GUANTÁNAMO BAY, Cuba – A Pakistani man who was tortured by the CIA and then pleaded guilty to serving as a courier for Al Qaeda has filed charges against the Biden government for still holding him captive after serving his war crimes sentence accomplished.
Lawyers for Majid Khan, 42, asked a federal judge in a 30-page petition filed in Washington, D.C., Tuesday to release him to anywhere except his native Pakistan, where he allegedly could face prosecution. . They proposed to release him on parole at the naval base here, which has about 6,000 inhabitants, until a land is found to receive him.
The Justice Department declined to comment on the matter.
mr. Khan has a unique status in Guantanamo Bay as the only former inmate of a black CIA site convicted of a crime. He pleaded guilty and became a cooperating witness for the United States government beginning in 2012, when he admitted to supplying $50,000 from Pakistan to a Qaeda affiliate used in the deadly 2003 bombing of a Marriott hotel. in Jakarta, Indonesia.
At his sentencing hearing in October, he was allowed to describe his torture during three years of clandestine CIA detention. A military jury sentenced him to 26 years in prison and urged leniency in a letter condemning Mr Khan’s torture as “a stain on America’s moral fiber”.
With credit for the time he served and other adjustments, Mr. Khan on March 1.
Yet he is still in Guantanamo Bay, “on his own, away from other detainees and with no direct access to his family or the outside world,” his lawyers wrote.
He cannot make or receive calls from his family, including his wife and a daughter born after his arrest, lawyers said. Video conferences with his lawyers and a laptop to help him prepare for life after two decades of detention have also been denied to him, the file said.
The application shows how difficult it has been for the Biden administration to find countries to take in detainees approved for transfer. One of the lawyers representing Mr Khan at the Guantánamo Court, Ian Moss, went on to work for the State Department. His title is Deputy Coordinator for Countering Violent Extremism and Detention of Terrorists, a key position in an office struggling to negotiate transfer agreements for released detainees.
In addition to Mr Khan, 20 of Guantánamo’s 37 detainees have been approved for transfer with security guarantees by an inter-departmental council.
Brig. Gene. Jackie L. Thompson Jr., of the Army’s main defense, condemned the delay in releasing the detainee and suggested that other inmates charged with war crimes would be less likely to plead guilty until Mr Khan was arrested. released. resettled.
Ten of those arrested are in war crimes proceedings. A plea for six of those inmates would rule out the possibility of a death sentence.
“Holding a person indefinitely after his sentence is over is very useless,” General Thompson said, adding that defense lawyers were unable to find a land for Mr Khan. “For this, we are at the mercy of the US government.”
Khan’s lawsuit is also aimed at improving his conditions in Guantanamo as the United States seeks a place for him to settle with his wife and daughter.
His lawyers specifically asked the judge to find his continued imprisonment illegal, order his transfer to everywhere except Pakistan, and order the prison to allow him to regain access to videoconferencing with his lawyers in the United States.
The military ended Mr Khan’s legal meetings via videoconference after he served his sentence, lawyers said. They called it a punitive measure.
His lawyers also suggested that the judge “release him on bail or parole from unlawful detention in Guantánamo,” apparently borrowing a page from the case of Uyghur prisoners from China who spent years in US custody.
After a federal judge found in 2008 that 18 of the Uyghur detainees were being held illegally, their lawyers suggested they live in a guest house on a remote part of the base near the airstrip. Instead, the prison built their own detention area called Camp Iguana, where the last three were held until the United States found a country, Slovakia, to resettle them in 2013.