Detaining a Cook Indefinitely?!?

Ibrahim al Qosi of Sudan.jpg Ibrahim al-Qosi, prisoner in Guantanamo,  drawing by military court artist Janet Hamlin.

“Indefinitely detaining a 53-year-old man who will have served his sentence and been in custody more than 11 years for being a cook serves neither our national security or foreign policy interests,’’ said Navy Cmdr. Suzanne Lachelier, Ibrahim al Qosi’s attorney.  In fact, she said, “It bludgeons the interests of justice.”

The outrage at the injustice to her client reminded me of that of Colonel Yvonne Bradley, another military lawyer who represented prisoners at the US torture camp at Guantanamo Bay.   Colonel Bradley, who had joined the Air Force as a lawyer just after finishing law school, spoke movingly of the pride she had always felt about the military courts in which she began her career, courts where she found the best traditions of US justice upheld.  She said they were not perfect, as indeed few human institutions are perfect, but she had always felt good about the work she did and the system in which she worked.

By contrast, Colonel Bradley was appalled at the military commissions courts at the torture camp, which in her opinion were intended to summarily find the prisoners guilty and condemn them.  She remembered her pride in military courts and she was horrified.  You can read more about her here.

The case of al-Qosi is indeed horrifying.  The man may have actually been a cook for al Qaeda, but there has never been any evidence or charges of his having engaged in aggression against the US.  Al-Qosi was convicted, one of only three of the remaining prisoners at Guantanamo who has been as of now, of providing material support for terrorism, that vile “charge” that can mean that nearly anyone who has any contact with “terrorists,” including someone like President Jimmy Carter who has helped negotiate peace treaties and helped a number of countries now declared terrorists to make peace, could be charged.  This is outrageous non law, junk law; as Colonel Bradley said, it is a way to find people guilty summarily and condemn them.

After being tortured, sent to the hell that is Guantanamo, tried in a kangaroo court, convicted, and now serving a further term in a special part of that prison, al-Qosi may not be allowed to return to his home in Sudan when his term is over.  Sudan is considered a terrorist country.

I want to see the word terrorist banned from the language.  Let us rather speak of criminal countries, ones that break their own and international laws.  That would be the United States.  It is criminal that al-Qosi should have ever suffered all this.

Let us continue to demand that the US close the torture camp at Guantanamo, at Bagram, and at all other sites around the world.  Let us demand that US leaders who authorized these criminal acts be held accountable in real courts of law.

Ibrahim al-Qosi  must be set free to go wherever he chooses.

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One Response to “Detaining a Cook Indefinitely?!?”

  1. nancy Says:

    I just read a painful article by Jason Leopold about David Hicks, Guantanamo 002, the Australian who was imprisoned there and tortured. Here is a passage that throws light on that junk law mentioned above and on the nature of the courts that are just out to condemn the prisoners:

    “Stephen Kenny, one of Hicks’ former attorneys, said that ‘it has always been my position that [Hicks] never committed any crime.’

    “‘We looked at Australian law, international law and Afghani law and we were unable to identify any breach of those laws, Kenny said. The law that he eventually pleaded guilty to [material support for terrorism] was not actually an international war crime at all. In fact it was a crime that didn’t exist.’

    “Hicks said if he were offered a similar financial settlement he wouldn’t turn it down. But what he really wants is the Australian government ‘to formally recognize that the 2006 Military Commissions Act was unfair’ and designed simply to obtain guilty pleas.”

    The US government can’t accuse most of these prisoners of any crime, so it made one up. They are accused of a crime that didn’t exist.

    What are we going to do to stop this?

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