About Ridah al-Yazidi, from Tunisia, not a great deal is known. He is alleged to have gone to Afghanistan from Italy in 1999, to have been trained in a camp of the Taliban and to have fought on the Taliban front lines.
Once more, so what if he did? The “front lines” of the Taliban were in conflicts against other warlord factions in Afghanistan, of which the Taliban were the government. The Taliban was not fighting the US until the US invaded Afghanistan in late 2001. I do not believe it is illegal for a country to resist a military invasion by another country with armed force. The US has not proven that Ridah al-Yazidi fought against US forces at any time, anywhere.
Ridah al-Yazidi is reported to have said in one of the hearings at Guantanamo that he did not “engage in significant combat the entire time he was on the front lines,” which the US cannot refute with credible evidence. He also denies having been involved, as it is alleged by the US that he was, with the Algerian Armed Islamic Group, nor can the US provide credible evidence that he was. Again, so what if he were? To my knowledge, that group has never attacked the US.
In fact, Ridah al-Yazidi is another of the Taliban foot soldiers who were sold for bounty offered by the US after it invaded Afghanistan to the warlords who opposed the Taliban government. He never was involved with al-Qaeda; he was not captured by the US on the field of battle; he is not “the worst of the worst.” He was a poor Tunisian who was a mercenary for the government of Afghanistan. As a soldier of that country, under the Geneva Conventions and US law, Ridah al-Yazidi should have been released when the Taliban was defeated.
Instead, he has been tortured and imprisoned in Guantanamo. He was cleared for release during the Bush years, but as was the case for many, the Bush regime and the Obama regime after it, has challenged that release. Ridah al-Yazidi still languishes in prison.
Here are links to Andy Worthington’s website, to a McClatchy copy of the leaked cable about him, and to Worthington’s remarks about those leaked documents. There are also on the Worthington site, a number of interviews and further reports on the Wikileaks documents.