At Guantánamo now, a Yemeni man who has spent nearly half his life as a wartime prisoner, never charged, is making a case for his release before the Periodic Review Board. This was an early prison photo of him. He looks like a middle aged man now, with a trimmer full beard.
Uthman Abdul Rahim Mohammed Uthman, 40, went before the Virginia-based board by video from Gitmo’s original courtroom at Camp Justice — with no mask and a clean white shirt. It appeared that the linguist and military officer assisting him had been issued N95 masks.
Mr. Uthman said through his representatives that he has matured in his 19 years at Guantánamo, aspires to lead a peaceful life — and start a food cart business in his native Yemen. His family has sent word they can help him to that goal.
The U.S. intelligence community long ago profiled him as a jihadist and Bin Laden bodyguard who was captured after the battle of Tora Bora in December 2001. His lawyer told the interagency U.S. board that other prisoners so identified him under torture, and Mr. Uthman denies it.
Here is what the U.S. intelligence community says is the current basis for his detention.
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11 Dec 20
Just in: The Periodic Review Board has cleared Yemeni "forever prisoner" Said Salih Nashir for transfer from Guantanamo with "robust security assurances, to including monitoring, travel restrictions and integration support." His hearing was a year ago.… Image
Mr. Nashir is the only detainee cleared PRB during the Trump presidency. Two other Yemeni detainees who had waited two and three years for a final decision were not cleared. One of them, Moath al-Alwi is known for his jailhouse art, such as this boat made from found objects. Image
To clarify, the Gitmo prisoner now approved for transfer is held as Mr. Nashir. His Montana lawyer since 2005 calls him Hani Saleh Rashid Abdullah. He was captured in Pakistan in 2002, got to Gitmo 6 weeks later.
This is what his lawyer told the board.… Image
Read 5 tweets
2 Oct 20
BREAKING: The Marine judge who was assigned to preside in the 9/11 trial two weeks ago abruptly quit today. His departure is sure to delay the Guantanamo trial past next year’s anniversary of the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people on Sept. 11, 2001.…
Colonel Keane got the case on Sept. 17 and said that, upon reflection, certain jobs he had held in his Marine career, as well as family connections, led him to conclude that his serving as a judge in the case “arguably creates an appearance of bias.”
Judge: This case has been mired in lengthy, slow-moving and costly litigation... I would be remiss to be the cause of further delay whilst also sewing such a significant appellate issue into the record of this case. Maintaining the integrity of the process is my foremost concern.
Read 7 tweets
29 Sep 20
Just in: No hearings in the 9/11 case until 2021. The new trial judge, Marine Col. S.F. Keane, cites his need to familiarize himself with the complex Sept. 11 case as well as working down there under pandemic restrictions. Image
Judge Keane: "In a complex case such as this one, a newly-detailed judge requires time to familiarize himself/herself with the case and issues raised in the various motions that have been filed prior to holding hearings."…
In his order canceling the November and December hearings, the new judge notes that the pandemic has forced cancelation of hearings in June, July, August, September and October. He also separately granted a 30-day extension on litigation filing deadlines.
Read 4 tweets
18 Sep 20
A California based Marine colonel who was raised in the Bronx and New Jersey is the next judge in the long running Sept. 11 trial at Guantanamo. He is the senior @USMC judge on the West Coast, litigated as a prosecutor and serves at Camp Pendleton.…
No hearings have been held at Guantánamo since February, in part because of a complicated two-week quarantine for commuting court personnel, to safeguard base residents from the coronavirus. Gitmo has 6,000 residents, 40 of them prisoners and 1,500 troops assigned to the prison.
The new judge was a Marine officer and in law school at William and Mary at the time of 9/11.
Read 4 tweets
21 Aug 20
Latest: The chief war court judge just canceled the Oct. 19-29 pretrial hearings in the Sept. 11 case at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Col. Douglas Watkins wrote in his four-page order that the coronavirus pandemic "continues and remains fluid." #COVID19
The judge also said prosecutors have yet to submit "an approved plan that meaningfully alleviates the adverse impact" of Gitmo's quarantine-style restrictions.

He called an embryonic prosecution idea to test court-bound travelers before flight a "yet-to-be-approved concept."
That leaves just two more sessions of pretrial hearings in the Sept. 11 case on the 2020 Guantanamo court calendar: Nov. 16-20 and Dec. 7-16.

The last 9/11 hearing was held in February, before the trial judge abruptly resigned. Watkins is caretaker judge.…
Read 4 tweets
7 Aug 20
BREAKING: The coronavirus has caused the International Red Cross to cancel its coming visit to Guantánamo Bay, Cuba -- forcing the longest absence of the humanitarian relief organization from the remote U.S. military prison since it opened in 2002…
A defense lawyer for a Yemeni detainee was disappointed by the decision. She said independent medical experts considered the 46-year-old man, Sharqawi al-Hajj, to be suicidal -- and that he had only seen prison personnel for the past year.
The @ICRC says that during the pandemic it has arranged for the delivery of "a steady flow of Red Cross messages" and "many phone calls" between Guantanamo prisoners and their families.

Photo: The Red Cross phone booth inside a Gitmo cell back in 2014. Image
Read 4 tweets

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