Guantanamo “without end prisoner” Khalid Ahmed Qasim cleared for free up after twenty years, hopes for “some other existence” together with his artwork

A U.S. govt evaluation board has cleared probably the most longest-held prisoners at Guantanamo Bay for free up. The Periodic Assessment Board stated in its July 19 “ultimate choice” that there was once now not enough motive to stay Khalid Ahmed Qasim imprisoned on the base. 

After spending greater than twenty years on the jail camp, Qasim will have to be launched to an as-yet unspecified nation “with a robust rehabilitation and reintegration program,” the board stated.

Probably the most so-called “without end prisoners” at Guantanamo, Qasim was once in his twenties when he arrived in Afghanistan in 2000. It was once his first actual shuttle out of his local Yemen. He went, consistent with statements he and his legal professionals have revamped the following twenty years, to paintings offering help to folks in want.

An undated record picture presentations Guantanamo Bay detainee Khalid Ahmed Qasim, a Yemeni nationwide who, as of the summer season of 2022, had spent part of his existence on the U.S.-run jail camp with out being charged with any crime. 

After the assault on the usCole and the assassination of Afghan chief Ahmed Shah Massoud via al Qaeda, the Northern Alliance — a coalition of Uzbek, Tajik and Hazara warlords who hostile al Qaeda and the Taliban and changed into key companions of U.S. forces within the nation — stepped up its efforts to seize any one of Arab descent in Afghanistan. 

They passed their prisoners over to U.S. forces and, consistent with Gary Schroen, a former CIA intelligence officer who helped lead the seek for Osama bin Encumbered, and testimony from the detainees themselves, had been continuously paid vital bounties.

Qasim’s legal professionals have stated that, fearing the worst, he determined to show himself in, assured that he could be launched as he had no involvement in any assaults. As a substitute, he claims he was once brutally interrogated, tortured and coerced into giving a false confession to coaching with al Qaeda. He was once in the end became over to U.S. forces, who despatched him to Guantanamo Bay in Would possibly 2002.

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Qasim has now spent part of his existence there as “prisoner 242.” He was once by no means placed on trial and not charged with a criminal offense. He claims he spent the primary 9 years of his incarceration in solitary confinement, and that he was once subjected to each bodily and psychological torture and spent seven years on starvation strike.

The periodic evaluation board— a parole mechanism established beneath the Obama management in particular to guage Guantanamo circumstances — had prior to now stated Qasim’s “low degree of coaching and loss of management in al Qaeda or the Taliban,” however till remaining week maintained that he was once no longer eligible for free up because of an “incapacity to control his feelings and movements” and his “loss of plans for the long run if launched.”

His legal professional disagrees with that review. 

“Khalid continues to be younger and is happy for the alternatives earlier than him,” Mark Maher, a U.S.-based legal professional for the British charity “Reprieve,” who represents Qasim and a handful of alternative Guantanamo detainees, advised CBS Information.

Prisoner Khalid Ahmed Qasim speaks to CBS Information and presentations his art work from in the back of a fringe fence on the U.S.-run army jail camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2016. 

CBS Information

All through his incarceration, Qasim has taught himself English and Spanish. He additionally began writing poetry however, maximum significantly, he is develop into an achieved artist. 

A few of his paintings was once displayed at an show off hosted via the CUNY Regulation College in New York in 2020.

A portray via Guantanamo Bay detainee Khalid Ahmed Qasim is noticed in a photograph supplied via the U.Ok.-based human rights group Reprieve.

Khalid Ahmed Qasim/Reprieve

“Portray has been my reduction,” Qasim stated in an open letter he addressed to President Joe Biden in January 2022. “I’m happy with my artwork… Once they had been exhibited in New York, I considered the artwork taking a look out onto the sublime streets and the large structures, and of the folk of their great town taking a look in, and the way they can’t perhaps believe what our lives are like.”

When CBS Information’ Margaret Brennan visited the jail camp at Guantanamo Bay in 2016, Qasim noticed her staff over a fringe fence and was once prepared to percentage his artwork with them, protecting it aloft for the cameras to peer. From in the back of the fence he shouted descriptions of every portray in a mixture of English and Arabic.

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Maher stated he hadn’t had a possibility to talk with Qasim for the reason that board’s determination remaining week, however he stated the Yemeni has some plans going ahead, together with getting again into schooling, pursuing a occupation as an English or Arabic tutor, and extra creating his creative skill.

“His primary precedence is to go away together with his art work,” Maher stated. “As you’ll be conscious, the Trump management stopped permitting detainees to ship their artwork out of the jail; a coverage that the Biden management has no longer reversed.”

A work of artwork via Guantanamo Bay detainee Khalid Ahmed Qasim is noticed in a photograph supplied via the U.Ok.-based human rights workforce Reprieve.

Khalid Ahmed Qasim/Reprieve

It nonetheless wasn’t transparent Monday precisely when Qassim would be capable of go away Guantanamo, or which nation the U.S. would possibly make a handle for his switch. It may not be his house nation of Yemen, as home U.S. legislation prohibits the switch of Guantanamo detainees to that war-torn nation, his legal professional stated. 

The board’s directions are only for him to be despatched to “a rustic with a robust rehabilitation and reintegration program and suitable safety assurances as agreed to via the related USG (U.S. govt) departments and businesses.” 

His long run nonetheless rests with the U.S. Secretaries of State and Protection. It has taken the U.S. govt years to search out appropriate international locations to switch every other launched Guantanamo detainees.

“That stated, Khaled is multilingual, so there are relatively a couple of international locations that I believe he may combine into simply,” Maher advised CBS Information. “We are hoping that this management is occupied with getting folks out of Guantanamo, and swift motion is important to meet that promise.”

Judging from his letter to Mr. Biden in January, the prisoner himself turns out keen to start out once more, some distance clear of Guantanamo Bay.

“I have no idea the place I will be able to cross, or what I will be able to do,” he stated then, “however there’s some other existence for me out of doors this jail.”

Editor’s notice: This tale has been up to date to take away an misguided connection with Qasim taking over making a song.

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