FAMILY OF 'GHOST PRISONER' DETAINED WITHOUT CHARGE FOR 6 YEARS IN US CUSTODY AT BAGRAM AIRBASE FILES LAWSUIT
Tuesday, July 29, 2008, New York, NY --Nearly six years after his son's disappearance, Muhammad Al Bakri filed a habeas corpus petition in Washington, D.C. today on behalf of his son, Amin Al Bakri. According to the petition filed today in Al Bakri v. Bush, U.S. agents abducted Mr. Al Bakri, a forty year-old Yemeni gemstone trader and father of three, from Bangkok, Thailand. At the time of his abduction in December 2002, Mr. Al Bakri was on his way back home after a brief five-day business trip and was headed to the Bangkok airport after checking out of his hotel when he disappeared.
According to the petition, Mr. Al Bakri was abducted as part of the CIA's secret rendition and interrogation program, and likely subjected to torture during his time as a "ghost prisoner" before eventually resurfacing in U.S. military custody at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. For six months, Mr. Al Bakri's family had no idea what had become of him. "My son's wife and their three young children feared the worst," said Mr. Al Bakri's father, Muhammad. It was only after receiving a handwritten message delivered by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) that Mr. Al Bakri's family learned that he was still alive.
"For the last six years, I have knocked on every door I could think of to secure my son's release, with no results. Working with our attorneys to file this petition is the only thing that we have not tried yet," Muhammad Al Bakri said. "Our family is suffering every day and night," Muhammad Al Bakri said. He reports that he and Amin's mother suffer from increased health problems due to the ongoing stress and says that "Amin's wife feels as though half her soul is missing." But he has the greatest concern for his grandchildren: "Amin's detention has hurt his children the most. They've been robbed of the joy of their childhood. They know they've lost something."
Mr. Al Bakri is represented by Michael Thad Allen, Leah Belsky, and Amanda Shanor, law student interns, and supervising attorneys Ramzi Kassem, Hope Metcalf, and Michael Wishnie of the National Litigation Project at Yale Law School's Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic. They work in cooperation with attorneys Tina Monshipour Foster and Barbara Olshansky of the International Justice Network, the human rights charity that filed the first legal challenges on behalf of civilians held at Bagram in October 2006 and remains the only organization representing Bagram detainees in U.S. courts.
|Yale Law School
Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic
National Litigation Project