Mistakenly Profiled Guantanamo ‘Forever Prisoner’ Seeks Release
December 1, 2015   By:    Guantanamo, Mustafa al Shammari   Comments are off   //   805 Views
Mustafa al Shamiri, 37, got to Guantanamo in June 2002, according to his latest U.S. intelligence profile, dated Sept. 25, showing he had joined the fight as a child soldier. The assessment called him a “veteran jihadist” who fought in Bosnia in 1995, when he would have been 16 or 17.

The profile said, however, that a recent intelligence review of his case concluded he had been incorrectly described at Guantanamo as an al-Qaida facilitator, courier or trainer, an apparent basis for labeling him an indefinite detainee, or Law of War prisoner in 2010. Indefinite detainees, known colloquially as forever prisoners, are considered too dangerous to release but held without adequate evidence to try to bring to trial.

“We now judge that these activities were carried out by other known extremists with names or aliases similar to” Shamiri’s, said the assessment, which was released on the eve of the hearing.

Shamiri said his family in Yemen’s capital Sanaa had lined up a wife for him, but did not specify where she lived. An Army lieutenant colonel assigned to help him make his case said that while Shamiri realizes he can’t go back to his tumultuous homeland, his family will provide “emotional, spiritual or financial” support wherever he is sent.

Under the rules providing for limited transparency, reporters are only permitted to watch a carefully scripted pre-approved ceremonial opening of the hearing. The media saw the first 17 minutes of the proceedings, twice as long as necessary, due to sequential English-Arabic translation of a bureaucrat in Washington, D.C., reading the assessment, and the captive’s representative on the other end of a video feed reading one crafted with Shamiri to make his case for release.

Shamiri, the unnamed U.S. military officer said, “is earnestly preparing for his life after” Guantanamo, where he studied English and art. At the Pentagon prison, the officers said, he also learned “carpentry and cooking” — skills the prison has never acknowledged offering in its briefings on special classes taught by Pentagon paid contractors.

The video of the captive was distorted, and only showed him from the waist up, but he appeared groomed and remarkably similar to a 2008 photo of him obtained by McClatchy Newspapers from the anti-secrecy Wikileaks group.

Shamiri’s latest profile shows him typical of many of the Pentagon’s early war-on-terror prisoners. He was captured near Mazar-i-Sharif, it said, after fighting in several jihadist theaters — including the 1996 civil war in his homeland. He has been uncooperative with U.S. military interrogators in recent years, but seemed more concerned with fighting to protect other Muslims not waging “global jihad,” it said.

His advocate said he had helped guards settle disputes as a block leader, and “does have remorse for choosing the wrong path early in life.”

As of this week, the U.S. military held 107 captives at Guantanamo, 48 of them cleared for release. A favorable decision for Shamiri would put him in that category.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.


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