Raising concerns over the wellbeing of Ahmed Rabbani, a Pakistani citizen who waited 15 years for a charge or a trial in Guantanamo Bay before going on a hunger strike, Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has said, “It is our duty to ensure that Ahmed is kept healthy and alive until he is returned to his wife and son in Karachi.”
In his article published in the Washington Post, Imran asked, “this is, I feel sure, the kind of protest that Americans will understand: After all, how else can Ahmed object to 15 years of injustice but by refusing to put anything in his mouth?”
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Ahmed’s family come from the persecuted Burmese Rohingya; he is a rather humble taxi driver from Karachi who was sold for a bounty to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 2002. They were told that Ahmed was someone called Hassan Ghul, but he insisted this was a mistake, said the PTI chairman.
Ahmed was tortured “without approval” and this, Imran said in the report, was also confirmed by the Senate Intelligence Committee in its investigation of the CIA torture programme.
He was held for more than 540 days in CIA custody before being rendered to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, he added.
The PTI chairman continued that under Barack Obama, US authorities used to force-feed the hunger strikers, pumping them full of supplements. In a telephone call, however, with his lawyer at international human rights organisation Reprieve, Ahmed has explained how on September 20, the Trump administration enacted a new policy of not force-feeding hunger strikers.
“Ahmed and other peaceful strikers would essentially be pushed as close to death as possible in order to try to force them to end the hunger strike, even if it means their organs fail or they die. Ahmed reports that the military are [is] withholding medical care as well.”
Imran said, “Ahmed is a devout Muslim, and it would run counter to his faith to take his own life. He does not want death, merely justice — and it reflects his understandable desperation for justice that he should have persisted for so long.”
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The Pakistani government, Imran complained, has not spoken up for Ahmed but he thinks he has to.
“I call upon all moderate Americans to remember the small number of people languishing in Guantanamo Bay and insist on respect for the principles that the United States was built on — liberty, justice and freedom for all,” concluded the PTI chairman.
This story originally appeared on the Washington Post.
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