A Pakistani taxi driver will leave US detention at Guantanamo Bay after 17 years behind bars. Mistaken for a wanted terrorist, the man suffered horrific torture in American custody, despite never being charged with any crime.
Ahmed Rabbani’s release was announced on Friday by Reprieve, a human rights NGO. Rabbani had been unanimously cleared for release by the prison’s Periodic Review Board, made up of senior officials from six US agencies, including the State Department and Department of Homeland Security.
PRESS RELEASE: Ahmed Rabbani has been unanimously cleared for release from Guantánamo by six US Government agencies.He has been locked up without charge or trial by the US for 19 years, the last 17 of them at #Guantanamo 👇🏾 https://t.co/EUWCZsHqRJ
— Reprieve (@Reprieve) October 22, 2021
Rabbani’s journey through the underbelly of the US’ post-9/11 security infrastructure began in Karachi, Pakistan, in 2002. Mistaken for wanted terrorist Hassan Ghul, the taxi driver was arrested by Pakistani authorities outside Ghul’s apartment complex and sold to American personnel in the country.
Information gleaned from an associate of Rabbani arrested on the same day was used to arrest several suspected Al-Qaeda operatives, including a supposed member of Osama Bin Laden’s security detail. However, Rabbani was never charged with any crime, and is not believed to be involved in terrorism.
Nevertheless, he spent more than 545 days after his arrest being tortured in a CIA ‘black site’ in Afghanistan. The torture inflicted there on Rabbani was detailed in the US Senate’s 2014 torture report, and included long periods of being shackled with his hands outstretched over his head, an agonizing position that led Rabbani to try to cut off his own hand to end the pain.
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Testimony from multiple detainees held in the same CIA prison describes permanent darkness, cells flooded with excrement and infested with vermin, beatings, sleep deprivation, being buried in simulated graves, being stripped naked and doused with cold water, and being denied bathing facilities for months on end.
According to Reprieve, Rabbani’s interrogators knew that “they had the wrong man,” but tortured him anyway. After more than a year in the CIA facility, Rabbani was transferred to the Guantanamo Bay detention camp on US territory in Cuba. He would spend the next 17 years there, without a charge or trial date. (RT)
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