May 6, 2016. Attorneys for three men who are being unlawfully detained in Afghanistan submitted petitions to the United Nations today seeking urgent action by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the Special Rapporteur on Torture. The petitions allege that detainees Musa Akhmadjanov, Sa’id Jamaluddin, and Abdul Fatah are being abused in Afghan custody and were recently transferred to a prison cell block which houses prisoners awaiting execution. They argue that their continued detention in Afghanistan is arbitrary, indefinite, and unlawful because they remain imprisoned despite Afghan courts having ordered all three men released from custody. The petitions ask the Working Group to find that their detention is unlawful and recommend immediate release from Afghan custody.
Each of the three men was originally detained in 2009 and held in U.S. military custody at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. U.S. authorities eventually determined that the men posed no threat to the United States or its allies and no longer wished to detain them. However, all three men continued to be imprisoned in U.S. custody without access to counsel or any meaningful opportunity to challenge their imprisonment for the next five years.
Jamaluddin and Fatah are brothers who were born in Tajikistan, and Akhmadjanov was born in Uzbekistan. Each of the men faces a substantial risk of torture or death if returned to his native country and therefore cannot be repatriated. Under international law, the U.S. government was under an obligation to release and resettle the men to safe third countries. It failed to do so. Instead, when the U.S. government finally ended its detention operations in Afghanistan in December 2014, it transferred the remaining prisoners (including Akhmadjanov, Jamaluddin and Fatah) to the custody of the Afghan government.
In 2015, the government of Afghanistan allowed the men to have their cases heard in Afghan courts. Akhmadjanov was accused of having associations with anti-government groups, but the court found that there was no evidence to support the claim and ordered himreleased. Abdul Fatah and Sa’id Jamaluddin were tried and convicted of entering Afghanistan without a visa or proper travel documents, however they were sentenced to time already served and so they too were ordered released.
In January 2016, all three men went on a hunger strike to protest their continued detention, conditions of confinement, and mistreatment. Afghan authorities then transferred the men to a cell block which houses prisoners on “death row” and other violent offenders. The petitions filed today allege that they have been beaten and/or abused while in Afghan custody, and are currently being denied adequate food, clothing and access to medical care.
The detainees are represented by the International Justice Network and Yale Law School’s Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic.
January 27, 2016. Three Bagram detainees transferred by the U.S. government to Afghan custody in December 2014 have begun a hunger strike to protest their continued imprisonment and treatment at the Afghanistan National Detention Facility. For the first time since their detention began in 2009, Sa’id Jamaluddin and Abdul Fatah were allowed to speak with their lawyer, Tina M. Foster of the U.S.-based International Justice Network (IJN). Sa’id and Abdul, two brothers originally from Tajikistan, reported that they, along with another detainee, IJN client Musa Akhmadjanov, began a hunger strike on January 18 to protest their unlawful detention by Afghan and U.S. authorities. None of the men has ever been tried or convicted of any charges related to terrorism or any hostile activities against U.S. or Afghan forces.
Sa’id Jamaluddin was seventeen years old when he was arrested by U.S. forces in Northern Afghanistan in 2008. He and his older brother, Abdul Fatah, were staying at a friend’s house when it was targeted by a U.S. military raid. Though no weapons or incriminating evidence were found at the scene, U.S. authorities arrested the brothers and sent them to the U.S. military prison at Bagram Air Base. After months of interrogation, the U.S. government did not find any evidence of links to the Taliban or terrorism. Nor did it find any crime with which to charge Sa’id or Abdul.
Dear fellow human rights defender,
You have seen the images of killings and violence.
You have heard the hateful rhetoric and threats.
You have read the discriminatory proposed laws and policies.
You can take action now to end all of it!
Muslims in the United States and around the world are under attack, and they are looking to the International Justice Network for legal assistance and support now, more than ever. For the past decade, our organization has been on the front lines of the fight against Islamophobia and all other forms of racial, religious, and ethnic profiling in the US and across the globe. We’ve had many successes along the way, but there is so much more to do before we can live in a world where everyone’s fundamental human rights are protected.
Together, we will make the difference.
Dear human rights defender,
Thanks to your support, the International Justice Network celebrated many victories in 2015. Some of the highlights are below. And...if you haven't already, there is still time to make a tax-deductible contribution to IJN for 2015. You can make a secure online donation today by clicking here, or by sending a check to International Justice Network at 421 8th Avenue #211, New York, NY 10116-0211.
With your help this year, we successfully advocated for the release of two wrongfully detained men who were secretly captured and tortured for years at CIA black sites before being imprisoned without charge or trial at the U.S.-run detention center in Bagram, Afghanistan. The U.S. Supreme Court vacated the lower court judgments against two Bagram detainees who sought to challenge their unlawful imprisonment, marking the end of a nearly decade-long battle we waged in U.S. courts seeking justice for Bagram detainees. We joined 100 other human rights groups from around the world in demanding accountability for CIA torture.