Reprieve celebrates the release from Guantánamo of Mustafa Ibrahim Al Hassan
October 7, 2008
Reprieve is delighted to announce that Mustafa Ibrahim Al Hassan has been freed from Guantánamo and repatriated to Sudan, where he has been reunited with his family.
The 51-year old father of four – two boys and two girls – arrived at Guantánamo Bay in August 2002, but had no contact with his family until August 2008, when he was allowed to speak to them by phone for an hour. Family visits are not permitted at Guantánamo and letters take months to arrive.
Throughout his imprisonment, Mustafa sought only one thing: the chance to defend himself in a fair trial. Zachary Katznelson, Reprieve’s legal director, reported that, at the end of one of their meetings at Guantánamo, Mustafa, who had his hands shackled together, and his feet shackled to the floor, looked at him and said, “I am innocent. I didn’t do a thing to hurt anyone. All I want is to be home with my children.”
Former Guantánamo Bay prisoner Sami El Haj said, “Mustafa Ibrahim’s incarceration has been very long, but never once has the United States recognized his rights. He deeply misses his children and it is about time he was reunited with them and allowed to play the role of the father once more.”
Mustafa travelled to Pakistan in 2002, to study Islam and to seek out business opportunities. He was seized at a checkpoint by opportunistic Pakistani soldiers, who knew that the US military was offering rewards for suspected members of Al Qaeda and the Taliban; foreign visitors were easy prey.
Mustafa reports that he was treated brutally in Pakistan custody. “When I told them I went there to trade and I went there to study”, he said, “they hit me, they tortured me. They were torturing us with electricity and they made us walk on sharp objects. They hit us a lot, and because of the pain we just said anything.”
Despite the fact that Mustafa Ibrahim was never given a trial or the chance to defend himself, he remained in Guantánamo, cruelly overlooked, even as his compatriots were freed. Last December, he was left behind after Adel Hassan Hamad and Salim Adem, two other innocent Sudanese prisoners seized in Pakistan, were released. Earlier this year, he was told that he would soon be released, but in May, when Sami El Haj, Amir Yacoub Al Amir and Walid Mohammed Ali were released, Mustafa Ibrahim was, inexplicably, left behind yet again.
In response to the news, Zachary Katznelson prepared a statement to be read out a press conference in Sudan:
“Reprieve today joins the family of Mustafa Ibrahim and the nation of Sudan in celebrating his return from Guantánamo Bay. Lawyers from Reprieve have represented Mustafa Ibrahim since 2005 and have visited him more than ten times in Guantánamo Bay. Mustafa Ibrahim was a prisoner for more than six years. He was never charged with a crime. He never received a trial of any type. He was cut off from his family and the world.”
“Mustafa Ibrahim’s long nightmare is finally ending, thanks in large part to the efforts of the Government of Sudan and strong Sudanese advocates like Hassan Mogummer and the entire staff at Civic Aid International, who campaigned tirelessly on his behalf. Mustafa Ibrahim’s release is proof that when people rise up against injustice and speak out with one voice, that call will be heard, even across thousands of miles – and it cannot be ignored. Reprieve is thrilled that Mustafa Ibrahim is at long last back home. He is able to kiss his children once more, greet his parents and family. So today is indeed a day to give thanks for Mustafa Ibrahim’s return, but also to remember that the job is not yet done. Other men remain prisoners in Guantánamo Bay, including sons of Sudan. Our struggle cannot end until they too receive justice.”
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For further information, please contact Andy Worthington at Reprieve’s Press Office on 020 7427 1099 or email: Andy@reprieve.org.uk.
Note for Editors:
Reprieve, a legal action charity, uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay. Reprieve investigates, litigates and educates, working on the frontline, to provide legal support to prisoners unable to pay for it themselves. Reprieve promotes the rule of law around the world, securing each person’s right to a fair trial and saving lives.
Clive Stafford Smith is the founder of Reprieve and has spent 25 years working on behalf of people facing the death penalty in the USA.
Reprieve’s current casework involves:
• representing 33 prisoners in the US prison at Guantanamo Bay.
• working on behalf of prisoners facing the death penalty.
• conducting ongoing investigations into the rendition and the secretdetention of ‘ghost prisoners’ in the so-called ‘war on terror.’
ReprievePO Box 52742LondonEC4P 4WSTel: 020 7353 4640Fax: 020 7353 4641Email: email@example.comWebsite: www.reprieve.org.uk
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