Last of the “Supposed Foot Soldiers” from Yemen

The last of the Yemeni “supposed foot soldiers” still held in the Guatanamo torture camp on Andy Worthington’s list is Mashur al-Sabri.   As Worthington reports, his story is replete with accusations that may not be trustworthy, coming from unidentified sources.  During his presentation in New York in January, Worthington said that it was probable that some of the unidentified allegations against prisoners were exacted under torture from other prisoners.  That would seem to make them useless as evidence and may be the reason that the US does not try these men in real courts–there is no credible evidence against them.

What does seem certain is that al-Sabri is from Yemen, went to Afghanistan in the summer of 2000 and lived in Jalalabad for a year.  He went to the Taliban lines at Bagram and Kabul.  It must be remembered that the Taliban were one group of Afghan warlords among a number of such groups and that they battled the others during many years in a conflict that had nothing to do with the US, except that the US had provided arms and funds to various groups of warlords in the country, including al Qaeda, to fight against the Russians during their occupation some decades ago.

The rest of what Worthington reports is all from unidentified sources and thus of unknown credibility.  The accusations include that al-Sabri worked for Osama bin Laden.  Worthington says these unidentified sources allege that al Sabri “was ‘believed to have sworn bayat [an oath of allegiance] to Osama din Laden,’ because he and others around him knew bin Laden’s travel dates and routes, and another ‘source’ identified him as ‘a member of al-Qaeda’ because he was ‘following Osama bin Laden’s orders to keep [a] guest house up and running.'”

David, a lawyer who has been supportive of this blog since it started, tells me that the Geneva Conventions for prisoners of war is that they would be turned over to their country at the end of hostilities.  They must, of course, also be humanely treated.  Humiliation of prisoners is prohibited by the Geneva Conventions, and, of course, torture.  They must be allowed contact with their families, and are guaranteed other rights which all the prisoners at Guantanamo have been denied.  There is not evidence that Mashur al-Sabri  ever fought against the US.  Contrary to US statements that these prisoners were “captured on the field of battle,” he was sold by bounty hunters.  He, along with most of the others still in Guantanamo, should be released immediately.

I hold Mashur al-Sabri in mind today and ask you to do that, too, and to join me in committing to work for the release of all those held unjustly by the US everywhere in the world.


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