Ahmed Al Hikimi: Teacher of Children

Ahmed al-Hakimi sold his taxi business in Yemen in 1999 to go to Afghanistan in order to teach the Quran to children in that Muslim country.  It had been suggested to him that he could become a better Muslim as a result.

Short of believing, as sadly some US Christian fundamentalists seem to, that merely being Muslim is a crime, it is hard to see any evil intent in going to teach the text of a major world religion to children in a country that professed that religion.  And certainly no one can see any violent intent in teaching children, certainly none directed at the US.

Ahmed al-Hakimi went to the area of Khost, where a local student and he spent eight months teaching in various villages in the area.  He returned to Yemen, coming back to Afghanistan in February 2011 and resumed teaching.

Al-Hamimi decided to leave in November when he heard that General Dostum, about whom you can read here, of the Northern Alliance [that group of war lords that contested with the Taliban, another group of war lords for many decades] had taken the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif and then Kabul.  He feared for his safety because Arabs were being targeted in the conflict.

His friend threw his passport out the window, explaining that if he were not identifiable as Arab, he would be safer.  Unfortunately, when they crossed into Pakistan with many others fleeing the bombing and conflict in Afghanistan, Ahmed al-Hakimi was seized by the Pakistani authorities.  These latter were collecting bounty money from the US, and turned him over to be tortured and taken to Guantanamo where he still remains.


Persons being taken into custody at the Pakistan border

It is useful to remember that the US government reported for a long time that all of the inmates at Guantanamo were captured on the field of battle.  We know that virtually none of them were, even the government does not keep up that fiction any longer.  It does however report such statements as that al-Hakimi was taken “with 30 suspected al-Qaeda members.”  Anyone and everyone was a “suspect,” even though there never was evidence to suggest that most were and certainly none in the case of Ahmed al-Hakimi.

The US alleges, without any evidence to suggest that such allegations are credible, that al-Hakimi was a member of al-Qaeda and an escort for Osama bin Laden and his family among other things.  The most likely theory for these allegations, according to Andy Worthington, is that they came from a prisoner at Guantanamo who implicated some sixty of the other prisoners under torture.  Such evidence is, of course, inadmissible in US and international law, but the prisoners at Guantanamo are held outside the law.  It really appears now as though the case against Ahmed al-Hakimi is that he is in Guantanamo, therefore he should be, and will remain there.  Such imprisonment has not been prevalent in the west since the middle ages, a regression of a thousand years of western law.

Read Worthington’s account here.

You can also read an account by someone in Ireland with an interesting perspective on the conflicts in Afghanistan beginning in the 1970s here.

This is another shameful case.  Torture of even the most hardened criminal is morally repugnant and illegal under US and international law.  Using information elicited under torture is, too.  Ahmed al-Hikimi must be set free to teach the Quran to children if he chooses.  We must see that he is freed.


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