Fouad Mahmoud Hasan Al Rabiah has been returned to Kuwait!!! Read the press release here.
Mr. Al Rabiah had been ordered released "forthwith" by Judge Kollar-Kotelly of the D.C. District Court on September 19, 2009. Read the story here.
Find a detailed analysis of Judge Kollar-Kotelly's decision here.
Find a discussion of the on-going political process here.
Judge Kollar-Kotelly's landmark decision not only demonstrates the astonishing weakness of the government's evidence; it demonstrates that Mr. Al Rabiah, a genuine relief worker, fell victim to the reckless assumption that every Arab in Afghanistan was an enemy combatant. After nearly eight years of unjust confinement, Mr. Al Rabiah's nightmare may finally be coming to an end.
Background: Fouad Mahmoud Hasan Al Rabiah is a fifty-year-old father of four children. Prior to his detention by U.S. forces in 2001, Mr. Al Rabiah was gainfully employed by Kuwait Airways, where he was responsible for managing aircraft parts. He is an international graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University but is neither a licensed pilot nor trained in aircraft operation.
As a peaceful and devout Muslim, Mr. Al Rabiah has an established history of international relief work. For example, in 1988, he worked on a Red Crescent rescue campaign in Kosovo. Similarly, in 2000, he delivered a consignment of medicine to Bangladesh for patients suffering from kidney disease.
In 2001, Mr. Al Rabiah made two trips to Afghanistan to observe and document the refugee crisis and to provide whatever immediate relief he could. During his second visit, the United States invaded Afghanistan and Mr. Al Rabiah was sold by Afghan villagers to the Northern Alliance. He was delivered to U.S. custody and was ultimately transferred to Guantanamo Bay . . . where he has been detained without trial for more than seven years.
Mr. Al Rabiah's treatment in custody falls far short of that required by the Geneva Convention. He has, for example, been beaten, threatened, restrained in painful stress positions for long periods, exposed to extreme heat and cold, and deprived of sleep for up to thirty days at a time. After many months of such treatment, Mr. Al Rabiah "confessed" to some of the allegations against him--but this confession is worth no more than those forcibly obtained from U.S. POWs in Korea and Vietnam. Click here to evaluate the legitimacy of the Combatant Status Review Tribunal (CSRT) process by which the innocent Mr. Al Rabiah was found to be an "enemy combatant."
In fact, Mr. Al Rabiah's lengthy detention stems entirely from mistaken identity. In 2001 and for many years prior, an internationally-known Kuwaiti extremist operated in Afghanistan under the very common kunya (respectful nickname) "Abu Abdullah al Kuwaiti." Coincidentally, Mr. Al Rabiah is also known as "Abu Abdullah" (which simply means "Father of Abdullah"). In the Arab world, this commonality of kunyas would be no more significant than describing each of two American men as "John's father from New York." Nonetheless, under extreme pressure to identify the "worst of the worst," U.S. officials twisted foggy memories and coercive interrogations into a perfect storm of mistaken identity, transforming the innocent Mr. Al Rabiah into the notorious "Abu Abdullah al Kuwaiti." And, while the latter is known to have been killed in Tora Bora in December 2001, Mr. Al Rabiah has nonetheless been detained for more than seven years. Click here for a comparison of the two "Abu Abdullahs."
Mr. Al Rabiah is neither a member nor a supporter of Al Qaeda or the Taliban and looks forward to clearing his name. Justice demands he be released immediately and returned to his family in Kuwait.