Urgent Health Issues!
- Nationality: Pakistan
- Residence: Pakistan – USA
- Family: Married 4 children
- Date of arrest: June 6, 2003
- Location of arrest: Pakistan
- Currently Held: Guantanamo Bay – Camp 5
Saifullah Paracha’s Background Saifullah Paracha was born in Pakistan, in 1947. He is married to Farhat (Pakistani) and they have four children – Uzair (28), Muneeza, (25), Mustafa, (18) and Zahra, (15). At the age of 26, Saifullah came to the US to study, where he later went on to work and to establish several businesses. He spent the next decade or so in America, with his family, law-abiding and tax-paying residents, and eventually Green Card holders.
They finally decided to settle in Pakistan in the mid-80′s, where he started a business, exporting clothes to the US, as well as a television production company. The family have visited the US frequently since, where Mr. Paracha’s business partner, Charles Antenby, is based. Not only a successful businessman, Saifullah Paracha became known the social work that consumed most of his time and energy.
He has been responsible for establishing new schools and hospitals, amongst them the hospital in his hometown, Mangowal, which continues to treat hundreds of patients daily, free of charge, as well as having worked extensively with Afghani refugees and orphans. He is a pleasant, amiable man, who is both tolerant and generous in nature. A loving father, and a devoted husband, “the kind a wife could call a good friend,” his wife, Farhat says.
On July 5th 2003, Saifullah Paracha was called to Thailand for a business meeting by his American partner, Mr. Antenby. He called his daughter from the airport, about to board his flight – the last time his family were to speak to him. Missing without a trace, Farhat and family spent an entire, agonising month in the dark, not knowing why or where her husband had disappeared to. She exhausted every avenue, filing petitions in the Sind High Court against the Pakistani Government, Thai Airways, Thai Consulate and the FIA (the Pakistani Intelligence Agency), demanding an explanation for her husband’s mysterious disappearance but to no avail since no organization would claim responsibility for Saifullah.
Precisely a month later, the first news finally came in a NBC broadcast on August 5th, covering the charges leveled against her son in the US, in which it was also reported that her husband was also held under US custody. By the end of the month, Farhat received a letter in Saifullah’s handwriting, through the International Committee of the Red Cross – he was being detained at the US Base, Bagram, Kabul, Afghanistan, notorious for denying legal access to the detainees, the US’s use of torture and the subsequent death of two detainees at the Base.
Saifullah is in his 60′s and suffers from a number of medical conditions, including diabetes, heart problems, and prostrate problems. In fact, Saifullah has had three heart attacks in US custody. Since that time, Farhat has been in irregular correspondence with her husband, writing at least twice at a week, though only five appear to have reached him. She, in turn, has only received five letters from him in seven months, unsure whether he writes under duress as he says little. Two of them in Bagram, and one in Guantanamo.
His health “has seriously deteriorated and could lead to his premature death if his pre-existing heart, prostatic and diabetic disease are not treated urgently.” Paracha’s lawyer, Gaillard T Hunt, suggested that “his medical treatment is at best incompetent and at worst negligent,” and painted a distressing picture of his client’s prospects, pointing out that several of his brothers and sisters have died of cardiac problems before reaching the age of 65, and that Paracha himself “has been having fainting spells, so we know the problem is worsening.”
Hunt went on to explain, “He couldn’t submit to a cardiac catheterization at Guantánamo because the rules require all prisoners in the hospital to be shackled to the four corners of the bed. The cardiologist said this was dangerous for a heart patient, but the prison administration would not compromise. (Andy Worthington) Zahra Paracha, Sister of Uzair, daughter of Saifullah at a very young age put these sites together to help make others aware of her family’s plight. She did an amazing job. Let’s help get her family back to her.
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