June 5, 2023

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The United Nations calls for the release of prisoner Abu Zubaydah, who was tortured by the CIA

The United Nations Human Rights Committee has urged the United States to immediately release Abu Zubaydah, a prisoner at Guantánamo Bay and the first detainee sank by the CIA after the September 11, 2001, attacks.

the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention He also said that after examining other cases in Guantánamo over the past 15 years, he had seen a pattern that could “constitute crimes against humanity”.

The prisoner, whose real name is Zain al-Abidin Muhammad Hussain, was arrested in a raid in Pakistan in 2002 and has been held at the US naval base in Cuba without charge since 2006.

The United States has argued that the basis for his indefinite detention in the war on terror is that although he was not a member of al-Qaeda, he helped jihadists get to Afghanistan for training before the September 11 attacks.

The commission, which has no enforcement mechanism, also found that Abu Zubaydah was denied a meaningful review of his arrest and was thus unlawfully detained. “The appropriate remedy is to release Mr. Zubaida immediately and grant him an enforceable right to compensation and other reparations, in accordance with international law.” The group said in an opinion.

He was the first prisoner of the CIA’s “black site,” a global network of secret prisons overseas that held more than 100 men beyond the reach of US law and the International Committee of the Red Cross from 2002 to 2006.

Two CIA contract psychologists devised a torture program of “enhanced interrogation techniques,” specifically for use in an agency prison in Thailand, where he was waterboarded, deprived of sleep, and confined in a coffin-like box.

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In 2019, Abu Zubaydah drew sketches of how he was tortured. His lawyers made the cartoons public, and the face of one of the interrogators is embossed behind a black box.

The report criticized five other countries in which the United States detained Abu Zubaydah, Afghanistan, Thailand, Poland, Morocco and Lithuania. In 2018, the European Court of Human Rights criticized Lithuania and Romania for their complicity in the CIA programme.

The UN also denounced the “complicity” of Britain, whose intelligence agencies asked American interrogators to interrogate the prisoner in black sites despite knowledge of his “severe mistreatment”.

It is the latest in a series of condemnations of the US issued since the UN group, based in Geneva, adopted the 19-page opinion in November. The document was made public on Friday.

Other UN human rights investigations have sharply criticized US military prison wartime healthcare and policy It is considered a detainee’s artwork It is owned by the US government.

Abu Zubaydah’s attorney, Lt. Col. Chantelle M. Higgins, of the US Marine Corps, said the conviction should provide “greater incentive for the United States to find a place for him to go and release him.”

Although Abu Zubaydah was born in Saudi Arabia, he is a Palestinian with no nearby country to take him in.

Helen Duffy, the international human rights lawyer who brought his case to the United Nations body, said on Monday that Abu Zubaydah “has a well-founded fear of further abuse if he is sent to Saudi Arabia, and we hope to reach out to the United States and other countries on alternative resettlement sites.” .

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Colonel Higgins suggested that Qatar might be a suitable location, noting that the country “has been generous and successful in receiving foreigners held at Guantanamo.”