Andy Worthington

The Torture of Two Innocent Men Who Just Left Guantanamo

Carol Rosenberg at the Miami Herald broke the news on Saturday that 12 prisoners have been released from Guantánamo. The news followed hints in the Washington Post on Friday that six Yemenis and four Afghans were set to leave, but Rosenberg -- and the East African media -- reported that the men had already been freed and that two Somalis were also released. I'll be writing soon about the Afghans and the Yemenis, but for now I'd like to focus on the stories of the two Somalis: Mohammed Sulaymon Barre and Ismail Mahmoud Muhammad (identified as Ismael Arale).

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How an Innocent Man Was Tortured Into Making False Confessions

In four years of researching and writing about Guantánamo, I have become used to uncovering shocking information, but for sheer cynicism, I am struggling to think of anything that compares to the revelations contained in the unclassified ruling in the habeas corpus petition of Fouad al-Rabiah, a Kuwaiti prisoner whose release was ordered last week by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly (PDF). In the ruling, to put it bluntly, it was revealed that the U.S. government tortured an innocent man to extract false confessions and then threatened him until he obligingly repeated those lies as though they were the truth.

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Who Ordered the Torture of Abu Zubaydah?

For the defendants of the use of torture by U.S. forces -- still led by former Vice President Dick Cheney -- this has been a rocky few weeks, with the publication, in swift succession, of the leaked report by the International Committee of the Red Cross (PDF), based on interviews with the 14 “high-value detainees” transferred to Guantánamo from secret CIA prisons in September 2006, which concluded that their treatment “constituted torture” (and was accompanied by two detailed articles by Mark Danner for the New York Review of Books), the release, by the Justice Department, of four memos issued by the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) in 2002 and 2005, which purported to justify the use of torture by the CIA, and the release of a 231-page investigation into detainee abuse conducted by the Senate Armed Services Committee (PDF.)

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A History of Music Torture in the War on Terror

There's an ambiguous undercurrent to the catchy pop smash that introduced a pig-tailed Britney Spears to the world in 1999 -- so much so that Jive Records changed the song's title to "… Baby One More Time" after executives feared that it would be perceived as condoning domestic violence.

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9/11 Conspirators to Plead Guilty

In a genuinely surprising announcement from Guantánamo, the five men accused of plotting and facilitating the 9/11 attacks -- Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who stated in his tribunal at Guantánamo last March that he was "responsible for the 9/11 operation, from A to Z," Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Mustafa al-Hawsawi, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali and Walid bin Attash -- have declared at today's pre-trial hearing that they "request an immediate hearing session to announce our confessions."

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What the Hamdan Sentence Means for Gitmo

Salim Hamdan's sentence signals the end of Guantánamo

In a decision that will shock those watching the conclusion of the first full U.S. war crimes trial since the Nuremberg Trials, the military jury that convicted Salim Hamdan of providing "material support for terrorism" sentenced him to serve five-and-a-half years in prison. Given that the judge in his case, Navy Capt. Keith Allred, had earlier ruled that he would be given credit for time served since he was first charged under the Commission system in July 2003, this means that he will be eligible for release in five months' time.

The verdict does nothing to convince the many critics of the Military Commission trial system that it is valid -- as there remain too many issues with the Commissions' use of hearsay and coerced evidence, of secret testimony, and of attempts to justify elevating "material support for terrorism" to the level of a war crime, despite no precedent for doing so -- but it must surely come as a relief to those who thought that the jury might have been persuaded by prosecutor John Murphy, who argued that Hamdan's "penalty" should be a sentence of at least 30 years, something "so significant that it forecloses any possibility that he reestablishes his ties with terrorists."

Instead, the sentence is close to the length of time proposed by Hamdan's defense lawyer Charles Swift, the former military lawyer who brought down the Commissions' first incarnation as illegal in the Supreme Court in June 2006. Swift argued that Hamdan should receive a sentence of less than four years because "his cooperation with U.S. intelligence services more than outweighed his culpability as a member of [Osama] bin Laden's motor pool."

This is, I believe, an extremely important point, as it was apparent during Hamdan's two week trial that he had been exploited by those seeking to prosecute him, who had built a case against him through his own words. At issue was the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination, which has been denied to all those deemed "enemy combatants" in the "War on Terror." While this remains unacceptable -- and is intimately connected with the dark heart of the administration's deliberate policy of shredding the Geneva Conventions to facilitate the illegal interrogation of prisoners (whether coercively or not) -- what made it particularly troubling in Hamdan's case was that, whereas other, non-cooperative prisoners had been released from Guantánamo without ever incriminating themselves, Hamdan was being punished for his cooperation.

While legal challenges to the system will be more muted as a result of this verdict, it is unlikely that Hamdan's defenders will be persuaded not to pursue their many, valid complaints about a system which, as Charles Swift explained, remains nothing more than "a made-up tribunal to try anybody we don't like."

However, what this sentence also achieves, which was previously unconceivable, is to cap the disturbingly open-ended nature of the administration's detention policies, in a way that was only previously managed through a plea bargain -- that of the Australian David Hicks, who, in the first of the Commission trials following their resuscitation in the fall of 2006 in the Military Commissions Act, received a nine-month sentence to add to the five years and three months he had already spent in U.S. custody.

Until now, the administration has maintained that, if it wishes, it has the right to hold "enemy combatants" without charge or trial until the end of hostilities, which, it has also admitted, might last for generations. A sentence has now superseded that open-ended policy. If one of Osama bin Laden's drivers gets a sentence of seven years and one month in total (five and half years plus the 19 months of his imprisonment before he was charged) in a system specifically established by the administration to try and convict "terror suspects," it is surely now inconceivable that those who planned the whole post-9/11 detention policy can maintain that they can still continue to hold him as an "enemy combatant" after his sentence has been served -- or, for that matter, that they can continue to hold any of the 130 or so prisoners in Guantánamo who have not been cleared, and who are not scheduled to face a trial by Military Commission, beyond the end of the year.

With this sentence, it appears that the death knell has just been sounded for the whole malign Guantánamo project.

Bin Laden Driver Salim Hamdan Gets Mixed Verdict in First Military Commission Trial

A military jury's verdict on Wednesday in the first U.S. war crimes trial since World War II -- that Yemeni Guantanamo prisoner Salim Hamdan is guilty of material support for terrorism, but not guilty of terrorism itself -- was the culmination of two weeks of proceedings that provided some extraordinary insights into the United States' so-called "War on Terror." And yet, as Jonathan Mahler recently wrote in the New York Times, the lofty ideals of the Nuremberg Trials, which opened with Chief Prosecutor Robert Jackson declaring, "That four great nations, flushed with victory and stung with injury, stay the hand of vengeance and voluntarily submit their captive enemies to the judgment of the law is one of the most significant tributes that power has ever paid to reason," were not in evidence during the Hamdan trial. Nor have they been manifested in the verdict.

Instead, the limited number of outside observers attending the military commission trial of Hamdan, a driver for Osama bin Laden, witnessed presiding judge Keith Allred -- a principled man in an unenviable position -- struggling to turn a novel legal system unconnected to the laws on which the United States were founded into something resembling a fair trial, one to be respected in legal circles, both in the United States and the wider world. The events of the last two weeks revealed this to be a Herculean task.

Today's military commissions are a modified version of a system conceived in the wake of the 9/11 attacks by Vice President Dick Cheney and his chief counsel, David Addington, and ruled illegal and unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in June 2006. The commissions' many critics have remained unconvinced that they can provide an adequate substitute for either U.S. law as practiced on the mainland or the military's own well-established judicial processes. Little, if anything, that has emerged in the last fortnight has helped assuage their doubts. Instead of vindicating Cheney and Addington's belief that a new legal system was required to try "terror suspects," Hamdan's trial revealed a litany of dubious practices masquerading as justice, including a disgraceful use of propaganda, misplaced prosecutorial zeal, the shameful use of hearsay as evidence, abuse of the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination, and woefully blurred distinctions between valid testimony and coerced testimony. The proceedings also provided observers with piercing insights into the interrogation techniques used in the "War on Terror," which have served only to confirm the supremacy of the agencies that favor kindness and psychological maneuvering over those that favor coercion and brutality.

Two episodes toward the end of the proceedings underscored the commission's failings. In the first, defense testimony from government employees was delivered to a closed court, undermining the essential transparency of the process and tilting perceptions of the trial in favor of the prosecution, whose entire case was conducted in the open. In the second, senior al Qaeda operative Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, though not present in person, delivered a statement dismissing Hamdan as nothing more than a "primitive" man, unequipped to be involved in the planning or execution of terrorist attacks. His statement also managed to further undermine the trial through some acute insights into what he described as fundamental failures of the U.S. intelligence agencies.

A Historic Trial, But Is Anyone Watching?

Despite the supposed significance of the Hamdan case, Mahler noted in the Times that the proceedings "hardly have the feel of history in the making."

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A Closer Look at the Hamdan Trial

On June 12, when the Supreme Court ruled, in Boumediene v. Bush, that the prisoners at Guantánamo had constitutional habeas corpus rights, it was not immediately clear if the decision would have an impact on the Military Commissions at Guantánamo, the alternative legal system for trying "War on Terror" prisoners that was stealthily established in November 2001 (bypassing the Justice Department, the State Department and the National Security Agency) by Vice President Dick Cheney and his chief counsel David Addington.

Logic dictated that Boumediene would extend to those facing trial by Military Commission, because, under the terms of the Military Commissions Act (MCA), which was passed by Congress after the Supreme Court struck down the first version of the Commissions as illegal in June 2006, prisoners could only be put forward for trial by Military Commission if they had been designated as "enemy combatants" in the Combatant Status Review Tribunals (CSRTs), the administrative review process established at Guantánamo in 2004.

As with justice, however, logic is in short supply in the executive's approach to terror suspects, who have been deprived of the protections of the Geneva Conventions, tortured, coerced or bribed to make false confessions, and, essentially, designated as "enemy combatants" by Presidential whim alone, with the intention, in most cases, of holding them forever without charge or trial.

So here's the problem: In Boumediene, the Supreme Court ruled that the habeas-stripping provisions of the MCA and its predecessor, 2005's Detainee Treatment Act (DTA), which provided for limited review of the prisoners' CSRTs, did not provide an adequate substitute for habeas, and instructed the lower courts to allow the prisoners' habeas cases to proceed. This process is now underway, as I reported here, but those facing trial by Military Commission were not necessarily included, even though their cases involve the same problems relating to habeas, the DTA and the MCA as all the other cases.

On July 3, lawyers for Salim Hamdan, one of 20 prisoners facing trial by Military Commission, raised this unresolved issue, filing legal papers asking District Judge James Robertson to delay the start of Hamdan's trial, and arguing that he should be allowed to challenge his detention in a federal court, based on the Supreme Court's Boumediene verdict. In a 46-page court filing, his lawyers wrote, "This case raises the question of whether the constitutional right to habeas corpus can be rendered illusory by subjecting an individual to an unconstitutional trial by military commission. Trying Hamdan under a dubious regime whose very legality has been called into question would reduce the legitimacy of the proceedings in this country and in the eyes of the world."

Last Thursday, Judge Robertson heard oral arguments from government lawyers and from Hamdan's civilian lawyer, Neal Katyal. Robertson and Katyal had met before. In 2004, in what the New York Times described as "a theatrically timed federal court injunction," Judge Robertson called a halt to the Commissions, on the basis that the CSRTs did not reach the level of a "competent tribunal," as demanded by the Geneva Conventions. He also ruled that, until a "competent tribunal" determined that Hamdan was not a Prisoner of War (PoW), as defined and protected by the Geneva Conventions, he had the right to be tried under the same judicial system as U.S. soldiers, and added that, even if he was determined not to be a PoW, the Military Commissions as they stood were inadequate and would not be allowed to proceed until their rules were revised to accord with the federal laws governing the trial of soldiers. In a final blow to the administration, Judge Robertson specifically addressed Hamdan's detention in Guantánamo, ruling that he was not to be held indefinitely in solitary confinement and should be returned to the rest of the prisoner population.

This was a significant victory for Hamdan, of course, and although it only lasted until July 2005, when it was overturned by the Court of Appeals, that decision ultimately led all the way to the Supreme Court, where Hamdan gained his second victory in June 2006, in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, the ruling that finally derailed the first version of the Commissions.

Last week, however, Hamdan's run of significant court victories came to an end, after a two-hour hearing with Judge Robertson in which both sides put their cases. Defending the process, and Hamdan's eligibility for the trial, lawyers for the government said, as the Christian Science Monitor explained, that the Commission process "was created by Congress and features an impartial judge and jury, as well as a 'full panoply' of trial rights." In a court filing, Justice Department lawyer Alexander Haas declared, "Such rights for an alien charged with war crimes are utterly unprecedented and far exceed the protections given to the defendants [in prior war crimes tribunals]."

In response, Neal Katyal's brief stated, "The Government notes that the public has a strong interest in the prompt, effective, and efficient administration of justice. Hamdan could not agree more. But … rushing to try him just weeks after the Supreme Court has upended the foundations for his commission and acknowledged his right to habeas will lead to confusion, inefficiencies, and uncertainty." He added, "All he wants is a fair trial. If individuals merely being detained have a right to challenge their detention, then detainees who are set to be tried must have an even stronger right to challenge a trial that may result in life imprisonment or death."

Judge Robertson, however, had other ideas. Siding with the government, who had also declared, "The purpose of constitutional habeas is to test the legality of detention, not to challenge a trial in advance" (even though there were obvious chicken-and-egg conclusions to be drawn from the statement), Judge Robertson agreed that, under the terms of the MCA, Hamdan's lawyers were required to wait until a verdict was reached in the trial before raising constitutional challenges. Curiously, however, he made no mention of how ironic it was that he had ended up defending a much-criticized piece of legislation that had only come about because of the Supreme Court's dismissal of the original Commission system in which he, of course, had played a major part.

And so, on Monday, despite having twice secured significant legal victories, Salim Hamdan was brought from his cell to face the first full U.S. war crimes trial since the Second World War. Noticeably, however, the administration refrained from trumpeting the proceedings as the 21st century's answer to the Nuremberg Trials, even though comparisons with the Nazi war trials have often featured in the government's rhetoric.

Perhaps this was because of Col. Morris Davis. The Commissions' former chief prosecutor, Col. Davis resigned in October 2007, complaining that his superiors had politicized the process, and explaining that he could not continue in his job because he refused to take part in trials that allowed evidence obtained through torture. In February 2008, Col. Davis reported that, during a discussion of the Nuremberg Trials with the Defense Department's chief counsel William J. Haynes II, in which Davis noted that there had been some acquittals, which had "lent great credibility to the proceedings," Haynes told him, "We can't have acquittals. We've been holding these guys for years. How can we explain acquittals? We have to have convictions."

Or perhaps it was because, in the absence of Adolf Hitler, Nuremberg's convenors did not respond by putting one of his drivers on trial instead.

The government alleges that Hamdan was more of a player in al-Qaeda than merely part of the motor pool, and it's possible, I suppose, that his trial will reveal who is telling the truth. More likely it will reveal more about the sleep deprivation (50 days straight) that Hamdan endured, the sexual humiliation, the prolonged isolation, and the cruel effect of all this treatment on his mind, as well as more about an explosive revelation by the former FBI interrogator and "al-Qaeda expert" Ali Soufan, who explained on the trial's second day that Guantánamo, as the Associated Press described it, "is the only place in the world where he has not informed suspects of a right against self-incrimination." "The way it was explained to us," Soufan said, "is Guantánamo Bay is an intelligence collection point."

Judge Allred, presiding over the case, has already stated that he will rule out testimony obtained coercively while Hamdan was held in Afghanistan, but it seems unlikely that he will be able to explain how Hamdan's treatment in Guantánamo was justified -- and how it continues to be justified. It also seems unlikely that Judge Allred will be able to explain why, after being imprisoned for almost as long as the Second World War, Salim Hamdan is not in fact a Prisoner of War, protected from sleep deprivation, sexual humiliation, prolonged isolation and sustained interrogation by the Geneva Conventions, and entitled to ask, as a prisoner who can be held until the end of hostilities, if it is really feasible for the government to declare that it is engaged in a "war" that might last for generations.

This, I think, is the conversation we should be having, but it will clearly not happen until something else forces the collapse of the administration's foolish and unjust substitute for a fair trial.

Who Are the Gitmo Prisoners Released With Sami al-Haj?

Late last Thursday evening, I joined in the widespread celebrations -- at least in those parts of the world that care about the injustice of holding people in prison without charge or trial -- that attended the repatriation of al-Jazeera journalist Sami al-Haj from Guantánamo, his home for the last six years, to Sudan.

Although a few news outlets have briefly mentioned some of the other men released with Sami -- two of his compatriots, a Moroccan and five Afghans -- their stories remain largely unknown. However, as a result of the research I undertook for my book The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison, I'm able to shine some light on their stories, which otherwise are unlikely to receive much coverage -- if at all -- outside their home countries.

While none have the extraordinary impact of Sami's story -- which, I note, has the Pentagon so scared that three officials told ABC News on Friday that he was "a manipulator and a propagandist," who produced a "constant drumbeat of allegations" about the treatment of prisoners in Guantánamo -- they do nothing to support the administration’s constantly unraveling claim that the prisoners are "the worst of the worst." This claim, made by Rear Admiral John D. Stufflebeem on January 28, 2002, has been parroted at the highest levels of government in the years since, even though 501 prisoners have now been released, and the administration has stated that it only intends to try between 60 to 80 of the 273 prisoners who remain in Guantánamo.

On the cargo plane containing Sami al-Haj that landed in Khartoum in the early hours of May 2 were Amir Yacoub al-Amir and Walid Ali, who, like Sami, were bound like beasts for their journey despite finally being transported to freedom. Both had also been held for over six years without charge or trial, but unlike Sami, whose plight was widely publicized by al-Jazeera, by his lawyers at the legal action charity Reprieve, and by groups campaigning for the rights of journalists, including the Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Sans Frontières, both of these men had barely registered on the media’s radar.

Amir Yacoub al-Amir, great-grandson of Sudans Caliph

36-year old Amir Yacoub al-Amir was one of at least 120 prisoners (around 15 percent of Guantánamo's entire population), who were captured not in Afghanistan, but in Pakistan, without ever having been anywhere near the battlefields of Afghanistan. In his tribunal at Guantánamo (one of the Combatant Status Review Tribunals convened in 2004 and 2005 to assess whether, on capture, the prisoners had been correctly designated as “enemy combatants” without rights), al-Amir strenuously denied an allegation that he was associated with al-Qaeda, saying, "I disagree with al-Qaeda on everything," and also denied being associated with the Taliban.

Seized from a car in Peshawar in March 2002, while visiting Pakistan, al-Amir’s story echoes reports by numerous other innocent men seized in Pakistan, who said that they were captured and sold for money, a situation that was confirmed at the highest levels in 2006, when, in his autobiography, President Musharraf boasted that in return for handing over 369 terror suspects (who were mostly transferred to Guantánamo), "We have earned bounty payments totaling millions of dollars." In Guantánamo, al-Amir explained that he was seized because the Pakistani government "was capturing any Arab and giving them to the United States as terrorists."

Like Sami al-Haj, al-Amir was represented by Reprieve, and in 2007 Reprieve’s Director, Clive Stafford Smith, traveled to Sudan to meet his family, where he discovered that his great-grandfather, a cousin of the Khalifa (Caliph), had, with numerous other relatives, been captured and imprisoned by the British army, after the fall of General Gordon's regime in 1885, in conditions that were remarkable similar to those prevailing at Guantánamo. In an article in the New Statesman, Stafford Smith described how the prisoners were "dispatched (or, in modern terms, rendered)" to Egypt, where conditions were so brutal that al-Amir’s great-grandfather died, and noted that, during his visit, members of the government, and other relatives of the Khalifa, "expressed concern that Amir Yacoub had been illegally rendered, and was now being held, like his great-grandfather, by the hyperpower of the day, in a brutal and lawless prison far from home."

Walid Ali, survivor of an Afghan massacre

33-year old Walid Ali, whose story has only ever been reported in The Guantánamo Files, explained in 2005 to his Administrative Review Board -- convened to assess whether the prisoners were still regarded as a threat to the United States or as an ongoing source of intelligence -- that he had traveled to Pakistan to teach the Koran, but had then been drawn to the conflict in Afghanistan, where he joined the Taliban, serving as a guard for 25 to 30 days.

Like several other prisoners, Ali told the Board that he had been inspired to help the Taliban fight the Russians, which was not as far-fetched as it sounds, as General Rashid Dostum, the Northern Alliance’s pre-eminent Uzbek commander, had served with the Russians throughout the Soviet occupation of the 1980s, before repeatedly switching his allegiance during the chaos of the 1990s. In his hearing, Ali appeared genuinely bewildered that Dostum had become an ally of the United States, and that he was therefore accused of fighting Americans.

Ali was one of at least 50 Guantánamo prisoners to survive a massacre at the Qala-i-Janghi fort (and improvised prison) in northern Afghanistan in November 2001. They, along with the "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh, were the only survivors out of up to 400 foreign Taliban fighters -- mainly from the Gulf countries, North Africa, Pakistan and Uzbekistan -- who had left the city of Kunduz, the Taliban's last outpost in the north of Afghanistan, after a surrender was negotiated between senior Taliban leaders and the Northern Alliance.

Tricked into believing that they would be allowed to return home after giving up their weapons, some of the men responded to the betrayal -- and fears that they were to be executed -- by starting an uprising (in which a CIA agent, Johnny "Mike" Spann, was killed), which was savagely put down by U.S. bombers, representatives of the U.S. and British Special Forces, and Alliance soldiers. The survivors -- many of whom had their hands tied behind their backs when the fighting started, and were subsequently wounded -- hid in a basement while the battle raged, and it's probable, therefore, that most did not actually have anything to do with the uprising. After seven days, in which they were shot at and bombed, and finally flooded out, the survivors were transferred to General Dostum's prison at Sheberghan, and were then taken to Guantánamo via the U.S. prison at Kandahar airport.

In a written statement to his ARB, Ali told one of the most complete stories of being caught in the crossfire and suffering in the basement:

"They handcuffed us so tightly that the circulation was cut off, and I became unconscious. What happened after is ... all I know is they were firing bullets at us while we were handcuffed and American airplanes came and started firing at us and killed a lot of us. I was handcuffed and wounded in my back with a bullet and it went to my belly where it is now. And I feel the pain of it ... While I was on the ground an American airplane fired a bomb and shrapnel hit my head and it is still there in my head. And then I went unconscious and I did not feel anything until I woke up in a room underground ... Of course, they used all [kinds of] different weapons in order to kill us. They even used water and electricity. And they threw a bomb on us. And a lot of times they opened water on us to the point [that] we had water up to our necks. Of course, the wounded ones couldn't stand up and they were killed in the water."

Said al-Boujaadia, cleared for 18 months

Some time after the plane carrying Sami al-Haj and his compatriots touched down in Khartoum, it dropped off another prisoner in Morocco. 39-year old Said al-Boujaadia, also represented by Reprieve, had surfaced briefly in the media last December, but his story was largely unknown until last month, when I wrote an article that focused on his particular route to Guantánamo.

In 2001, al-Boujaadia traveled to Afghanistan with his Afghan wife, whom he had met and married on a previous visit, and their three children. Like many others, his life fell apart after the 9/11 attacks, and the U.S.-led invasion that began in October. Although he managed to secure the safe escape of his family, he, like almost a third of the Guantánamo prisoners -- a mixture of missionaries, charity workers, migrants and Taliban foot soldiers -- was captured as he attempted to help another family cross the Pakistani border to safety.

Although he was cleared for release in late 2006, when his review board decided that he did not pose a threat to the United States, his planned departure, in March 2007, never took place, because he was requested as a witness at the trial by military commission of another prisoner, Salim Hamdan, a Yemeni who had been a driver for Osama bin Laden. Hamdan's defense counsel offered alternatives that would have allowed al-Boujaadia to be released -- including videotaping a statement from him, or allowing him to testify from Morocco -- but these options were turned down by the military authorities, who continued to hold him without even offering him an explanation.

On December 6, 2007, over a year after he was cleared for release, al-Boujaadia finally testified on Hamdan's behalf. His testimony was apparently required because he was seized on the same day as Hamdan, but although he recalled seeing Hamdan lying face down on the floor in the makeshift Afghan prison he was taken to after his capture, he had no other information to offer. Even so, it took the authorities another five months to release him.

Imprisoned on his return, al-Boujaadia is happy to submit to any investigations that the Moroccan government thinks appropriate, as Clive Stafford Smith reported during a visit to Morocco in March. As Stafford Smith added on Friday, however, "We respectfully request that the Government of Morocco complete any investigation of Mr. al-Boujaadia quickly, so he may be swiftly reunited with his wife, his children and his elderly mother."

In a second article to follow, Andy looks at the stories of the Afghans released with Sami al-Haj, Amir Yacoub al-Amir, Walid Ali and Said al-Boujaadia.

BRAND NEW STORIES

Happy Holidays!