from thefreeonline on 10th March 2023 by Al Jazeera
Brothers Abdul and Mohammed Rabbani quietly released from 21 years of US torture in jail without trial. No apology, no publicity, no photos, no compensation. No Human Rights.
Two Pakistani brothers held by the United States at Guantanamo Bay military prison for two decades have been freed by US officials and have returned home, officials said.
Abdul, 55, and Mohammed Rabbani, 53, will be reunited with their families after a formal questioning by Pakistani authorities, security officials and a Pakistani senator said on Friday.
“Rabbani frequently went on hunger strikes and prison officials fed him through a tube, remaining on nutritional supplements up to his release”.
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No photos available on MSM or Google of the arrival home of the brothers Mohammed and Abdul after 21 years in a US jail without trial.
The two brothers arrived at an airport in the capital, Islamabad, on Friday. Pakistani Senator Mushtaq Ahmed Khan, the chairman of the human rights committee in the upper house of Pakistan’s parliament, tweeted that the two brothers had reached Islamabad airport.
Khan said the men were “innocently imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay for 21 years”.
“There was no trial, no court proceedings, no charges against them”.
“There was no trial, no court proceedings, no charges against them. Congratulations on their release. Thank you Senate of Pakistan,” he wrote on Twitter.
Khan later told The Associated Press that the brothers were being sent to Karachi, the capital of southern Sindh province, where they lived with their families. He said he hoped the men will be reunited with their families soon.
They were the latest inmates to be released from US custody as the country moves towards emptying and shutting down the prison.
The brothers alleged torture while in CIA custody before being transferred to Guantanamo. U.S. military records describe the two as providing little intelligence of value, and that they did not ever recant statements made during interrogations on the grounds they were obtained through torture.
The George W Bush administration set it up at a naval base in Cuba for suspects rounded up after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US.
Thirty-two detainees remain at Guantanamo Bay, including 18 eligible for transfer, the Pentagon says.
The releases come months after a 75-year-old Pakistani, Saifullah Paracha, was freed from the Guantanamo Bay prison.
The two brothers were originally transferred to US custody after Pakistani officials arrested them in their home city of Karachi in 2002. US officials accused the two of helping al-Qaeda members with housing and other lower-level logistical support.
The US military announced their repatriation in a statement. It gave no immediate information on any conditions set by Pakistan regarding their return there.
“The United States appreciates the willingness of the Government of Pakistan and other partners to support ongoing US efforts focused on responsibly reducing the detainee population and ultimately closing the Guantanamo Bay facility,” the defence department said.
On Friday, a close family friend of the two brothers told the AP that Pakistani authorities had formally informed the brothers’ family about the release and their return to Pakistan.
The family friend, who is Pakistani and refused to be identified for security reasons, said the younger Rabbani learned painting during his detention at Guantanamo Bay, and that he was expected to bring with him some of those paintings.
He said Rabbani frequently went on hunger strikes and prison officials fed him through a tube. He said the man remained on the nutritional supplements.
US Supreme Court blocks testimony over Guantanamo detainee,
Guantanamo at its peak in 2003 held about 600 people whom the US considered “terrorists”. Supporters of using the detention facility for such figures contend it prevented attacks.
But critics say the military detention and courts subverted human rights and constitutional rights, and undermined US standing abroad.
Thirty-two detainees remain at Guantanamo Bay, including 18 eligible for transfer if “stable third-party countries” can be found to take them, the Pentagon said. Many are from Yemen.
Nine of the inmates are defendants in slow-moving military-run tribunals. Two others have been convicted.
Guantanamo at 21: Advocates renew calls for closing US prison
Guantanamo’s legacy of abuse, injustice and ‘lawlessness’ gets worse with each passing year, former detainee says.
Guantanamo’s oldest inmate Saifullah Paracha freed after 19 years | News | Al Jazeera,
By Ali Harb Published On 12 Jan 2023 12 Jan 2023
Since the chaotic withdrawal of United States forces from Afghanistan in 2021, President Joe Biden and his top aides have repeatedly expressed a sense of achievement that Washington is not at war for the first time in decades.
But not far from US shores, nestled in a Cuban harbour, the Guantanamo Bay detention facility is still operating as a remnant of the so-called “war on terror” that started after the 9/11 attacks in 2001.
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“The ‘war on terror’ will not end until Guantanamo is closed. So any claim that the war is over is false,” Lisa Hajjar, a sociology professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, told Al Jazeera.
Wednesday marked the 21st anniversary of the prison, known as Gitmo – an occasion that prompted renewed calls for closing the centre. Detainees have detailed abuse inside the facility and critics have said basic due process protections were denied there.
Hajjar is the author of the book titled The War in Court: Inside the Long Fight Against Torture, published last year. She said the prison’s lasting legacy is that the US government – “ostensibly a liberal political democracy” – denied the humanity of detainees in the name of national security interests.
‘Without charges… without humanity’
Former Guantanamo detainee Mansoor Adayfi said the detention facility’s legacy gets worse with every passing year.
“It symbolises oppression, injustice, lawlessness, abuse of power and indefinite detention,” he told Al Jazeera.
Adayfi spent 14 years in the prison, where he said he endured torture, humiliation and abuse. Originally from Yemen, he explained he was kidnapped in Afghanistan and handed over to US forces when he was 18. He was accused of being a much older al-Qaeda recruiter but has maintained his innocence.
Adayfi said it was unfortunate that the rights violations at Guantanamo are being committed by a powerful country that preaches democracy and freedom.
“They’re still keeping men imprisoned for 21 years without rights, without charges, without trial, even without humanity,” he said.
The facility once housed nearly 800 detainees but now it holds 35 prisoners – all Muslim men – most of whom have never been charged with a crime, including 20 who have been cleared for release.
On Wednesday, nearly 160 international rights groups sent a letter to Biden urging him to shut down the facility.
“Guantanamo continues to cause escalating and profound damage to the aging and increasingly ill men still detained indefinitely there, most without charge and none having received a fair trial. It has also devastated their families and communities,” the letter said.
The groups, which include Oxfam America and the Council on American-Islamic Relations, also alleged that the prison stokes “bigotry, stereotyping and stigma”. By exemplifying those social divisions, Guantanamo “risks facilitating additional rights violations”, the groups said.
In a petition to Biden, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a nonprofit rights group, described the prison as a “global symbol of injustice, abuse and disregard for the rule of law”.
“Guantanamo continues to impose enormous costs to both our values and our resources. It is long past time for this shameful episode in American history to be brought to a close,” the statement said.
As a candidate, Biden said he supports closing Guantanamo – a task his Democratic predecessor, former President Barack Obama, failed to achieve amid political opposition, despite issuing an executive order on his second day in office calling for Guantanamo to be shuttered within a year.
Hajjar, the University of California professor, said there is no influential constituency in US politics advocating to shut down the prison. With the country facing domestic and international crises, many US politicians have distanced themselves from the “war on terror” and its implications.
Hajjar also pointed out that the media has devoted little coverage to the prison in recent years. Covering Guantanamo properly, she argued, would require acknowledging that it has been a “national disgrace” and examining what went wrong since its founding. She added that the legal issues surrounding the prison are complex to explain.
“So because of that, there’s not a lot of taste in the mainstream media for covering it,” she said.
The prison, located at a US military base in Cuba, operates in an alternate legal system led by military commissions that do not guarantee the same rights traditional US courts do. The ACLU has questioned whether detainees can receive fair hearings before the commissions, given their “looser evidentiary standards”.
The group has also pointed out that detainees cannot use the legal system there to seek damages for any torture they sustained, whether at the prison itself or secret facilities run by the Central Intelligence Agency, known as “black sites”.
In a petition to the White House on Wednesday, Amnesty International USA called the prison a “glaring, longstanding stain on the human rights record of the United States”.
Adayfi, the former detainee, said justice for those imprisoned in Guantanamo starts by closing the facility. He also called for an apology and accountability from US officials for crimes committed there.
Adayfi, who had never been charged with a crime, was released in 2016.
The ex-Guantanamo inmate now creates art inspired by his experiences. He detailed his story in the memoir, Don’t Forget Us Here: Lost and Found at Guantanamo.
Following his release, Adayfi was sent by the US government to Serbia, where he remains today. But his struggles continue. He told Al Jazeera that most former Guantanamo detainees live “in limbo” without legal status in their host countries, unable to work, travel or even have normal social relations with others.
“It’s really hard. When you’re being released from Guantanamo, there is no kind of rehabilitation programme that helps you to move on with their life – [with] family, friends, a stable job. Uncertainty is one of the worst feelings,” Adayfi said.
Source: Al Jazeera