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The hostages of war speak out

Now, one third of the prisoners on the Guantánamo base are released. At the same time, the stories of those who were first released are published.


[Terror War] The Pentagon plans to release 141 of the Guantánamo base prisoners. These are no longer considered "enemy warriors" and are the largest group to date released. The releases were announced April 23 by a military court official the Americans have created for these prisoners, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Last week, the US government released a list of 558 prisoners on Guantánamo after the Associated Press news agency went to court demanding access.

The new wave of releases comes at the same time as the stories of the first Guantanámo prisoners, on film, in books and in reports. There are not exactly stories about "the most dangerous, vicious killers the world has seen," as US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld called the prisoners. President George W. Bush, for his part, has called them "bad" people.

In March came Enemy Combatant, the book for Moazzam Begg. He was the first British prisoner to be released from Guantánamo. Both grew up in Birmingham, UK. After some turbulent adolescence, he started a bookstore with a friend. The bookstore became a rallying point for Muslims, and in Begg, which has Afghan roots, a desire to help Muslims in need grew. So he went to Bosnia and Afghanistan. On January 31, 2002, his life changed forever. He then lived in Islamabad with his wife and children. The doorbell rang around midnight. When Moazzam opened, he was met by a rifle pipe, pulled out and thrown into a car. It would take three years before he could see the family again. He was held captive in Bagram, Kandahar and Guantánamo. He was tortured and refused contact with the outside world. In January 2005, he was released and sent home. Without trial, without judgment and without explanation as to why the United States had taken three years of his life.

In the movie Road to Guantánamo, which comes to Norwegian cinemas on Friday 5 May, we get the story of The Tipton Three. The four friends Ruhal Ahmed, Shafiq Rasul, Asif Iqbal and Monir Ali traveled to Pakistan, where Asif was to get married. A trip to Afghanistan became fateful. Monir disappeared while the remaining three ended up on Guantánamo.

After a few months, The Tipton Three was released, including these without being indicted.

In addition to the film about The Tipton Three and Moazzam Begg's book, Amnesty International (AI) has worked to gain insight into what has happened and is happening in Bagram, Kandahar and Guantanamo. The reports they have prepared are based on conversations and investigations of the prisoners who have been and are at Guantánamo. In the report "Under the Radar: Secret Flights to Torture and 'Disappearance'", AI documents how the United States has sent prisoners around the globe without telling why they were taken or what they are suspected of.

Back in Guantánamo, prisoners are still without charges. Only ten of the 490 prisoners on base have been charged so far, none of them for serious crimes, the Los Angeles Times writes. Most European citizens of Guantánamo have been released. Many of the remaining prisoners are from Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia.

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