The clarion call of two men wrongfully detained in Guantanamo.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently described the military prison at Guantanamo as a “very fine place.” I’d like to introduce him to two men who know better: Lakhdar Boumediene and Mustafa Ait Idir, who spent seven years in Guantanamo before establishing their innocence.
Lakhdar and Mustafa were living quiet, peaceful lives in Sarajevo when, in October 2001, they were arrested by Bosnian police and accused of participating in a terrorist plot. After a three-month investigation uncovered no evidence, all charges were dropped. However, instead of releasing them, Bosnian officials—acting under the cover of darkness and intense U.S. pressure—handed them over to American soldiers who brought them, blindfolded and shackled, to Guantanamo.
Lakhdar and Mustafa were living quiet, peaceful lives in Sarajevo when, in October 2001, they were arrested by Bosnian police and accused of participating in a terrorist plot.
By 2002, military intelligence officers realized that the charges against Lakhdar and Mustafa were—as acknowledged in emails that surfaced years later—“bullshit.” Nevertheless, it took six-and-a-half years and a landmark Supreme Court ruling, Boumediene v. Bush, for Lakhdar and Mustafa to even have a chance to appear before a federal judge and argue their innocence. When they finally did, that judge, George W. Bush–appointee Richard Leon, was stunned by the weakness of the government’s case and ordered their release.