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‘The Face of Indefinite Detention’

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Posted on Sep 18, 2012
Democracy Now!

An excerpt from Adnan Latif’s letter reads: “I have seen death so many times. Everything is over. Life is going to hell in my situation. America, what has happened to you?”

A federal appeals court judge placed an emergency stay Monday on a lower court’s ruling against the indefinite detention provision of the National Defense Authorization Act, meaning the government has again made clear its intent to abolish trials for anyone it considers a suspect of terrorism.

This latest development in the NDAA battle came days after a Yemeni man named Adnan Latif became the ninth prisoner to die at Guantanamo Bay since the facility opened in 2002. Latif was detained with a number of Arab men at the Pakistani border around the time the U.S. invaded Afghanistan. He was in the region to seek medical treatment for a head injury he sustained in a car accident in 1994. He was sent to Guantanamo sometime after his capture.

The government’s justification for Latif’s imprisonment was weak. The main evidence was a Pakistani intelligence report written in 2001 and riddled with errors at a time when Pakistanis were getting bounties for turning in “Arab fighters.” According to investigative blogger Marcy Wheeler, the U.S. government defended its detention of Latif by arguing that any government-produced intelligence report, “no matter how obviously flawed, will be assumed to be factually correct unless you can prove that it was false.”

That argument places justice and people’s lives in the hands of unseen analysts, and a judicial and political system that goes along with almost any decision made in the claimed interest of “national security” ensures any American citizen named in such a report is a candidate for Latif’s fate of imprisonment and eventual death.

A letter written by Latif describing his agony in Guantanamo can be read here.

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