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How an Innocent 26-Year-Old Got Sold Into Guantanamo Hell for a $5,000 Bounty

He was just a man, one of hundreds - thousands perhaps - who was in the wrong place at the wrong time after 9/11.

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Adnan's younger brother, Muhammed, told Truthout in a recent interview he is not surprised his brother expressed himself through poetry while imprisoned at Guantanamo.

"Adnan created a lot of poetry about nature and the things around him when he was a young man," Muhammed said through an interpreter. "He was very good. He also very much liked to read a lot."

A three-year age difference separated Adnan and Muhammed, who were very close.

"We went to the same school together and were friends during our childhood and took care of each other and loved each other very much," Muhammed said. "I also remember how much he liked to play sports with the other boys. No specific sport. Just whatever was available in the village that could be made into a sport."

Muhammed said, for a time, he believed he would see his brother again and that certainly seemed to be a possibility when the Bush administration, despite insisting that Adnan fought with the Taliban, recommended  Adnan's transfer out of Guantanamo no less than three times between 2004 and 2008.

Fight for Freedom

One Kafka-esque moment of Adnan's detention came during his 2005 Combatant Status Review Tribunal where the tribunal president asked Adnan to respond to the charges leveled against him. Adnan protested because the name on the complaint read aloud was not his.

"Well, that's the name we have," the tribunal president replied.

Adnan continued to languish at Guantanamo, largely due to disagreements between the US and Yemen over the conditions the US set to allow for his repatriation and rehabilitation, according to a State Department official privy to the diplomatic communications in Adnan's case.

The official declined to elaborate and requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with the media.

When Barack Obama was elected president it seemed that Adnan had a real shot at reuniting with Ezzi Dean, his wife and the rest of his family in Yemen. Aside from promising to permanently shutter the island prison, Obama set up a task force to review all of the cases at Guantanamo and decide who should stay, who should go and who could be prosecuted for war crimes.

In 2010, the task force issued a report that recommended the release of 126 prisoners. Adnan was one of them. But only his attorneys knew about it. The information was deemed "protected," meaning they could not discuss it publicly.

Remes and the other lawyers on Adnan's legal team continued to pursue one simple issue: getting his case before a judge so the circumstances surrounding his detention could see the light of day.

Not long after Obama's task force issued its recommendations, a federal judge in the nation's capital granted Adnan his habeas petition and ordered his release from Guantanamo.

Judge Henry Kennedy ruled that the government could not prove Adnan attended a training camp and was a Taliban foot soldier. The cornerstone of the government's case against Adnan was a single CIA intelligence report that purported to show he had incriminated himself after he was captured.

Judge Kennedy found that document "unconvincing" and said Adnan's continued detention was "not lawful."

Why the Obama administration decided to appeal the ruling when its own task force - and even the Bush administration - recommended Adnan's transfer to Yemen is unknown. The US Justice Department did not return repeated requests for comment.

In October 2011, the government won. A divided three-judge panel on the US Court of Appeals, Washington, DC, Circuit, vacated the lower court's ruling. The judges essentially said the government's evidence, no matter how thin or unreliable, "was entitled to a presumption of regularity."