After almost 20 years, brothers are released from Guantanamo Bay without being charged

Ahmed Mohammed Rabbani

Two Pakistani brothers who were detained for nearly 20 years in the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay have been released without being held accountable.

In 2002, Pakistani authorities detained Abdul and Mohammed Ahmed Rabbani.

According to the Pentagon, while his brother coordinated travel and funding for the leaders of al-Qaeda, Abdul Rabbani ran a safe house for the organization.

Before being sent to Guantánamo, the brothers claimed that CIA agents had tortured them.

Both have since been brought back to Pakistan.

Following the 9/11 terror attacks in New York, the Guantanamo camp, located in Cuba, was established by the then-President George W. Bush to house suspects of foreign terrorism. It is headquartered inside a US Navy base.

But due to the use of harsh interrogation techniques and the prolonged detention of detainees without charge or trial, which critics claim amounts to torture, the camp has come to represent some of the excesses of the "war on terror.".

The facility, where 32 people are still being held, is to be shut down, according to US President Joe Biden. The prison's capacity peaked in 2003 with 680 inmates housed simultaneously.

"The United States appreciates the willingness of the Government of Pakistan and other partners to support ongoing US efforts focused on responsibly reducing the detainee population and ultimately closing the Guantanamo Bay facility," the Pentagon said in a statement.

In September 2002, Pakistan's security forces apprehended the brothers in Karachi. They were initially kept at a CIA detention center in Afghanistan, and it took nearly two years for them to be moved to Guantanamo.

For release in 2021, both men received approval. It's unclear why they were kept behind bars.

Five months after Ahmed Rabbani's arrest, his wife gave birth to their son while she was still pregnant. He's never met the boy.

Ahmed Rabbani established a reputation as a talented artist while he was detained at Guantanamo.

A "tragedy" that "exemplifies how far the USA strayed from its founding principles during the 'war on terror' era," according to Maya Foa, director of the justice organization Reprieve, which up until last year represented Ahmed Rabbani in court, are his two decades of imprisonment.

"They took a father, a husband, and a son from a family. There is no way to right that wrong. When Guantánamo is permanently shut down, only then can a full accounting of the harms brought on by the disastrous "war on terror" start, the speaker asserted.

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