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Yemeni former Guantanamo detainee disappears day after release

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After 20 years of torture and indefinite and arbitrary detention, former Guantanamo detainee Abdulqadir Al-Madhfari was transferred to Yemen from his cell in a United Arab Emirates (UAE) prison. Despite being cleared of all charges, his freedom did not even last for a day. This article is in his honour.

Abdulqadir Al-Madhfari was a medical student who travelled to Pakistan in 2001 to continue his studies. He was kidnapped and sold to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) by the Pakistani government following the 9/11 attacks. This story is a familiar one by now.

Like many Muslim men sold to the US for bounty money, or taken as a result of mistaken identity, he was put in an orange jumpsuit, shackled, hooded, blindfolded and flown to Guantanamo Bay where he remained for 14 years. He endured torture before being released in 2016 without a trial, or any charges against him.

In 2016, Al-Madhfari, along with 17 Yemenis, three Afghanis and one Russian, was transferred to the UAE as part of a resettlement agreement between the US and the UAE governments, which promised to help them start a new life.

This was publicly sold as the UAE doing its part to help the Obama administration close Guantanamo. These men thought that their ordeal had come to an end, and their lawyers assured them so.

However, as soon as they landed, Emirati forces seized them, and they spent a further five years in a UAE prison, where they were further abused and tortured. This time, neither their lawyers, nor any human rights organisations, were allowed to visit or communicate with them.

Al-Madhfari has lived in isolation since 2017, after his mental health deteriorated. During a phone call, his brother told me that he was punished for having a "mental problem".

For the last three years, I have been closely following these 21 cases, communicating with the families. Their cases were also part of my final year thesis in 2021, entitled "Rehabilitation and integration of former Guantanamo detainees into social life and the labour market."

The UEA stands out as the worst country dealing with released prisoners from........

© Middle East Monitor

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