August 26, 2014, New York, NY. The International Justice Network (IJN) is delighted to announce that two of its clients,Fadi al-Maqaleh and Amin al-Bakri, have been released from Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, were they had been imprisoned without charge for over a decade. On the evening of August 25, 2014, the U.S. government transferred the two Yemeni nationals to the custody and control of the Yemeni government. The transfer is the first time that a detainee has been transferred from U.S. military custody to Yemen since 2010.
IJN filed the first case challenging the U.S. government’s imprisonment without charge of detainees at Bagram in 2006, on behalf of Yemeni citizen Fadi al-Maqaleh. IJN and co-counsel then filed additional cases on behalf of several other detainees at Bagram, including the other Yemeni at Bagram, Amin al-Bakri. Over the past 8 years, IJN and co-counsel have litigated their cases in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and appealed to the D.C. Circuit Court of appeals. On August 11, 2014, IJN and co-counsel filed a petition for certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that the court should consider al-Maqaleh and al-Bakri’s legal cases because continuing to hold the men indefinitely without charge or the right to habeas corpus violates the U.S. Constitution.
“This is a very joyous day,” said Tina Monshipour Foster, Attorney and Executive Director of IJN. “Mr. al-Maqaleh and Mr. al-Bakri have been victims of grave human rights violations at the hands of the U.S. government, including torture and extraordinary rendition, and we are absolutely thrilled that their abusive and unlawful imprisonment at Bagram has come to an end” Foster said. “On behalf of our clients, we wish to express our deep gratitude to the many people around the world who have been fighting for the rights of prisoners held by the U.S. military at Bagram and Guantánamo. This is a bright day in an otherwise dark era.”
In their petitions, Mr. al-Maqaleh and Mr. al-Bakri allege that they were seized outside of Afghanistan – far from any recognized battlefield – before being forcibly rendered to secret prisons, where they were tortured and coercively interrogated in the custody of the CIA. The U.S. government then secretly transferred them to Afghanistan and imprisoned the men at Bagram, also known as “the other Guantánamo,” where they were held without charge, access to legal counsel, or the ability to contest their imprisonment.