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Mahmoud Bennett

Social Media Reporter/Producer

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US releases 2 detainees from Guantanamo prison after 20 years

Feb 24, 2023

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Mahmoud Bennett

Social Media Reporter/Producer

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Two Pakistani brothers who were held by the United States at the Guantanamo Bay military prison without charges for over two decades, have been released by the U.S. Abdul and Mohammed Rabbani were initially arrested in Pakistan in 2002 and transferred to U.S. custody after being accused of aiding al-Qaida.

The brothers alleged torture while in CIA custody before being transferred to Guantanamo, according to The Associated Press. However, U.S. military records describe the two as providing little intelligence of value or recanting statements made during interrogations on the grounds they were obtained by physical abuse.

Pakistani Sen. Mushtaq Ahmed Khan, the chairman of the human rights committee in the upper house of Pakistan’s parliament, tweeted that the two brothers had reached Islamabad airport.

Khan said the men were “innocently imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay for 21 years. There was no trial, no court proceedings, no charges against them. Congratulations on their release. Thank you Senate of Pakistan,” he wrote on Twitter.

The United States’ recent decision to release the brothers comes as part of its move towards shutting down the offshore military prison. Guantanamo Bay was set up at a naval base in Cuba during the George Bush administration following the 9/11 attacks, with officials at the time claiming it was intended to hold extremist suspects and would help deter further attacks.

But over the years, reports of prisoners being held without charge or trial, along with allegations of systematic torture, have led groups like Amnesty International to declare the detention center a “grave violation of human rights by the U.S. government.”

At its peak in 2003, the prison held around 600 people. The Pentagon says that 32 detainees remain in Guantanamo Bay today.

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MAHMOUD BENNETT:

THE US HAS RELEASED TWO PAKISTANI BROTHERS FROM THE GUANTANAMO BAY PRISON AFTER HOLDING THEM WITHOUT CHARGES FOR OVER TWENTY YEARS 

ABDUL AND MOHAMMED RABBANI WERE INITIALLY ARRESTED IN PAKISTAN BACK IN 2002 AND TRANSFERRED INTO US CUSTODY AFTER US OFFICIALS ACCUSED THEM OF HELPING AL-QAEDA 

HOWEVER, MILITARY RECORDS DESCRIBE THE TWO AS PROVIDING LITTLE INTELLIGENCE OF VALUE – THE BROTHERS ALLEGED THEY WERE TORTURED IN CIA CUSTODY AND ARE NOW BACK IN PAKISTAN

THIS RECENT MOVE TO RELEASE THEM COMES AS THE US MOVES TOWARD SHUTTING DOWN THE OFFSHORE MILITARY PRISON

GUANTANAMO BAY WAS SET UP AT A NAVAL BASED IN CUBA DURING THE GEORGE BUSH ADMINISTRATION FOLLOWING THE 9/11 ATTACKS – US OFFICIALS AT THE TIME SAID IT WAS INTENDED TO HOLD EXTREMIST SUSPECTS —- AND SUPPORTERS SAID IT WOULD HELP DETER FURTHER ATTACKS 

BUT PRISONERS BEING HELD WITHOUT CHARGE OR TRIAL ALONG WITH REPORTS OF SYSTEMATIC TORTURE HAVE LED GROUPS LIKE AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL TO DECLARE THE DETENTION CENTER A GRAVE VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS BY THE US GOVERNMENT

AT ITS PEAK IN 2003 THE PRISON HELD ABOUT 600 PEOPLE – THE PENTAGON SAYS THIRTY-TWO DETAINEES REMAIN IN GUANTANAMO BAY TODAY