Tuesday, February 05, 2008
On December 30, 2007, Abdul Razzaq Hekmati died of cancer. He became the only prisoner to die of natural causes at the Guantanamo Prison facility. To the very end, he tried to tell his story to the deaf ears of the Kafkaesque Machine that passes for American Military justice.
In Afghanistan, Mr. Hekmati is regarded as a war hero and a foe of the Taliban. He spent a year in a Taliban Prison and organized a daring jailbreak from the Taliban's Kandahar Prison in 1999 that freed himself and three others.
He fled to Iran and came back to Afghanistan during the American War against the Taliban.. He was arrested in 2003 by the Americans on the word of of an ex Taliban official, Sher Mohammed Akhundzada who was now cooperating with the Americans and was made governor of Helmand Province. Akhundzada turned in Hekmati because of a personal feud and fear that he would turn him in. Akhundzada also collected the bounty paid to informers.
Hekmati finally was taken to Guantanamo in 2004. When his family found out about his location, they began to to petition the Americans for some kind of hearing. The men who Hekmati broke out of prison with are both high level Karzai Government officials. One is Ismail Khan, the present minister of Oil, the second is Hajji Zahir, who is a General in the Border guards and the third is General Mohammed Qasim, who was the commander of the anti Taliban Northern Alliance.
All three have repeatedly petitioned the Americans to release Mr. Hekmati.
The thing that makes this case stand out is that Mr. Hekmati was accused by an ex Taliban informer and in spite of the fact that there have been many high level Afghanistani Government Officials who vouch for him, he never got a hearing or the the justice touted by the Bush Administration. It would seem that the implications surrounding the case made it too hot for them to deal with. Well, they out waited Hekmati. He's dead, now if they ignore reality long enough maybe that will go away too.
The reality is that there are some actual Al Qaeda members in American Prison facilities, but there are many more who were turned in for quick bounty money by those who saw a chance to cash in on America's Panic Inspired Brutality and get rid of an enemy at the same time.
For a real good read, check out this link in todays NY Times with the full story.