Afghan was taken to Guantanamo aged 12-rights group
Tue May 26, 2009
By Sayed Salahuddin
KABUL – An Afghan who has spent over six years at the U.S. military’s Guantanamo Bay prison was only around 12 years old when he was detained, not 16 or 17 as his official record says, an Afghan rights group said on Tuesday.
Interviews with the family of Mohammed Jawad, who like many poor Afghans does not know his exact age or birthday, showed he was probably not even a teenager when he was arrested in 2002, the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission said. …
Afghan human rights commissioner Nader Nadery said in addition to being a minor at the time of his detention, Jawad was tortured and abused by the Afghan police and while at the Guantanamo detention center.
The Commission is seeking his release and repatriation, and in the course of looking into his case found out he was probably considerably younger than his records showed.
‘TORTURED AND ABUSED’
“We asked his mother what was the big event close to his birth that you can remember, any change in the president etcetera, and she said that he was born around six months after his father’s death,” Nadery told Reuters.
“We tried to explore more when his father died, and his father died in a battle in Khost,” he said.
That fighting was in 1991, according to a petition submitted to the Afghan supreme court this month on Jawad’s behalf, aiming to force President Hamid Karzai to seek his release.
Nadry said the commission checked Jawad’s mother’s story, interviewing other relatives and officials including a soldier who commanded Jawad’s father.
Major Eric Montalvo, a Pentagon-appointed U.S. Marine Corps lawyer representing Jawad, said his client — who may still be a teenager if his mother’s dates are correct — should be released.
“We have a child of Afghanistan that was wrongfully taken from this country and he needs to be returned. He was tortured, he was abused over seven years of custody,” he told a news conference in the Afghan capital.
Nadry said the commission had raised Jawad’s case with the Afghan and U.S. governments in the past, without success.
Talking about torture: A 14-year military interrogator has undercut one of the key arguments posited by Vice President Dick Cheney in favor of the Bush Administration’s torture techniques and alleged that the use of torture has cost “hundreds if not thousands” of American lives: here.
The home secretary Jacqui Smith faces legal action over allegations that MI5 agents colluded in the torture of a British former civil servant by Bangladeshi intelligence officers.
Lawyers for the British man, Jamil Rahman, are to file a damages claim alleging that Smith was complicit in assault, unlawful arrest, false imprisonment and breaches of human rights legislation over his alleged ill-treatment while detained in Bangladesh.
The claims bring to three the number of countries in which British intelligence agents have been accused of colluding in the torture of UK nationals. Rahman says that he was the victim of repeated beatings over a period of more than two years at the hands of Bangladeshi intelligence officers, and he claims that a pair of MI5 officers were blatantly involved in his ordeal.
Canada’s Conservative government has repeatedly introduced obstacles to Abousfian Abdelrazik returning home, in the process redefining the rights of Canadian citizenship and inadvertently raising questions about Canada’s complicity in torture: here.