Four innocent people remain in Guantanamo Bay

After the release earlier this month of five ethnic Uighurs who were being held in Guantanamo Bay despite not being enemy combatants — or involved with terrorism at all — four more people known to be innocent remain imprisoned there.

And I’m not just saying they’re innocent. That’s what a military tribunal which heard their case said. And yet they are still “detainees,” without reason or explanation by the government.

Military records show that of the 759 people ever held at Guantanamo Bay, 38 were found to be “no longer enemy combatants” by military tribunals convened to hear the case of each detainee.

They are men such as Zakirjan Hassam, an Uzbek refugee who was sold to U.S. forces in Afghanistan for $5,000 in May 2002 by people he mistakenly believed would shelter him. He ended up in Guantanamo Bay the following month and is still there today.

According to the U.S. military, Hassam is not an enemy, and a military tribunal decided in 2004 that his stay at Guantanamo Bay had been based on inaccurate information. There is no evidence that Hassam took up arms against anyone or that he ever supported terrorism, and his only apparent link to alleged terrorist groups were conversations with fellow detainees during his imprisonment at Guantanamo Bay, according to testimony by Hassam that is not disputed by the government.

“He’s lost four years of his life for being in the wrong place at the wrong time and for being sold to U.S. forces,” said Christopher Moore, a New York lawyer who represents Hassam. — Washington Post

How many innocent people is too many in this global war on terror? How many innocent people locked up does it take before it becomes not a war on terror, but a war of terrorizing the innocent?

One thought on “Four innocent people remain in Guantanamo Bay

  • May 27, 2006 at 2:42 am

    Gosh, that graphic, I better comment 🙂

    Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and a few other NGOs, have designated June Torture Awareness Month. I’ve created a blogroll you can join if you’re interested. You can find it here. The idea is that everyone is linked to from the blogroll, and in exchange, you discuss torture (as you already do), and link to the Torture Awareness site to help support the NGOs.

    There’s a lot of bloggers concerned about human rights abuse in the War on Terror. If we coordinate, we can show our support and help Amnesty and HRW make Torture Awareness Month a success.

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