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U.S. Releases Gitmo Detainee After 15 Years – Court Rules He Was Detained “Unlawfully” without Trial — What About Jan. 6ers Who Are Not Terrorists?

Photo: Asadullah Haroon al-Afghani/Reprieve

One of the last two Afghan prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay detention camp has been released after 15 years, the U.S. Department of Defense announced on Friday.

The decision comes after a federal court ruled that he was unlawfully detained in Gitmo without trial.

Asadullah Haroon Gul’s release was first announced by the Spokesman of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Zabihullah Mujahid, on Thursday.

“It is with immense pleasure to announce that one of our detainees, Assadullah Haroon, was released from Guantanamo prison and handed over to the Islamic Emirate,” Mujahid announced. “As a result of the efforts of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and its direct and positive interaction with the United States, one of the remaining two detainees, Asadullah Haroon, was released from Guantanamo prison.”

Mujahid then went on, “IEA, considers this as its duty to release Afghans detained in other countries and strives to ensure that no Afghan remains oppressed in any country. We are in contact with some of the countries where Afghans have been detained and efforts are underway to release them soon.”

“As a result of IEA’s efforts, today, we are witnessing the release of Assadullah Haroon from Guantanamo prison and his reunion with his family years later. We would also like to thank our brother country Qatar for paving the ground in this regard,” he concluded.

Asadullah was accused of being a member of an extremist group called Hezb-e-Islami/Gulbuddin (HIG), a group believed to be an “associated force” of al Qaeda by the US government, according to CNN.

“Asadullah conceded that he had been a member of HIG, now known as HIA, at the time, but his defense attorneys argued that the group entered into a peace treaty with the Afghanistan government in 2016,” the news outlet added.

The U.S. Department of Defense confirmed the release in a statement Friday. Read the excerpt below:

The Department of Defense announced today the transfer of Asadullah Haroon al-Afghani also known as “Gul” from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to facilitate his repatriation to Afghanistan, his native country.

The Department of Defense, in coordination with other USG departments, transferred Mr. Gul in accordance with the U.S. District of Columbia’s order granting his Writ of Habeas Corpus, ruling the United States no longer has a legal basis to justify the continued detention of Mr. Gul.

Previously, on October 7, 2021 the Periodic Review Board (PRB), a body comprised of senior career officials from the Departments of Defense, State, Justice, and Homeland Security; and the offices of the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; determined Mr. Gul to be eligible for transfer.

The United States thanks the Government of Qatar for its assistance in this matter.

“After years of litigation, in October 2021, they prevailed: the District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that Asadullah’s detention was not legal, because he had only been a part of Hezb-e-Islami (HIA), a group that has been formally at peace since 2016, and he was not a part of Al Qaeda. The judge thus ordered his release. Asadullah was the first Guantánamo Bay detainee in over ten years to win a habeas case,” according to a statement from UK-based rights group Reprieve.

According to the law firm, U.S. security agencies cleared Asadullah for release over eight months ago, concluding that he doesn’t pose a threat.

“Asadullah was also cleared for release by unanimous decision of six U.S. federal agencies, namely the departments of State, Homeland Security, Justice, Defense, plus the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the office of the Director of National Intelligence in October 2021.”

According to Asadullah’s lawyer, “Asadullah has suffered severe physical and psychological torture during his detention, including being beaten, hung by his wrists, deprived of food and water, and prevented from praying. He has been subjected to sleep deprivation, extreme cold temperatures and solitary confinement.”

Since when do the U.S. federal agencies believe that being held in prison without trial is unlawful.

Hundreds of January 6 political prisoners are being held unconstitutionally without bond in D.C. Gitmo, awaiting trial.

Ryan Samsel, a January 6 political prisoner, has been held in Washington DC. On March 21, he was awakened by correctional officers, his hands zip-tied, then walked to an unoccupied cell and brutally beaten by the officers. Then Ryan Samsel lost an eye in the beating.

Christopher Quaglin was beaten by an inmate at the Northern Neck Regional Jail in Warsaw, Virginia, early last March. His attorney demanded an emergency video meeting with Quaglin, but the request was denied.

And many more incidents.

The Constitution protects Americans from cruel and unusual punishment, guarantees the right to a fair and speedy trial, and promises due process of law—rights that these J6 political prisoners have been denied.

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