And here is Part 2.
From Associated Press:
Detainees OK’d for release still held at Bagram
By DEB RIECHMANN
Updated: 2:05 p.m. Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Published: 11:07 a.m. Tuesday, April 5, 2011
KABUL, Afghanistan — Amin al-Bakri holds a get-out-of-jail card from a detainee review board but so far it’s been useless to the former Yemeni gem salesman, who has been locked up at the U.S. military prison in Afghanistan for more than eight years.
Day upon day, 42-year-old al-Bakri wakes up behind bars at the massive U.S. detention center near Bagram Air Field. It’s the same place that CIA Director Leon Panetta says Osama bin Laden would be taken for initial questioning — if he’s ever captured.
Al-Bakri, who was never charged, is not alone.
More than a dozen detainees who were picked up outside of Afghanistan have been cleared for release by review boards but are still at Bagram, according to an estimate by Daphne Eviatar, a senior associate at Human Rights First, a nonprofit international human rights organization based in New York and Washington D.C.
The Defense Department did not respond to allegations that political issues are delaying the release of detainees. Finding out exactly what’s holding up their release is difficult because their lawyers are not even privy to what evidence the government has on their clients, why they were picked up in the first place or how they ended up at Bagram.
“Amin has been there for almost a decade of his life,” said Ramzi Kassem, a law professor at the City University of New York who filed the latest appeal for al-Bakri’s release late Monday in a U.S. federal court in Washington. “Amin should never have been there in the first place. He has never been a threat to the United States.”
U.S. agents captured al-Bakri in late 2002 in Bangkok, Thailand, while he was on a business trip, according to his lawyers. He checked out of his hotel and was on his way to the airport to fly back to Yemen where he was planning to celebrate his 34th birthday with his wife and three children. He never made it home.
His family found out that he was alive when the International Committee of the Red Cross forwarded them a post card, in his own handwriting, from the detention facility north of Kabul. In December, Bagram detainees were moved to a new, modern prison several miles (kilometers) away from the old facility.
The Pentagon says it is working to free detainees approved for release, but it takes time. Lt. Col. Tanya Bradsher, a spokeswoman at the U.S. Defense Department in Washington, said that if a non-Afghan detainee is approved for transfer or release, diplomatic arrangements still must be made in order to repatriate the detainee to his home country or another location. The Pentagon would not say how many detainees at Bagram have been recommended for release, but still aren’t free. …
Redha al-Najar, a 45-year-old citizen of Tunisia, is another detainee whose life is in limbo.
In May 2002, Pakistani men and French-speaking men in plain clothes took him from his home in Karachi as his wife and child looked on.
During his nearly nine years in detention, the U.S. government has never charged al-Najar, according to Tina M. Foster, an attorney and executive director of International Justice Network, a New York-based nonprofit that has represented more than 30 Bagram detainees since 2006.
“His son, now 10, has grown up without a father,” she said.
- More civilians killed, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- The problem with ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ (miamiherald.com)
- Teenagers detained in Afghanistan – US (bigpondnews.com)
- Signing Defense Bill, Obama Rejects Detainee Provision (mysanantonio.com)
- US: 200 Teens Have Been Detained in Afghan War (abcnews.go.com)
- US military has detained hundreds of Afghan teens during war, report says (guardian.co.uk)
- Eleven Years of Guantánamo: End This Scandal Now! (fff.org)