In the U.S. ‘war on terror,’ charity organization Reprieve is battling to defend Falsely Imprisoned Person Nabil Hadjarab, detained for 11 years this Friday in Guantanamo Bay without charge of any crime or trial, as could happen to any American on U.S. soil, according to NDAA 2013 and fostered by the new “Gitmo North.”
In 2007, American officials confirmed Nabil, now 33, was no threat to anyone and cleared him for release, yet he remains imprisoned.
“I am asking America for humanity, and asking France for gratitude,” Nabil’s uncle, Ahmad Hadjarab, said in a written statement emailed through Reprieve Wednesday.
“…[T]he American courts have done nothing to stop the US administration from sending me wherever they want, without any consideration given to the fate awaiting me there,” Nabil has stated.
“Having spent so long in such an isolating place, I do not want to find myself alone again, in a position where I must beg for charity. The most important thing to me is dignity.
“My dignity has been taken away from me during the eight years that I have been imprisoned, suffering so many abuses that I do not even wish to discuss. Today I need your help to get it back.”
Nabil’s family has long served France, risking their lives for the country.
• Nabil’s grandfather, Mohamed Ben Said Ben Sliman (born in 1894 in Algeria) spent three years during World War I fighting for France.
• Nabil’s father, Saïd, fought loyally for France in the French Algerian war and was a member of General de Gaulle’s Republican Guard. After the war, he refused a position in the Algerian police force, prefering instead to return to the country he considered his own: France. He lived and worked there (without any periods of unemployment) until his death.
• Today, all of Nabil’s family are French citizens.
• Nabil’s half-brother won a national medal of honor when serving in the French Army.
There but for the grace of God go I
During his 11 years in Guantánamo, Nabil has been subjected to “all kinds of torture and inhuman treatment,” according to Reprieve: sleep and sensory deprivation; temperature extremes; prolonged isolation; years with little or no access to sunlight, recreation or medical care, in a tiny, windowless, steel cell.
Such is the hell on Earth of a Falsely Imprisoned Person (FIP), a fate that could be anyone’s in the “war on terror,” including Americans on U.S. soil under the Barack Obama regime’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), now complete with the new “Gitmo North.”
President Barack Obama signed the NDAA 2013, giving his stamp of approval for indefinite detention of Americans on U.S. soil without charge or trial, the same treatment Nabil and thousands of other innocent individuals under rogue dictatorhips have experienced.
Now, “Gitmo North,” the new Thomson supermax prison in Illinois, has just been confirmed by the US Bureau of Prisons. It will hold federal prisoners in “supermax conditions,” equivalent to the torture Nabil and approximately 100,000 Americans in US prisons experience daily, the most pressing but ignored human rights abuse in America.
“Thomson will be a high security prison holding inmates with various security needs, including SMU and ADX type inmates,” BOP spokesperson Chris Burke said via email to Mother Jones.
Thomson is the unused prison that the federal government recently bought from Illinois.
ADX, the notorious federal supermax in Florence, Colorado, holds prisoners in 23-hour-a-day isolation with virtually no human contact, a sensory deprivation tactic that causes insanity.
Federal SMUs, or Special Management Units, such as those in Lewisburg Penitentiary in Pennsylvania and California, hold prisoners in near round-the-clock lockdown in two-person cells, also causing severe mental injury.
“Both are forms of long-term isolation, and both have been denounced by human rights and prisoners rights groups as an inhumane and ineffective form of punishment, sometimes amounting to torture,” reports Mother Jones.
The same hell prompted over 6000 California prisoners in 2011 to participate in the world’s largest prison hunger strike, know as the Pelican Bay Hunger Strike. The so-called “worst of the worst” followed Gandhi’s example of peaceful resistance. This historic event was barely reported if at all by contemporary news sources.
That struggle to end torture in California has not ended. On Monday, February 25th at 12:00 P.M., Californians will rally to hold California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) accountable for failing to end their torture policies and failing to respect human rights of prisoners. The CDCR implemented new statewide policies they claim are a “dramatic” change to how prisoners are sentenced to the SHU.
“However, the new policies don’t change the fact that prisoners are still being gang validated for such innocent activities as possessing cultural artwork or reading political and historical books and articles,” Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity (PHSS) group say. “The policies also do nothing to alter or end the practice of long-term solitary confinement in California.”
PHSS is a coalition in the Bay Area of grassroots organizations and community members committed to amplifying voices of and supporting prisoners at Pelican Bay and other CA prisons while on hunger strike.
During Spring 2011, Pelican Bay State Prison inmates began a historic protest. They contacted prisoner-rights and anti-prison activist organizations announcing 50-100 prisoners would be on a rolling hunger strike starting July 1st and needed support to ensure their voices and demands were heard and acted on outside prison walls.
Prisoners at Pelican Bay State Prison (California) SHU then began the hunger strike, protesting cruel, inhumane and tortuous conditions of their imprisonment and aiming to improve treatment of SHU-status prisoners throughout California.
At least 6,600 prisoners across the state of CA joined in solidarity with the Pelican Bay hunger strikers’ demands.
Fixing Nabil’s hell
After 11 years in Guantanamo hell, Nabil longs to return home, to France where he spent his childhood.
Reprieve is working to make that happen, but needs petition signatures.
“Please sign this petition calling on the French government to bring Nabil home,” Nabil’s uncle and Reprieve plead.
Think your voice does not make a difference? Reprieve represents 15 prisoners in Guantánamo Bay and provides assistance for many more. With public support through petitions and other actions, over 65 of Reprieve’s clients have been released to date.
The Nabil petition text is in French, but the English translation is below. It is titled: 11 Years in #Guantánamo for No Reason; Bring Nabil Hadjarab Back to France
This petition will be presented to:
- The Minister of Interior of France, Manuel Valls
- The Minister of Foreign Affairs of France, Laurent Fabius
- The President of the French Republic, François Hollande
The petition is presented by Nabil’s uncle, Ahmed Hadjarab, and The Committee to Support Nabil Hadjarab.
“My nephew Nabil is living a nightmare. He has been detained at America’s infamous prison, Guantánamo, since 2002. There, he has been subjected to acts of torture and inhumane treatment despite having never been charged with a crime and despite having been cleared for release by the American authorities since 2007,” Nabil’s uncle stated Wednesday.
“I am a French citizen. Several members of our family served in the French army and all of Nabil’s close relatives live in France. We therefore call on the Government of France to assist my nephew Nabil so that he may be freed and returned to the country which he loves and in which he grew up: France.
“Given that the Americans have affirmed that Nabil is cleared for release and does not pose any risk, he cannot remain indefinitely detained at Guantánamo. But because he was born Algerian, my nephew risks being sent to Algeria, a country where he does not have any family ties nor support.
“My family in conjunction with the legal action charity, Reprieve, which represents Guantánamo detainees, is launching this petition calling upon France to support human rights by welcoming Nabil home as soon as possible.
Nabil dreams of returning to France and being reunited with his relatives there, particularly his half-brother Hakim, recipient of the National Medal for his service in the French army, his uncle Hadjarab says.
“Nabil told me of his wish to be a translator or interpreter, because he has spent his years in prison learning languages (he speaks French, English and basic Arabic). A guard at Guantánamo described him as ‘a passionate footballer, a charming young man.’”
A petition by Canadian senator Roméo Dallaire on Change.org that called on the Canadian government to repatriate Omar Khadr—another young detainee was successful.
“So it really is possible to make my nephew’s freedom a reality,” Nabil’s uncle said.
“I love France, my country, the birthplace of human rights and which has always sought to close Guantánamo. In welcoming my nephew Nabil, France would reaffirm these commitments.”
Hadjarab says that to convince President François Hollande, Minister of Interior Manuel Valls and Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius to take action, he and Reprieve need reader support.
Petition addressed to:
Manuel Valls, Minister of Interior of France
Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs of France
François Hollande, President of the French Republic
Nabil Hadjarab, a 33-year old Algerian citizen, has been detained at Guantánamo since 15 February 2002 despite the fact that he has been cleared for release.
France is the country where Nabil spent his childhood. Several members of his family have served in the French army and all of his close relatives live in France, the country which he loves and to which he has asked to return since 2007.
In light of France’s commitment to human rights and in support of the closure of Guantánamo, we call upon you to do what you can to allow Nabil’s family to welcome him to France.
In the mid-sixteenth-century, John Bradford said, “There but for the grace of God, goes John Bradford.” He referred to a group of prisoners being led to execution.
Centuries later, in the U.S. so-called war on terror, in which the innocent are imprisoned and tortured, drones kill children, and targets are hunted and assinated without trial, it is prudent for Americans to recall Bradford’s words and follow Reprieve’s leadership.
Indeed, Nabil could be the reader’s innocent son or nephew. Nabil could be the innocent reader.