From the Miami Herald in the USA:
Afghan who collapsed in shower, died was to be held indefinitely
BY CAROL ROSENBERG
A 48-year-old ex-Taliban commander dropped dead of an apparent heart attack after exercising on an elliptical machine inside Guantánamo‘s most populous prison camp, the military said Thursday.
The dead man, Awal Gul, had been in U.S. custody since Christmas 2001 and at the prison camps in southeast Cuba for more than eight years. He was designated by the Obama administration as one of 48 “indefinite detainees,” meaning the U.S. would neither repatriate him nor put him on trial. …
Gul is the seventh war-on-terror detainee to die during the nine years the Pentagon has confined some 800 men and boys to the prisons at Guantánamo.
The New York based Center for Constitutional Rights, which has represented detainess in lawsuits seeking their release, reacted angrily to the death, blaming President Barack Obama for a policy that allows their continued detention there without charges.
“Awal Gul’s death illustrates too well what Guantánamo has become — a prison where Muslim men are held indefinitely until they die because the president lacks political courage to release or charge them in any forum,” the group said in a statement.
Gul had never been charged with a crime during his more-than-eight-year detention as a suspected base commander for the Taliban. American officials said they suspected him of being a base commander for the Taliban. His lawyer, Matthew Dodge, said both sides argued Gul’s “habeas corpus” petition before U.S. District Judge Rosemary Colyer in Washington D.C. in March, but she has not yet ruled on whether his detention was lawful.
In spite of what Colyer might have ruled, his client might not have been released. Dodge said that an Obama administration task force had designated his client as an “indefinite detainee,” despite documents that, Dodge said, proved Gul had quit the Taliban a year before the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
“He resigned because he was disgusted by the Taliban’s growing penchant for corruption and abuse,” said Dodge, an Atlanta-based federal public defender who helped him sue for his return to Afghanistan in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. …
FBI reports included in his federal unlawful detention suit described Gul as a former Taliban commander who told a San Diego-based FBI agent in June 2008 that he was “tired from war and thirsty for peace.”
It also said he was a father to 18, 11 of them daughters. …
In a transcript of a 2004 military hearing, acknowledged that he had indeed trained on Stinger missiles, one reason for his detention. But he said that he had trained in the 80s, when the United States supplied the missiles to Afghan forces resisting the Soviet invasion. …
A Guantánamo defense lawyer, Pardiss Kebriaei, said soon after the death was disclosed that she was concerned that the military would not conduct a “timely and meaningful investigation of this man’s death.”
“There hasn’t been for any of the other six who’ve died at Guantánamo,” said Kebriaei, a staff attorney at the New York Center for Constitutional Rights.
After three captives were reportedly found hanging simultaneously in the same cellblock in June 2006, she added, “the NCIS took two years to release the findings of its investigation, and only after being compelled” through Freedom of Information Act litigation.
Human rights campaigners demanded the release of Guantanamo Bay detainee Shaker Aamer today as they prepared to mark the ninth anniversary of the incarceration without trial of the British national: here.
Rawa.org News Feed: Afghan police “have drug culture”: here.
January death toll in Afghanistan was 100 civilians, 80 police: Deutsche Presse Agentur: here.
USA: John Kerry Breaks With Obama On Afghanistan, Calls For Fewer U.S. Troops On The Ground: here.
Americans: If You’re Going to Cut, Cut Military Spending, Not Safety Nets: here.
Jeffrey Kaye and Jason Leopold, Truthout: “The Defense Department has claimed it took the unprecedented step of forcing all ‘war on terror’ detainees sent to Guantanamo in 2002 to take a high dosage of a controversial anti-malarial drug known to have severe side effects because the government was concerned the disease could be reintroduced into Cuba by detainees arriving from malaria-endemic countries Afghanistan and Pakistan. But hundreds of contractors who were hired by Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR), the oil services firm formerly headed by Dick Cheney, from malaria-endemic countries such as the Philippines and India and tasked with building Guantanamo’s Camp Delta facility in early 2002 did not receive the same type of medical treatment, calling into question the Pentagon’s rationale of mass presumptive treatment of detainees with the drug mefloquine, a Truthout investigation has found”: here.
President Barack Obama on Monday announced the lifting of a 25-month stay on new military trials at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba prison camp, effectively repudiating his post-inauguration pledge to close the infamous facility: here. And here.
Washington – The Bush administration was so intent on keeping Guantanamo detainees off U.S. soil and away from U.S. courts that it secretly tried to negotiate deals with Latin American countries to provide “life-saving” medical procedures rather than fly ill terrorist suspects to the U.S. for treatment, a recently released State Department cable shows: here.
- Obama Shuts Down Office that Would Close Gitmo (leaksource.wordpress.com)
- Human Rights Watch decries U.S. prison system (salon.com)
- Eleven Years of Guantánamo: End This Scandal Now! (fff.org)
- Signing Defense Bill, Obama Rejects Detainee Provision (mysanantonio.com)
- John Brennan, Obama Nominee For CIA Director, Had Detailed Knowledge Of Torture (huffingtonpost.com)
- Guantanamo Secret Censor Frustrates Judge In 9/11 Case (huffingtonpost.com)
- Strangeness at Guantanamo (server1.nationalinterest.org)