I haven’t seen a whole lot of discussion about this story over the past week — in part, I suppose, because we’ve been trying to figure out why in the world people in the Middle East might have attacked our embassies and consulates. It seems to me to be precisely the sort of story we ought to spend our time discussing:
A prisoner who died in his cell at the Guantanamo Bay naval base during the weekend was a suicidal and mentally ill Yemeni who had won a U.S. court order for his release, only to have it overturned on appeal, according to his lawyer and court records.
[Adnan] Latif was captured near the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan in late 2001.
Administrative review boards at Guantanamo recommended he be transferred to his homeland in 2006 and again in 2008, recommendations that were never carried out.
Latif challenged his detention in the U.S. District Court in Washington, which ruled in July 2010 that he should go free. His lawyers argued that Latif had gone to Pakistan and then Afghanistan to seek medical treatment from an aid group for a severe head injury suffered in a car crash.
The U.S. government, which says Latif was an al Qaeda fighter recruited and trained in Afghanistan by the Taliban, successfully appealed against the District Court ruling and the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Latif’s appeal without comment in June.
Latif was among the Yemenis cleared for transfer by President Barack Obama’s Guantanamo Review Task Force in 2009, Remes said.
“He was never a threat to the United States and should never have been brought to Guantanamo,” Remes said. “He should have been released long ago not just because he was innocent of any wrongdoing but because humanitarian considerations cried out for his release.”
Obama imposed a moratorium on returning Guantanamo captives to Yemen after a Yemeni-trained Nigerian, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, tried to blow up a Detroit-bound plane with a bomb in his underpants on Christmas Day 2009.
More here and here.