Relatives misled many times |
Kuwait Times - 02 July, 2012
The promise to release the two Kuwaiti prisoners at Guantanamo is music to the ears of many in the country, especially to the families of two remaining Kuwaiti prisoners.
However, according to a relative, their struggles are far from over. Speaking with the Kuwait Times, Khalid Al-Odah, the father of Fawzi, one of two remaining Kuwaiti prisoners at Guantanamo, said they have been mislead many times, and they know that fate of their love ones depends on the US Pentagon, the headquarters of the most powerful military in the world.
“They were kept in a military prison for years without charges,” Al-Odah said. “Four years back, they were thought to have been tried in a military court, but that did not happen, not even a day in court.
Eventually, two years ago, our boys were categorized, along with 40 others, who will not be prosecuted, but they remain in custody. So what do you expect now, we are dealing with the most powerful country in the world and we are just a very small country,” Al-Odah told the Kuwait Times.
Al-Odah added that the problem in Guantanamo is that there is no such word as law. “There is no law in Guantanamo. In fact, it was the first time in the history of the US that an accused is held without charges, so there is no way they can defend themselves,” he said.
Yesterday, the Pentagon reportedly dropped war crimes charges against Fayez Al-Kandari, raising the possibility of releasing another detainee, Fawzi Al-Odah.
However, Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah said the report was not true, expressing regret at the ‘hasty declaration of inaccurate information’ by a defense lawyer on the release of two Kuwaiti citizens.
The veteran diplomat, in a statement released on Sunday said, “It is regrettable that the defense attorney, Adel Abdul Hadi, has created a controversy in the press regarding false information about Fayez Al-Kanderi’s release.
I believe that the revelation of such inaccurate information creates a negative impact on families of the detainees, and the lawyer should have, instead, contacted the embassy to receive accurate information, rather than hastily making statements to the press with false information,” the Kuwaiti ambassador mentioned.
Acknowledging that release of the two Kuwaitis from Guantanamo remains among the priorities of the Kuwaiti leadership and the embassy in Washington, the ambassador noted that the mission has diligently and relentlessly worked with American authorities to free the two Kuwaiti detainees.
Sheikh Salem added that the Kuwaiti diplomatic mission helped release 10 of 12 citizens who were held at the detention camp. Further, a visiting Kuwaiti delegation, including officials from the ministries of foreign affairs, justice and interior, said on Saturday that a series of meetings have been held with officials from US authorities and departments, to discuss releasing the Kuwaiti inmates. Defense attorney Abdul Rahman Al-Haroun attended some of these meetings.
Regarding the dropping of charges against Al-Kanderi, Sheikh Salem said American officials notified him that this measure was technical and related to laws of the US Department of Defense “and leads to no legal effect on the issue of the release. His detention is governed by jurisdictions enjoyed by the American president and a relevant Congressional resolution.
So, I am bewildered that the lawyer, Adel Abul Hadi, is unaware of such legal information, although he is representing one of the detainees at Guantanamo.”
As to the attorney’s remarks that the ambassador has not visited the detainees behind bars, Sheikh Salem clarified that the lawyer should have been aware that US laws and regulations prohibit such visits by diplomats and allow “only limited visitations by security delegations.” Sheikh Salam added that he is looking forward to when he will be able to announce the release of the two citizens.
“Moreover, considering the humanitarian aspects of this case, I call upon the lawyer, Adel Abdul Hadi, to authenticate his facts before hurriedly announcing such inaccurate information, thereby negatively affecting the morale of families and efforts of the Kuwaiti embassy in Washington.”
Sheikh Salem had previously told KUNA that the visiting delegation held a series of meetings with US officials regarding this case, in line with guidelines of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, to find a solution to return the Kuwaiti detainees to their homeland as soon as possible.
The Kuwaiti envoy asserted that the case of Kuwaiti detainees at Guantanamo Bay prison was of top priority for both the Kuwaiti government and US administration.
“A commitment must be made by the Kuwaiti government. Without it, I don’t think they’ll be able to be released,” noted Sheikh Salem.