Guantanamo remains a black hole of US extrajudicial viciousness, hundreds of innocent men and boys (all Muslims, most sold for bounty) held lawlessly since January 2002 – denied due process and judicial fairness.
Obama’s pledge to close the prison camp before end of 2009 was willful deception. An executive order alone is needed, not congressional authorization as he maintains.
Today, 80 men remain indefinitely detained, most uncharged and untried – perhaps all innocent victims. Nine perished in captivity, murdered in cold blood. Over two dozen recommended for release remain imprisoned.
US forces kidnapped Afghan national known as Obaidullah from his family home on July 20, 2002. Charges against him were entirely fabricated, later dropped. He was never arraigned in a war court. In a later statement, he said:
“The Americans came while my family and I were all sleeping in our home in the village of Milani, close to Khost City. At that time I was approximately 19 years old.”
“On that night, I heard noises and the soldiers woke me up. I was very confused about what was going on, and why they were in my home, but I and my family cooperated with them.”
“Even though I was not resisting, they tied my feet together and my hands together with plastic cuffs. Then they put a hood over my head and forced me to sit for hours against a wall.”
“The plastic cut into my hands and it was painful to sit that way for so long. I was terrified about what would happen to me.”
He was forcibly taken to America’s Chapman airfield forward operating base, then Bagram prison, brutally interrogated, tortured, beaten, threatened with death, isolated, his hands at times painfully chained to the ceiling.
In October 2002, he was transferred to Guantanamo. Brutal treatment amounting to torture continued. “I was very sick for many days,” he said, denied medical treatment.
In 2013, he said he was losing all hope for release. At the time, Amnesty International said his “experience exemplifies the multiple violations of human rights perpetrated by a country that claims to be committed to the respect and promotion of international human rights principles.”
On May 19, the Guantanamo periodic review board approved Obaidullah’s release, a statement saying he “has not espoused any anti-US sentiment that would indicate he views the US as his enemy.”
He poses no “threat to the security of the United States…Neither the detainee nor his family have any ties to extremists outside of Guantanamo.”
The board recommended he be transferred “with appropriate security assurances” to a country with a “strong monitoring program.” Whether he’ll go home to Afghanistan is unclear.
Marine Major Derek Poteet represented him since 2010. “This young man should have been released years ago,” he said.
He was innocent of initial charges against him, fabricated to frame him unjustly. During his 2013 hunger strike for justice, Poteet said he withered to a “bag of bones.”
Once released, he faces a long, hard readjustment struggle. The injustice of what he endured won’t ever be erased.
The ordeal continues for dozens of other wrongfully held Guantanamo detainees – victims of US imperial viciousness.