The U.S. Has Held Me For 19 Years Without A Charge. I Have Just One Chance To Be Freed. by Ahmed Rabbani

It is a grave injustice to hold a man for 19 years without charge, no matter what the circumstances. From Ahmed Rabbani at

A photo of the author taken before he was detained by the U.S. government. (Photo: Courtesy of Reprieve)
A photo of the author taken before he was detained by the U.S. government. (Photo: Courtesy of Reprieve)

Next month will mark my 19th year of detention by the United States government, even though I have never been charged with a crime, let alone put on trial.

Earlier this month was the closest I have come to my “day in court,” when my lawyers presented my case to the Periodic Review Board. If the Board recommends my release from Guantanamo, even though this would be a recommendation from the U.S.’s national security agencies, whether I am released and how long this takes would still be up to President Biden. My fate lies in his hands.

Like everything here, what the Board does is secret. I have not had allegations put to me, so I cannot respond to them. I do know that from the start, my case was one of mistaken identity. Nearly two decades of my life have been stolen because the U.S. thought I was someone else. I was sold for a bounty to the U.S. based on the false claim that I was an extremist named Hassan Ghul.

The U.S. Senate’s Torture Report later revealed that when I was being tortured in the Dark Prison in Kabul into saying I was Ghul, the U.S. actually captured the real Hassan Ghul and brought him to the same prison. But in the end they let him go and sent me to Guantanamo. He apparently went back to what he had been doing before, and the U.S. killed him in a drone strike. Meanwhile, I am simply collateral damage in the so-called “war on terror.”

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