Guantanamo, Nassir, UAE discussed on Democracy Now! Audio


As activists gathered last week in front of the cultural attache office for the united arab arafat's the arab emirates in washington. Dc to protest the planned rendition of former guantanamo prisoner. Reveal men gossip back to russia. He's currently being held in a uae prison after being released from guantanamo. In two thousand. Seventeen where he too was held without. Charge for fifteen years advocates. Say seventeen other former guantanamo prisoners are now locked up in the way under inhumane conditions. This is helen sheet inger of witness against torture. He's the rest of their lives. We own the reparations us. We need to make sure that they are in good situations and continue to follow them and support them in attempting to make the rest of their lives for more. We're joined by two lawyers representing these men. Gary thompsons and attorney in private practice. Who's worked on pro bono guantanamo prisoners. He's the lead attorney for former guantanamo. Prisoner reveal men gaza off also with us mark mayor staff attorney for reprieve. Us who's represented six men in prison guantanamo including abdulatif nassir who has just released to morocco. Mark let's begin with you. Can you tell us the circumstances under which he was just released. And what's happening to abdulatif nassar now. Absolutely thank you for having me. On the circumstances under which was released actually begin back in twenty sixteen as you said abdelatif. Nassir was held for close to two decades nineteen years without charge or trial. He was actually cleared for release by the periodic review board which is a parole mike institution that was set up under the a barack obama's presidency and his staff by six members of a federal agencies from the united states including the departments of defense homeland security and the joint chiefs of staff. They determined unanimously. That up to latif nassir posed no threat to the united states or anybody and determined that he should be released from guantanamo. Unfortunately this determination came quite late. In barack obama's presidency and the state department at that time defer to the next administration as we all know was the trump administration president trump had campaigned on the idea of not closing tahoe and in fact not transferring anyone out of guantanamo and largely kept that promise so even though up liffey nassir was cleared by senior civil servants from the us government. He had to sit and wait until the political will within the united states changed and as thrilled as we are that i'll leave. Nassir is now out that he is back in morocco and his with his family and is trying to start a new life and is focused on the future of the fact remains that he lost close to two decades of his life and that number and twenty-seven men are still there without charge or trial Waiting for the political will of this administration to change us up and mark may. Could you talk a little bit about how he came to end. Up in one-ton mojo. I was originally a captured and transferred to detain there. And why did he never received trial. Well i can say that. That the reason why he never seemed to trial is the same reason. Why a twenty seven of those men haven't received a trial either and that's because they have never faced any kind of charges at all they're being held essentially as prisoners of war abdullatif. Nassir ended up. In one tahoe. The way a lot of people ended up in guantanamo. There was a bounty program. Essentially that was being run in afghanistan and in pakistan. I believe i the number. I might be getting wrong. I believe what the balance is being offered for. P- turning over people to afghan-american pakistani thirties was close to five thousand dollars at the time which was a huge life changing amount of money and he. We happen to know. In a lot of cases of people who ended up guantanamo that they were the result of people lying about the people who ended up there Or simply mistaken identity That's the case of another one of our clients who still detained. Guantanamo bay met rabbani the stories actually detailed in the senate torture report that he was detained. Mistakenly because the united states believed he was another man named hassan ghul he was severely tortured including techniques. That haven't been used since the spanish inquisition. The united states eventually actually detained mr hassan ghul at the same prison bog rem that Mister rabbani was being held at missiles. Strauss on goal was eventually released from there but now twenty years on a much like the situation that opt to latif nassir found him in just a month ago. Achmad rabbani remains there so sadly this is a situation that we've seen repeated for a number of the men who are still detained and the colts have been growing for the biden administration to close guantanamo. A how could that be done. And do you think it's likely one of the easiest ways is to begin with releasing the ten men who have been cleared for transfer and working to release all twenty seven of the who have never been again charged with any crime or at trial. It's unlikely that any of those men will ever face any trial This is especially true. In light of the fact that as well think is your viewers and listeners will know the by administration has announced that the war in afghanistan is supposed to completely end By a i think mid august was the last Estimate that they had. And i believe earlier in the show We heard president biden saying that Combat troops will be exiting iraq by the end of the year. That says to me. I think to a lot of observers that the that the wars that led to these people being wrongly imprisoned in guantanamo or ending If there was ever a right and just time to be releasing these ben. This is the time to do it. The only thing that might be lacking moving these algae there is political will if they haven't been charged with anything if they haven't faced trial for anything if the wars are over then the question is what can the biden administration due to solve this problem. The question should be. What justification does the vitamin nistration. Still have to be detained. Be to be detaining. These people i wanna bring gary thompson into the conversation. The attorney who were pro bono for guantanamo prisoners and is the lead attorney for reveal manga. Zaw who is a former guantanamo prisoner. Can you tell us his full story. And then where he's ended up today. How a started a quintana. Thank you very much. Redevelopment goddess office from an area in russia called tartar stan and he began to practice his chosen religion freely in late. One thousand nine hundred ninety s. He was a professional ballet dancer. then drafted into the russian army and came to a point in his life where he decided he wanted to leave russia and flee religious persecution simply to live a life of religious freedom with his wife and then young baby They attempted to Travel south only reveal made it across the border into jika stan afghanistan and then pakistan where he was arrested in march. Two thousand and two by pakistani police is mark. Mayor mentioned Also sold for bounty to united states authorities who took him to barroom took him to kandahar tortured him. He suffered extreme interrogation and supposedly confessed under duress. He was then taken guantanamo in october of two thousand and two where he suffered greatly for many years under harsh conditions and sometimes solitary eventually he was permitted to have counsel which is where we came in and we filed a petition for habeas corpus. And in two thousand ten. Here in dc where. I live judge. Henry kennedy issued the right of habeas corpus in order the united states government to release route reveal men gaza from gano. If believe it or not it then went through the case then went through a six-year kafka esque appellate cycle where he was not released and then in two thousand ten reveal also want a periodic review board. Hearing like mr nassar that mark mentioned and that same panel cleared reveal for release and then took the state department about six months to locate a country reveal to go to. He cannot go back to russia because russia has a record of killing or torturing a one quantum of detainees return to them so we thought it was our lucky day when it was confirmed that reveal could go to the united arab emirates where several other are. Dozen other ex detainees are also went it was always reveals dream to be in an arab country. He learned arabic lonzo. He understood arabic culture. Wanted to be there. And we really celebrated that day reveal was on the last plane. Out on tottenham. Oh the day before donald trump was inaugurated. So it really felt like we had dodged Something terrible We were promised by our state department. That the ui had promised them that Reveal would be released in six months that he would be treated humanely that he would be given job and a place to live in about six months time which is similar to the saudi program for expertise detainees. It didn't come to pass. It turned out that the uae lied to the united states government. These so-called diplomatic assurances were were simply allies and reveal along with about two dozen. Other men have suffered even more in. Uae prisons most notoriously our zine prison these now four and a half years and they're not permitted a review by international red cross or requests in they've been able to get out. Sporadic calls to their families With the help of reprieve where. Mr mayor works. The dots have been connected We know there's torture there we know there's mistreatment and the the men stuck in the uae like brazil. Had all said is worse than guantanamo worse than guantanamo is. So that's why with with eighteen men still there we call the uae gitmo yeast as opposed to get more west and with the numbers are dwindling. Now thirty nine eight with eighteen in the they're really a pair. An biden a serious about closing tano. He needs to in his state department. Needs to look into the concept of re resettlement. Look at people like revolt and guys off some of the gaps. Garrett josh if i can. I just wanted to ask you about this. Particular issue of the uae has gitmo of the east to your analysis What has been the. Us government's reaction to basically offloading prisoners to another gulag totally complicit the uae past all these men often uae. And as far as we know did absolutely nothing to follow up on. Those diplomatic assurances. We apparently our state department at least under donald trump just didn't care Didn't care that they were lied to. And we've seen no evidence that that our state department under the biden administration is really doing anything to remedy the situation in the uae. Some people in the state department of told us their quote working on or they're in touch with people in the uae. But we're seeing nothing and in the meantime we're getting very very scared that reveal might be rendered to russia or in the case of the yemenis who are in the might take them back to yemen where they can suffer just wanted to remind people what joe biden said the last democratic presidential debate when he was asked by pbs moderator michel cinder about closing one tano vice president biden wiping to.

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