commission hearings at Guantánamo, at which the prison’s only Malaysian prisoners, Mohammed Farik Bin Amin and Mohammed Nazir Bin Lep, accepted a plea deal, admitting that they were involved as accomplices in the Bali nightclub bombings in 2002, as members of the terrorist group Jemaah Islamiya, and agreeing to provide information in the forthcoming trial of the group’s alleged leader, Hambali (Riduan Isamuddin), in exchange for a reduced sentence. As I explain, the two men are largely unknown to the general public, even though they are “high-value detainees” who were held and tortured in CIA “black sites” for three years, from 2003 to 2006, and have been held at Guantánamo for over 17 years.

Despite 9/11 Accused Being Mentally “Unfit To Stand Trial,” Biden Refuses Plea Deal That Would Provide Mental Health Care, As Required By International Law

26.9.23

My analysis of the significance of a DoD Sanity Board’s assessment that Ramzi bin al-Shibh, one of five men accused of involvement in the 9/11 attacks, who are caught up in seemingly endless pre-trial hearings in Guantánamo’s broken military commissions, is unfit to stand trial because he suffers from PTSD and psychosis. That assessment has been accepted by the military judge in the 9/11 case, but meanwhile President Biden has refused to accept conditions requested by the 9/11 co-accused in plea deals that have been ongoing for the last 18 months, since prosecutors finally recognized that the use of torture had made a successful trial untenable. The conditions include the lifelong provision of adequate physical and mental health care, which has not been provided at Guantánamo, and which, ironically, has contributed significantly to bin al-Shibh’s inability to stand trial.

Radio: I Discuss Guantánamo’s Discredited Torture Trials with Scott Horton

5.9.23

Linking to, and discussing my recent interview with Scott Horton about a recent damning ruling against the government by the trial judge, Col. Lanny Acosta, in the military commission case of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, accused of being the mastermind of the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000. The ruling specifically prohibits the use of self-incriminating statements made by al-Nashiri to a so-called “clean team” of interrogators at Guantánamo after he had been held and tortured for nearly four years in CIA “black sites,” and Col. Acosta’s devastating conclusion was that al-Nashiri’s torture and “conditioning” in the “black sites” was so severe that he was incapable of delivering any kind of self-incriminating statement on a voluntary basis.

Trial Judge Destroys Guantánamo’s Military Commissions, Rules That “Clean Team” Interrogations Cannot Undo the Effects of Torture

28.8.23

A long read featuring substantial excerpts from, and my detailed analysis of an absolutely devastating ruling against the US authorities in the military commission pre-trial hearings for Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. A Saudi national held and tortured in CIA “black sites” for nearly four years before his transfer to Guantánamo in September 2006, al-Nashiri’s trial judge, Col. Lanny Acosta, Jr., has just refused to allow prosecutors to use self-incriminating statements al-Nashiri made to a “clean team” of interrogators four months after his arrival at Guantánamo, because, he has concluded, there is no way that he was acting freely, given the extent of the torture to which was subjected in the “black sites,” and the “conditioning” that accompanied it, requiring him to tell his interrogators what they wanted to hear, to prevent further torture.

“Forever Prisoner” Muhammad Rahim, the Last Afghan in Guantánamo, Eloquently Pleads For His Release

22.8.23

My report about a recent Periodic Review Board hearing in Guantánamo, not reported in the mainstream media, about Muhammed Rahim, the last Afghan in the prison, who delivered a heartfelt plea for his release. Despite claims that he was connected with Al-Qaeda, the US authorities have never provided any evidence to back up their claims.

UN Condemns Arbitrary Detention of Guantánamo Prisoner and Torture Victim Abd Al-Rahim Al-Nashiri, and Calls for His Release

16.6.23

My report about a devastating opinion issued by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, regarding Abd Al-Rahim Al-Nashiri, held and tortured in CIA “black sites” for nearly four years, between 2002 and 2006, and at Guantánamo since September 2006. Although he has been charged in the military commissions, the Working Group concludes that his treatment has been so lawless and brutal that it constitutes arbitrary detention, and calls for his immediate release. The opinion follows a similarly devastating opinion relating to Abu Zubaydah, which I wrote about at the end of April.

Photos and Report: Guantánamo in the UK – A New Parliamentary Group Meets, and Mohamedou Ould Slahi Visits

4.5.23

My report, with photos, of the inaugural meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Closing the Guantánamo Detention Facility, attended by former prisoner Mohamedou Ould Slahi and his former guard Steve Wood, and the three screenings of ‘The Mauritanian’ that followed, in Buckinghamshire and Brighton, at which I joined Mohamedou and Steve for Q&A sessions.

UN Condemns 21-Year Imprisonment of Abu Zubaydah as Arbitrary Detention and Suggests that Guantánamo’s Detention System “May Constitute Crimes Against Humanity”

30.4.23

My report about what I describe as “the single most devastating condemnation by an international body that has ever been issued with regard to the US’s detention policies in the ‘war on terror’, both in CIA ‘black sites’ and at Guantánamo” — an opinion issued by the the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention about Abu Zubaydah, the first victim of the CIA’s post-9/11 torture program. The condemnation is not only of the US government, but also the governments of Pakistan, Thailand, Poland, Morocco, Lithuania, Afghanistan and the UK, although the most severe criticisms are directed at the US government, which is ordered to release him and to pay him compensation. The Working Group also expresses “grave concern” that the very basis of the detention system at Guantánamo — involving “widespread or systematic imprisonment or other severe deprivation of liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law” — “may constitute crimes against humanity.”

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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