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5.10.2020 Afghan Inmate Languishing in Guantanamo with No Charges while Taliban Freed of Life Sentence
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I, the ISN 3148, am sitting in Guantánamo, as I hear about the Afghan
government’s promise to release a hundred more prisoners. The news report
said they would be released very soon, over the next few days. The idea is
that releasing prisoners helps bring peace in the country, as both the
Afghan government and the Taliban sit together to determine a political
settlement in the country.

It is a fair judgment that visions to bring peace and solidarity in the
country despite the odds, where Afghan could follow their dreams with
complete peace of mind. But, this move leaves me with thoughts in my head,
as I have been languishing behind the bars with no charges for 13 years.

It was Dwight D. Eisenhower, overall Allied commander in the battle
against the Nazis and later the Republican U.S. president, who said: “I
think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments
had better get out of their way and let them have it.”  If a Republican
American military man could see this more than half a century ago, then
surely so can the rest of us. Perhaps even the current Republican American
president can see it, though he dodged the Vietnam War and said that people
who got killed fighting Hitler were “losers”.

We desperately need peace in Afghanistan, after all these years of war.
But in the end, there can be no peace without justice. It is worth
remembering that President Eisenhower also said: “The world no longer has
a choice between force and law; if civilization is to survive, it must
choose the rule of law.” So I strongly support the release of prisoners,
as it is required by international law – the Geneva Conventions, agreed by
almost every country in the world in the wake of World War II, dictate that
prisoners should be released at the earliest opportunity.

But it does make me feel lonely as I sit in my cell, wondering why the
U.S. does not apply the rule to me? I am a nobody, one of 220 Afghan
detainees held here in Guantánamo who even the U.S. says were
insignificant. These men have gone home, but I remain here alone. It makes
no sense when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tells President Ashraf Ghani
he must release hundreds of Taliban and tells the Taliban they must
release their government prisoners if the U.S. is unwilling to release a
little person like me.

It may be the sunny Caribbean, yet justice is in a deep freeze here in
Guantánamo. I am allowed to challenge my detention in an American
court, yet not a single person has been ordered released by the American
courts since this place opened in February 2002. I am allowed a “Periodic
Review Board” which decides whether the mightiest nation on earth should
feel threatened by me. It is meaningless, as President Trump decreed on
Twitter that there should be no more releases from this prison.

In truth, I am no threat to the U.S. – I have no room in my heart for
hatred, no matter how badly I have been treated, and I feel nothing but
gratitude for the American lawyers who represent me for nothing. However,
my very presence here is a threat to peace, because it is an injustice.

If we are to have peace in Afghanistan, it must be a peace that is real.
It must be peace for Afghans, and between all Afghans. In the end, it
means that the foreigners must leave, though if the U.S. wants to reach a
lasting peace, they are welcome to give money for reconstruction. But they
should not devote their money to military weapons.

This is what I want most for my country and for my daughter. She is now
thirteen years old – celebrating her birthday without me every year I have
been held without trial in this awful place. What I want most for her is an
education, an opportunity. She wants to be a doctor, so she can help the
unfortunate people of Afghanistan who have suffered all these years.

This is where we should spend our money. After all, President Eisenhower
also said: “If the money spent on armaments was spent on education, there
would be no more wars.”

DISCLAIMER – The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the
authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The
Khaama Press News Agency. We welcome opinions and submissions to Khaama
Press Opinions– Please email them to info@khaama.com.

AUTHOR
Haroon Asadullah
Haroon Asadullah of Jalalabad, who has never been charged with any crime
by the US military, continues to be wrongfully detained for over 13 years.
He leaves behind a daughter, Maryam, who was an infant when he was
arrested.


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