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?