The U.S. is currently holding 60 detainees indefinitely under law of war authority at the prison near Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan. All 60 men are non-Afghans; about two-thirds of them are Pakistani. They are the only Bagram detainees that the U.S. still has custody of following the transfer of Afghan prisoners to the Afghan government in March. In a letter addressed to the U.S. Senate, written last month and provided exclusively to Rolling Stone, the father of one of those detainees pleads for his son’s release.
Amin Al-Bakri, a Yemeni citizen, has been held by the U.S. without charge since he was captured in 2002. Prior to his detention at Bagram in 2003, he was tortured at undisclosed CIA black site prisons, according to his attorneys. He is one of three petitioners in the habeas corpus case Al-Maqaleh v. Obama, which is currently before the Washington, D.C. circuit of appeals for the second time.
Al-Bakri has been cleared for release three separate times, according to his attorneys, yet his future remains unclear – and he has been forced to confront the possibility he will die in U.S. custody. At Al-Bakri’s request, his personal representative before the Detainee Review Boards at Bagram recently sent Al-Bakri’s last will and testament to his attorney, Ramzi Kassem. “The fact that Amin entrusted me with his last will and testament reflects the difficult possibilities that he must come to grips with in his endless ordeal,” says Kassem, who is also a law professor at the City University of New York. “Amin languishes in indefinite U.S. captivity although his country, Yemen, is willing to welcome him back, and does not object to his resettlement in a third country.”
Al-Bakri’s father’s petition to the U.S. Senate, translated from Arabic and provided by Kassem, reads as follows in full:
Sunday, July 28, 2013
Subject: A call for the release of Amin Al-Bakri
Honorable U.S. Senators (Washington),
May God keep you in his care,
I greet you with the Islamic greeting of peace.
Distinguished senators, you have been chosen by the American people to represent them in keeping with the principles and values on which the Constitution of the United States was built. Chief among these is the accomplishment of justice, the protection of human rights, and the promotion of these principles among all nations. These are the ideals that the American[s] take pride in, the very same ideals I enjoin you to follow.
It is for these reasons that we, the family of Amin al-Bakri, are reaching out to you. I am Amin’s father. My son has been detained at the prison on the U.S. base at Bagram, Afghanistan, for eleven years (since 2002). He is being wrongfully held without charge or trial, deprived of his family, his three children, and his freedom during life’s most beautiful years. During these twelve years of incarceration he has aged more than forty years. Amin is 43 years old now but looks as if he is 70. He suffers from multiple illnesses as a result of his long ordeal.
Is that fair? Is it acceptable to the American people?
We know that you represent the American people who have never accepted nor will they ever accept human rights violations, including this appalling injustice. Therefore, we demand that you erase this disgrace and end this dark chapter of American history by intervening actively and decisively with the U.S. government to secure the prompt release and return of our son, Amin al-Bakri, to his family and three children.
We are all hopeful that you will fulfill your duty.
May you remain in God’s safety,
Submitted by the detainee’s father,