Free these Afghan prisoners from Guantánamo!
Dear friend and supporter of "Close Guantánamo":
Thank you for your continuing support of the campaign to raise awareness of the need to close Guantánamo, and to tell the stories of the men still held there.
In the last week we have published the first two profiles of Afghan prisoners still held in Guantánamo -- Shawali Khan, a shopkeeper sold to US forces by an opportunistic Afghan informant 10 years ago, and Abdul Ghani, a poor pomegranate famer and scrap metal scavenger, from a village in Kandahar province, who is an equally unlikely insurgent.
The decision to tell these particular stories was prompted by the discussions regarding the transfer to Qatar of five significant Afghan prisoners, with leadership roles in the Taliban, as part of negotiations for peace in Afghanistan, ahead of the planned withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops in 2014 -- or, according to other accounts, as part of a prisoner swap.
What concerned us was the fact that Shawali Khan and Abdul Ghani are amongst the 12 other Afghan prisoners, mostly seized in 2002 or 2003, who are almost all the kind of insignificant prisoners that, if they had been seized later and held in Bagram instead of being flown to Guantánamo, would have been released, to be reunited with their families, many years ago.
However, as they have no one politically important to argue for them, they remain in Guantánamo, unsure if they will ever be released, or if they are to remain pawns in a cynical game of political manoeuvring for the rest of their lives.
We hope you find the stories interesting, and that they remind you of the kind of indignation that is appropriate when examining the stories of the majority of the 171 men still held in Guantánamo -- the 89 men cleared for release, but who are still held, and the others, like Shawali Khan, Abdul Ghani and others to be profiled in the weeks to come, who have not even been cleared for release, but whose ongoing detention remains inexcusable.
Please also continue to sign the petitions calling for the release from Guantánamo of the British resident Shaker Aamer, profiled here -- via the UK e-petition to the British government (UK citizens and residents only) or via the international Care2 petition, which can be signed by anyone anywhere in the world.