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We Lock People Up Forever Without Trial at Bagram, We Ship Them There From Around the World
If the shame and danger of this isn't reason enough to completely end the occupation of Afghanistan, as two-thirds of people in the United States demand, there is a Freedom Plaza in Washington DC that would make an excellent Tahrir Square. -- DS
By Daphne Eviatar
In the summer of 2008, the United States military captured a 16-year-old Pakistani boy and imprisoned him at the Bagram air base in Afghanistan. According to his lawyers, for over a year his family had no idea where he was. When he was finally allowed to speak to relatives nearly two years later due to intervention by the Red Cross, Hamidullah Khan told his brother that he had had a hearing in the U.S. prison. The U.S. military judges had admitted lacking any evidence against him and recommended he be returned home to his family in Pakistan. Months later, he remains imprisoned at the U.S. detention facility in Afghanistan.
Hamidullah Khan is not alone. Of the 41 men who come from outside Afghanistan and remain locked in the U.S.-run prison at Bagram, more than a dozen have been recommended for release by U.S. military tribunals. Yet only one is currently scheduled to be sent home.
I arrived in Afghanistan last week to research U.S. detention here. According to the recently-released detainees I interviewed, prison conditions and treatment have significantly improved in recent years and prisoners now at least have a chance to plead their case in a hearing -- a big step up from the policies of the Bush administration. But I was shocked to learn that for some reason no one seems to know, prisoners from outside Afghanistan who are imprisoned here aren't being sent home even after they've won their case and been recommended for release.