The longest-held prisoner at Guantanamo Bay has launched a new attempt to secure his release, trying through multiple courts to win his freedom and pointing out he has never been charged.
Abu Zubaydah, now 52, was captured in Pakistan in March 2002 in a raid by U.S. and Pakistani security services.
U.S. intelligence concluded that he was a militant in Afghanistan in the 1980s and ’90s, but never joined Al Qaeda and had no ties to the September 11 attacks.
He is believed to have acted as an assistant for the fighters in Afghanistan, working as a camp administrator and facilitator. The U.S. have vaguely accused him of knowledge of multiple terror attacks, although there is no evidence he was directly involved.
Yet this summer he was declared too dangerous to be ever released, and is one of three held in indefinite law-of-war detention, facing tribunal charges nor being recommended for release.
Abu Zubaydah, 52, was captured in Faisalabad, Pakistan, on March 28, 2002. He was the first to be taken to C.I.A. ‘black sites’ and waterboarded
Guantanamo Bay camp in Cuba was home at one point to 780 detainees. Now, 30 remain
Abu Zubaydah was moved to Guantanamo Bay in 2006, and his lawyers argue that he should be freed, The New York Times reported.
‘He is a human being and clearly deserves a chance at freedom,’ said Lt. Col. Chantell M. Higgins, a lawyer with the U.S. Marine Corps who has represented Abu Zubaydah for six years.
She said she was working ‘to assist the U.S. government in releasing Mr. Abu Zubaydah and finding a safe and suitable country to resettle him peacefully and productively.’
The new effort began in September, with a lawsuit filed in Spokane, Washington, against two psychologists who waterboarded him at a black site in Thailand five months after his arrest, in August 2002.
He was tortured at the site, with sleep deprivation, being confined to a box, and other ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’.
One of the psychologists, John Bruce Jessen, lives in the federal jurisdiction of the Spokane district.
Jessen has previously faced legal action over his techniques: in 2017, a settlement was reached with two former prisoners, and the family of a third who died.
Solomon Shinerock, a former federal and New York City prosecutor who is leading the defense of Abu Zubaydah in the Spokane case, said he was used as ‘a guinea pig to test the bounds of human tolerance.’
CIA psychologists James Mitchell and John Bruce Jessen. Jessen lives in the Spokane area, and last month was sued by Abu Zubaydah’s lawyers for his involvement in the waterboarding program
Abu Zubaydah is pictured in a photo from his detention. He has been held since 2006 in Guantanamo
Lawyers for Abu Zubaydah have previously filed cases in Britain, accusing the British government of complicity in his torture, and in Poland, where he was held in a secret C.I.A. prison after Thailand.
On Friday, another new case was filed in Washington DC, The New York Times reported.
They are petitioning a judge to rule that the C.I.A. deprived him of when it destroyed videotapes of his interrogations in Thailand, arguing that the tapes would have helped his bid to secure his freedom.
‘Ninety tapes, covering possibly hundreds of hours of interrogations, were destroyed,’ the 33-page petition, obtained by the paper said.
‘The tapes were relevant to terrorism investigations, criminal investigations and the petitioner’s deprivation of liberty.’
And later this month, another angle will be tried: the United Nations Human Rights Committee, in Geneva, will hold a session on his case.
They cannot order his release, but can endorse it and recommend that the United States pay him reparations and issue a formal apology.
Since 2002, roughly 780 detainees have been held at Guantanamo Bay.
Now, 30 remain.
One of the 30 has been convicted: 10 are awaiting trial.
Sixteen have been recommended for transfer to another country.
Abu Zubaydah and two others remain in limbo, with neither charges nor recommendation for release.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk