A Palestinian detained in Guantanamo Bay is leading the United States, the United Kingdom and five other countries before the UN Commission on Human Rights for their role in handing over and detaining CIA suspects in “black spots” around the world.
The unusual case was brought before the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) by Zayn Al-Abidin Muhammad Hussein, known as Abu Zubaida, who was detained for 1
UNWGAD, part of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, has a mandate to investigate individual complaints of arbitrary detention and to issue opinions and call for compensation, but has no power to impose sanctions on non-compliant states.
Abu Zubaida is a 50-year-old Palestinian raised in Saudi Arabia who was detained in 2002 and handed over to the CIA. He was initially described as an al Qaeda leader, but by 2006 the agency concluded that he was not even a member of the group. He has since been held at Guantánamo with no prospect of release.
His lawsuit, filed with the UN panel on Friday, says he was detained at random and tortured in secret CIA interrogation facilities in Thailand, Poland, Morocco, Lithuania, Afghanistan and the US prison at Guantanamo Bay. . He is also suing the UK government, which he accuses of “complicity in the transmission”, for participating in interrogations and obtaining information known to have been obtained under torture.
For the first time, lawsuits are being filed against the United Kingdom, Afghanistan, Morocco and Thailand for their role in the CIA’s program of surrender and torture.
“After 19 years of arbitrary detention, the only appropriate remedy to protect Abu Zubayda is release and rehabilitation,” said his international lawyer, Helen Duffy. “Recognition, apology, transparency, accountability and ensuring that these violations do not recur are all legal obligations grossly disregarded in the war on terror and subject to this allegation. But they are meaningless if the ongoing violations are not stopped. “
Joe Biden has pledged to close the Guantanamo Bay prison camp and release or transfer the remaining 40 prisoners. However, Barack Obama also promised to close the camp, but met resistance from the Pentagon and Congress and only managed to sharply reduce the number of prisoners.
“The way the Biden administration is responding to international legal claims like this will be a test of its newfound commitment to the international rule of law and human rights,” said Duffy, who is also director of the Human Rights in Practice Advocacy Group. .