Guantanamo detainee found dead after he was supposed to be released in 2009

Adnan Farham Abdul Latif, a 32-year-old Yemeni citizen, was a Guantanamo detainee since 2002. Latif was found dead in his prison cell last weekend. Latif had no medical problems, and was found unconscious and unresponsive in his cell Saturday afternoon. Efforts were made to revive him, and he was rushed to the hospital at the base and soon after pronounced dead. An autopsy was conducted on Sunday, but the results have not been released at this time.

It was recently disclosed that he had been cleared for release three years ago by the Obama administration task force that concluded that his detention was no longer necessary. This conclusion requires a unanimous vote of all U.S. intelligence agencies. Pentagon officials had recommended Latif be released as early as 2004, but he was caught up in frivolous legal battles over the status of detainees.

Latif spent over ten years of his life in Guantanamo Bay and was never charged with a single crime or accused of violating a single law. He was brought to the prison in 2002 after being turned over by Pakistani police to the U.S. military following the invasion of Afghanistan. Latif had said he suffered from brain injuries as a result of car accident in Yemen and had gone to Pakistan for free medical help.

In 2002, U.S. military officials originally claimed that Latif had been asked to leave Yemen by an al-Qaida facilitator named Abu Khalud.  He also allegedly received military training in a camp in Afghanistan. However, there is no corroborated evidence that Latif ever met Khalud or participated in combatant/terrorist training.

Latif endured tremendous physical and mental suffering while in Guantanamo Bay. He was often heavily sedated by the guards and put into solitary confinement. Latif said, “This prison is a piece of hell that kills everything, the spirit, the body, and kicks away all the symptoms of health from them.” He also said that he would take any opportunity he could get to commit suicide.

Latif’s death is the ninth at Guantanamo Bay since the prison was opened in January 2002 and the third since last year.  “The only detainees who have been released from Gitmo in the last two years have been in caskets.” This shows just how urgent the matter of closing the prison is.

Should the prison automatically be closed after this incident? Is the government deliberately tying up these investigations with frivolous legal matters? Do they have some hidden objective? Should the people responsible for not releasing Latif in 2009 be prosecuted? What does this say about the United States’ legal system as a whole?

Source: Michael Isikoff, NBC News- World News on NBCNEWS.com

 

One comment

  1. From this article it almost seems clear-cut that the United States is violating several international laws regarding the detention of innocent people. While I understand the initial need for Gitmo, the ability of the US government to imprison a human being for years after it was recommended he be released, is beyond comprehension. Our country was founded on beliefs that one is innocent until proven guilty and that no person shall be detained without cause. Adnan Farham Abdul Latif was detained without any specific reason other than a guess about his connection to terrorists. Even if Latif was connected to terrorists, there needs to be some evidence of that fact. What would our nation become if the authorities could put a person in prison because they “suspected” that person of committing a crime without any real evidence supporting it? Latif was deprived of nearly a third of his life in a prison, the first seven years of which there was hardly enough evidence to justify his presence, and the final three years after U.S. Intelligence agencies had concluded there was not enough. Guantanamo Bay, in my opinion, creates more trouble for the U.S. than it prevents. I am sure that other terrorist groups are salivating at this news to use as propaganda to recruit more bodies for their cause. It is a vicious circle of lies and deceit that is only going to end up hurting the U.S. more in the long run.

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