Afghan held at Guantanamo for 15 years arrives in Kabul

Kabul, Jun 25 (EFE).- An Afghan prisoner who had been held at Guantanamo Bay for around 15 years without trial arrived in Kabul Saturday after the Taliban government agreed to his release with the United States.

“Assadullah Haroon is one of the two remaining prisoners in the Guantanamo prison,” Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi told reporters moments after meeting Haroon at Kabul airport.

“One of them was released and I hope the other will also be released in the future,” the minister added.

The Taliban reported his release on Friday and said it was the result of talks with the United States, although officials did not reveal any details on how the agreement was reached.

Haroon was a member of the Islamic Party of Afghanistan, the country’s once second-largest insurgent group, when he was arrested 15 years ago on January 31, 2007, in Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan.

He was detained without charge or trial by the US and without access to a lawyer for the first nine years of his detention, despite multiple attempts to obtain legal representation, according to Reprieve NGO, which took on his case.

“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,” Reprieve said in a statement.

His detention was declared illegal in October 2021 by Washington federal judge Amit P. Mehta, who ordered his immediate release.

A member of the Islamic Party of Afghanistan told Efe Saturday on condition of anonymity that “his case and judicial process to release him had already been processed and ended three years ago.”

The source added that Haroon was handed over “last Wednesday to officials of the Government of Qatar” to be later transferred to Kabul.

In recent years, the US government has released dozens of Taliban from Guantanamo, some of them high-ranking members and key figures in the negotiations with Washington that later led to the withdrawal of international troops and the Taliban’s rise to power.EFE


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