‘To-be-released’ prisoners still in Bagram torture jail

This video is called U.S. Torture at Afghanistan Bagram Army Base Pt1.

And here is Part 2.

From Associated Press:

Detainees OK’d for release still held at Bagram


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 detainees’ lawyers suspect some are caught up in political problems between the U.S. and their home countries, including Yemen, Pakistan and Tunisia.

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.

USA: Holder, Obama and the Cowardly Shame of Guantánamo and the 9/11 Trial: here. And here.

13 thoughts on “‘To-be-released’ prisoners still in Bagram torture jail

  1. Canada:

    Conservatives push to limit findings of Afghan torture report

    Report due on whether army cops ignored suspected abuse of prisoners

    Tuesday, April 5, 2011 2:08pm

    The Conservative government is ramping up efforts to circumscribe into allegations of torture involving detainees in Afghanistan. The Military Police Complaints Commission investigation has been looking into whether military police ignored suspected abuse while transferring prisoners to Afghan authorities, and the Tories argued in Federal Court last week that its final report should leave out evidence from witnesses like Richard Colvin, a former diplomat based in Afghanistan who testified in 2009 that his superiors ignored repeated warnings that detainees faced serious risk of torture after Canadian soldiers placed them in Afghan custody. The federal government already argued in 2009 that the military watchdog’s findings should be limited to what military police knew or could be reasonably expected to know, with success. Now they are pushing to narrow the definition of what the military police should have known to include only information military police would have physically possessed, instead of what they could have found out by asking questions. They want to exclude testimony of diplomats like Colvin, and civilians who didn’t work at the defence department, and any files they have documenting or warning of torture and abuse.



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