Subsequent month will mark my nineteenth yr of detention by america authorities, although I’ve by no means been charged with a criminal offense, not to mention placed on trial.
Earlier this month was the closest I’ve come to my “day in court docket,” when my attorneys offered my case to the Periodic Evaluation Board. If the Board recommends my launch from Guantanamo, although this may be a suggestion from the U.S.’s nationwide safety companies, whether or not I’m launched and the way lengthy this takes would nonetheless be as much as President Biden. My destiny lies in his fingers.
Like the whole lot right here, what the Board does is secret. I’ve not had allegations put to me, so I can not reply to them. I do know that from the beginning, my case was one in all mistaken id. Almost twenty years of my life have been stolen as a result of the U.S. thought I used to be another person. I used to be offered for a bounty to the U.S. primarily based on the false declare that I used to be an extremist named Hassan Ghul.
The U.S. Senate’s Torture Report later revealed that after I was being tortured within the Darkish Jail in Kabul into saying I used to be Ghul, the U.S. really captured the true Hassan Ghul and introduced him to the identical jail. However ultimately they let him go and despatched me to Guantanamo. He apparently went again to what he had been doing earlier than, and the U.S. killed him in a drone strike. In the meantime, I’m merely collateral harm within the so-called “struggle on terror.”
I’ve been successfully faraway from the world. My spouse has needed to survive all these years with out me. My youngsters, now adults, grew up with out their father. I’ve by no means met my youngest son, Jawad, who was born after I used to be detained. He’s now 18 years outdated. I’m allowed to have a Skype name with my household roughly as soon as a month, however I’ve by no means even touched Jawad. Can any mum or dad think about that?
What’s my life? Is it life in any respect? My solely technique of peaceable protest is starvation strikes, which have introduced me near demise. Right now I’m solely about 79 or 80 kilos, with greater than half of me gone.
If I needed to describe Guantanamo to the world, I’d say it’s a lawless jail the place the U.S. has wasted $6 billion to imprison folks with out trial, incomes nothing however a popularity for injustice. They now spend over $13 million a yr simply to carry me right here. Think about the nice that could possibly be achieved with that cash, and the goodwill it may earn. Possibly they may even start to compensate me for the torture I’ve suffered.
What’s my life? Is it life in any respect? My solely technique of peaceable protest is starvation strikes, which have introduced me near demise. Right now I’m solely about 79 or 80 kilos, with greater than half of me gone. I take off my jail shirt in my cell in entrance of the digital camera and lie on my metal mattress, so the guards can see what they’re doing to me. I appear like one of many ravenous folks within the movies of famine in Africa. It’s all I can do to bodily specific each my household’s struggling and my very own. I’m usually paralyzed by weak spot, unable to stroll or transfer my physique.
The response I get is a thick three-and-a-half-foot tube pushed up my nostril ― it’s thick so it hurts extra after they pump liquid in sooner ― after which pulled out after every feeding within the “torture chair” as a result of that causes extra ache. That every day expertise sums up my life: a force-feeding process that’s meant to be carried out kindly in a hospital, however has been amended to inflict intentional ache daily (and is described by the United Nations as torture itself).
It’s the newest in a protracted collection of torture strategies, totaling greater than 60, to which I’ve been subjected whereas in detention. Within the CIA’s “Darkish Jail,” which derives its identify from the whole darkness through which we have been held, a medieval methodology of torture was used on me. Designed to trigger agony to “witches” and so-called heretics in centuries previous, this methodology, referred to as the strappado, concerned hanging me by my wrists to slowly dislocate my shoulders.
I’m underneath no illusions that I’m being force-fed out of any concern for my well being. Relatively, my demise could be a scandal that will shed additional gentle on the grave abuses of our elementary human rights, and gas the rising momentum behind the marketing campaign for Guantanamo Bay’s speedy closure.
There was some fleeting hope after Biden’s promise to just do that. Nevertheless it waned as the truth dawned that Obama made the identical promise to no avail. One inmate was just lately launched ― the primary throughout Biden’s presidency ― however hope is a luxurious my household and I merely can not afford. After the psychological struggling we have now endured throughout my 19-year imprisonment, permitting ourselves to really feel hopeful about my launch, primarily based on guarantees by a president that he has not but fulfilled, may push us to the breaking level.
I attempt to distract myself ― from the concern that I’ll by no means escape this jail, from the sensation that the world has forgotten me ― by portray. However as I proceed sketching empty glassware, I’m stuffed with a way of dread that Biden’s promise to shut Guantanamo could also be simply as hole as these glasses.
Ahmed Rabbani is a taxi driver from Karachi, Pakistan, who has been detained with out cost by the U.S. for 19 years. The in depth torture to which he was subjected by U.S. personnel is detailed within the Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture.
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