How an Innocent 26-Year-Old Got Sold Into Guantanamo Hell for a $5,000 Bounty
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Copyright, Truthout.org. Reprinted with permission .
Ya Baba! Ya Baba!" Ezzi Deen shouted in Arabic.
The 14-year-old boy was crying out for his father. He last uttered those words as a toddler. Ezzi Deen never received a response then, either.
He remained connected to his father through pictures and letters that trickled into his home from the International Committee of the Red Cross. But it did little to ease his pain. He woke up every morning and imagined, "Today is the day my father will come home."
He had it all planned out: His father would walk through the door and he would leap out of his bed and embrace him. Then he would go outside to play with the other boys in his village, the anguish of the past 11 years gone – just like that.
Ezzi Deen believed in his heart this is exactly how it would play out. He believed this even though his grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins had given up hope that their son and brother would ever return to Yemen.
So, Ezzi Deen wept, dropped to his knees and screamed when his uncle, Muhammed, broke the news on the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that the tragedy had claimed his father as its latest victim.
No, Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif wasn't a passenger on the airplanes that plowed into the twin towers or the Pentagon. Nor was he among the thousands of people on the ground who perished that day.
He was just a man, one of hundreds - thousands perhaps - who was in the wrong place at the wrong time after the tragic events unfolded.
It was not a good time to be a Muslim.
"He was the favorite of all my sons," said Farhan Abdul Latif during a telephone interview with Truthout from his home in Yemen. Adnan was his first-born, a treasured member of a large and loving family.
Before the Arabic interpreter translated Farhan's words into English, his voice had already conveyed the sentiment: Grief is an international language understood by all.
"He never created any problems," Farhan said of Adnan, his voice loud and filled with emotion. "Everybody loved him. He had very good manners. After the accident, his manner and conduct changed a little bit. But not much."
Adnan was a teenager in 1994, when the car he was traveling in flipped over and changed his life forever. He emerged from the wreck with a fractured skull, a punctured eardrum, a hemorrhage above one eye and a legacy of blinding headaches and neurological problems.
Adnan traveled to Jordan for medical treatment, paid for by the Yemini government because his family could not afford it. His hearing and sight impaired, his body wracked with unrelenting pain, Adnan was declared disabled by his government and encouraged to seek further treatment through charitable organizations in other countries.
He spent the next seven years obsessively searching for affordable medical care, his father said. "I have his medical papers that proves this."
When he wasn't helping his father at the family's home goods store, Adnan would visit mosques, clinics and charities in search of medical treatment that was largely unavailable in Yemen. Finally someone at a hospital directed him to Pakistan - that was where he could find reliable, free health care, the man told him.
And so, in August 2001 - a month before terrorists turned commercial jetliners into guided missiles - Adnan gathered his medical records and left home for what would be the last time. He promised his wife and 3-year-old Ezzi Deen that he would soon return as a new man.