Omar al-Dayi Refused to Participate in the US Kangaroo Courts in Guantanamo

Weighing only ninety-eight pounds upon arrival at Guantanamo, probably having been tortured in the Black site at Bagram, Omar al-Dayi from Yemen has been seriously abused by US officials, as you can read here in Andy Worthington’s report.

Small wonder that he refused to participate in the hearings held at Guantanamo during which prisoners were not allowed legal counsel and which were widely recognized there and here in the US as window dressing for the Bush regime, not serious legal proceedings.

The case made against al-Dayi in two of these kangaroo courts is that he traveled to Afghanistan “with a recruiter,” in August of 2001 where he “received weapons training.” He was said to have fallen ill with malaria after the first day and was unable to stand or walk. Worthington continues, “that, after six weeks at the safe house, all the Arabs were told to go to Jalalabad, where they stayed in another safe house for a few weeks before leaving for Tora Bora. In the mountains, it was alleged that al-Dayi ‘was shown to his position,’ with 10-12 other Arabs, but that his group, though armed, ‘spent most of its time hiding in one of the three caves located close to its position.’ Wounded in the leg by a missile, he was then ‘evacuated by an Afghan on a donkey to a nearby village,’ and driven to the hospital in Jalalabad, where he stayed for two months ‘before being taken by Americans to a prison in Kabul’ –- presumably the notorious, CIA-run ‘Dark Prison,’ where several of the Tora Bora prisoners were held –- before being transferred to Kandahar and then Guantánamo.”

This is all that the US has found to merit torture of Omar al-Dayi and to continue to hold him in the torture camp at Guantanamo after all these years! And there is no real proof that even these things are true. It may be that some of these allegations were made by others under torture. Al-Dayi is clearly at most a low level “fighter” who does not appear to have done any damage to anyone.

Andy Worthington remarks on his blog that no one is addressing a fundamental issue about many of the remaining men in the US torture camp at Guantanamo and that is evident here. No distinction is made, remarks Worthington between al-Qaeda and the Taliban, though the first is a terrorist organization and the second was the government of Afghanistan on 9/11.

The implications for this difference are enormous. Military personnel of a government should be protected by the Geneva Conventions. And even foot soldiers trained in military camps by al-Qaeda were not engaged in terrorist activities, but were soldiers.

The problem with making those legal distinctions is that they would seriously undermine the dubious “enemy combatant” designation dreamed up by the Bush regime and continued as part of the case for holding these men indefinitely. There really is no justification for such conduct by the US.

New rulings by the district court in Washington allow the US to keep these people in custody without credible justification. Omar al-Dayi may spend the rest of his life in Guantanamo unless we make it clear that we will not be parties to such injustice and such crimes against humanity.

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