“I Was 12 When Sent to Guantanamo”

“I Was 12 When Sent to Guantanamo”
afghani-guantanamoCAIRO — Mohammed Jawad is still struggling to pick up the pieces of his lost childhood and teenage years after languishing for seven whole years in America’s notorious Guantanamo detention center on terror charges.

“I hadn’t done anything — they took me for nothing,” the young Afghan, who was released to Afghanistan earlier this week, told The Times on Thursday, August 27.
Jawad was arrested in 2002 when he was 12 on suspicions of throwing a grenade at US invading troops in Afghanistan.
“They knew I was underage but they did not care about my age.”
The teenager was first sent to a Kabul airbase before being flown to notorious Guantanamo, where his ordeal began.
“There was a lot of oppression when I was in Guantanamo,” said a weary-looking Jawad.
“I was oppressed the whole time until I was released.”
He described having his hands bound and stretched behind his back, and being forced to eat by bending over and putting his mouth into a plate of food.
“They insulted our religion and our holy Qur’an, they insulted us and behaved in an inhumane way,” he lamented.
“And these inhumane actions were not for just one day, one week or one month.”
The US has been holding hundreds of detainees at Guantanamo for years, branding them unlawful enemy combatants to deny them legal rights under the American legal system.
President Barack Obama ordered in January the detention camp to be closed within a year and his administration is studying what to do with the nearly 230 prisoners still held there.


Spending seven years in Guantanamo, Jawad was released to Afghanistan earlier this week after a US judge ruled that his confession had been obtained by force.
“All I could do was hope that one day I’d be free and back home in Afghanistan with my mother,” he recalled.
Jawad was arrested when he was living with his mother in Kabul, as his father died during fighting against the Soviets in the 1980s.
His mother could not believe her son would be back into her arms.
Hearing of his return, the bereaved mother fainted in a fit of hysterics, said a family friend.
She only realized that her beloved son was back again when she checked for a distinctive bump on the back of his head, said Sher Khan Jalalkhil, a close friend of Jawad’s father.
“We searched for him for nine months,” he recalled.
“We didn’t know if he had been killed, or kidnapped, or got lost. His mother went crazy.”
The mother only got a sigh of relief when she was told by a member of the International Committee of the Red Cross that Jawad was in Guantanamo.
But she got terrified as news kept coming about the horrific treatment of detainees at the notorious detention camp.
Jawad is now making plans to resume his studies — first in Afghanistan, then maybe overseas — and train to become a doctor.
Asked if he would consider studying in the US, he hesitated and looked to the assembled elders for advice.
“I have not made any plans yet.”
His lawyer Eric Montalzo said they would be asking for compensations for the hellish years he spent behind Guantanamo walls.
“He has been in a cage for seven years. So it’s very difficult for him,” he said.
“He is a fragile human being and we need to protect him and his interests.”

Source: IslamOnline.net & Newspapers


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