Dec 7, 2013
The Guantanamo Lawyers: Shipwrecked
Posted on Nov 22, 2009
By Baher Azmy
We spent eight hours a day for the next four days talking—about everything—and I spent a total of over sixty hours with him on four subsequent visits. Murat is the furthest thing from a hardened terrorist. I lived in downtown New York during September 11 and remember the haunting smell of the smoldering rubble twenty blocks south, so in the course of conversations, I was curious to hear what Murat thought of this monstrous act. Murat repeatedly rejected the logic of terrorism. “My mother and father go to malls and airports in Germany. Why would I want terrorists to kill them?” he stressed. Also, the Quran commands never to kill women, children, or men not in battle and also condemns suicide killings—only God chooses when we die. But Osama bin Laden and Hamas believe that such suicide killings are a necessary response to oppression, I pushed, playing devil’s advocate. Murat had never heard of Hamas.
And Osama bin Laden? In Murat’s military hearing in which he was given an opportunity to speak, he said,
The Guantanamo Lawyers: Inside a Prison Outside the Law
Edited by Mark Denbeaux and Jonathan Hafetz
NYU Press, 448 pages
The United States knows that Murat Kurnaz has no connection to terrorism and logged this fact no less than five times in his classified “file.” According to his file, the U.S. military itself concluded that “Kurnaz has no connection to al Qaeda, the Taliban or any terrorist threat,” and “the Germans have confirmed he has no connection to al Qaeda.” The government resisted for years permitting disclosure of this information, but as a result of a Freedom of Information Act litigation we brought on his behalf, it is now public and indisputable that as early as 2002, the United States recognized that Murat had nothing to do with terrorism. Yet it suppressed this information and continued to imprison him.
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