Thursday, December 19, 2013
One of two Sudanese Guantanamo detainees who arrived home Thursday after release from the U.S.-run facility in Cuba said his jailers had "systematically tortured" him, with punishment "doubled" for those who attempted hunger strikes. Ibrahim Idris made his remarks in a news conference in Khartoum, hours after arriving in a U.S. military plane along with Noor Othman Mohammed. Mohammed pleaded guilty in February 2011 to terrorism offenses in a plea deal that spared him the possibility of a life sentence. He was sentenced to 14 years, and all but 34 months were suspended. Idris is mentally ill and has spent much of his 11 years at Guantanamo in psychiatric treatment. A federal judge ordered his release after the U.S. dropped its opposition in October. Frail and speaking weakly, Idris said, "we have been subjected to meticulous, daily torture," adding that those who tried to hold a hunger strike were "double tortured ... on an isolated island, surrounded by weapons." "We were helpless," he said. The second freed inmate, Mohammed, was unable to attend the conference because he was convalescing in the hospital, Idris said. He commended the Sudanese government and civil society organizations for working to secure the two's release. The head of rights group Sudanese Civil Aid, Mustafa Abdul-Mukaram, vowed that his group will continue to press for "due rights" of Sudanese detained in Guantanamo, and demand a U.S. apology for the imprisonment. He accused the United States of holding the prisoners for years based on false information. He added that some of the ex-detainees had pleaded guilty through unfair settlements to secure their release. Hunger strikes have been employed by men held at Guantanamo since shortly after the prison opened in January 2002. The U.S. has long disclosed how many are refusing to eat and whether they meet military guidelines to be force fed. Spokesman at the facility said earlier this month that the U.S. military will no longer disclose to the media and public whether prisoners at Guantanamo Bay are on hunger strike, eliminating what had long been an unofficial barometer of conditions at the secretive military outpost.
Posted by H. Candace Gorman at 2:22 PM
GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT BELOW: NOTE (t/h to TW) "THE IRONIC, UPSIDE-DOWN NATURE OF GUANTANAMO WHERE THOSE CONVICTED ARE RELEASED AND THE OTHERS, WHO HAVE NEVER BEEN CHARGED, AND MOST OF WHOM HAVE BEEN CLEARED, REMAIN IMPRISONED." Detainee Transfer Announced The Department of Defense announced today the transfer of Noor Uthman Muhammed and Ibrahim Othman Ibrahim Idris from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to the Government of Sudan. On Feb. 18, 2011, Muhammed pleaded guilty in a military commission to offenses under the Military Commissions Act of 2009, and was sentenced to 14 years confinement. In exchange for his guilty plea and Muhammed's cooperation with prosecutors, the Convening Authority for Military Commissions agreed through a pre-trial agreement to suspend all confinement in excess of 34 months. Following the completion of the unsuspended portion of his sentence as of Dec. 3, 2013, the United States Government has repatriated Muhammed to Sudan. Idris was released from Guantanamo in accordance with a court order issued on Oct. 4, 2013, by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Idris has been designated for transfer since 2009 by unanimous consent among all six departments and agencies on the Guantanamo Review Task Force. As directed by the president's Jan. 22, 2009, executive order, the task force conducted a comprehensive review of Idris's case, which examined a number of factors, including security issues, in making that designation. In accordance with congressionally mandated reporting requirements, the administration informed Congress of its intent to transfer these individuals. The United States coordinated with the Government of Sudan regarding appropriate security measures and to ensure that these transfers are consistent with our humane treatment policy. Today, 158 detainees remain at Guantanamo Bay.
Posted by H. Candace Gorman at 12:24 PM