Write to the Forgotten Prisoners in Guantanamo

June 24, 2010 at 11:33 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment

Write to the Forgotten Prisoners in Guantanamo

Andy Worthington

Please see list of prisoners below

June 23, 2010

Sometimes the idea for a campaign arrives out of the blue, and this is the case with a project to write to all the remaining prisoners in Guantلnamo, which was launched last week by Shahrina Ahmed-Amatullah, a friend on Facebook.Shahrina had a list of 24 prisoners provided by Amnesty International (mirrored here), and approached me to ask if I had a list of all the prisoners still held. I explained that I didn’t have a specific list of the remaining prisoners, but that she could extract their names from my definitive prisoner lists (available here, here, here and here), which she then did, announcing the project via a Facebook note entitled, “What if YOU were tortured … and no one knew about it??!”

As Shahrina explained in her note, announcing a deadline of July 12 for writing to all the remaining prisoners, and asking her friends to nominate prisoners to whom they would write, “A single letter to these prisoners is a huge ray of light in their lives. Think about it — why can we not even do just that?! Is that how busy and occupied we are with life?”

As she also explained, “It will be nice if you could leave your name and address as you sign off the letter — as some brothers like to write back. This also gives the brothers hope that they do have support — and gives them the opportunity to talk about their lives to someone. It gives them the opportunity to lighten their hearts. You have the honour of lifting their weights and giving them the chance to speak about what it is REALLY like in there. If you still wish not to disclose any information — then please do not let this put you off. It’s not compulsory that you disclose such information — it is just comforting for the brothers to know they have someone else to communicate with — who really cares.”

I thought this was such an excellent idea — as did my colleagues at Cageprisoners — that the team at Cageprisoners also put together a campaign page, entitled, “Do not forget to write to the remaining prisoners in Guantلnamo,” which contained the following information:

Guantلnamo Bay may be off the radar screens, with some people actually believing the place has been closed down simply because Obama had promised to do so within a year of his presidency, but how can the men held there for so many years simply be erased from our memories? The campaign against the US prison may not have achieved the ultimate goal of acquiring justice for all the prisoners, but it has ensured that the men of Guantلnamo are not forgotten. At least that’s what it should have done.

A practical part of any campaign is to engage those whom it affects most — in this case the prisoners (and their families).

A letter can literally go a long way in helping to relieve the ordeal of men who have been incarcerated in the world’s most notorious prison for close to a decade, without charge or trial in any fair or recognised legal system. After years of neglect, torture, abuse, cruel and unusual treatment the remaining prisoners at Guantلnamo Bay still have no light at the end of the tunnel. Their strength and resilience has been in their faith, whilst their patience has been tested to the extreme.

Writing a letter to them might not secure their release or replace their lost years, but it can give a person who feels abandoned by the world a little solace and hope. Testimony from released prisoners bears witness to that.

Former Guantلnamo prisoner and Al-Jazeera journalist Sami Al-Hajj said:

There were very few moments in Guantلnamo that would give us joy. One of those moments was when we received letters from our families; but we were even happier knowing that some — who we didn’t even know — had written to us for no other reason than to show their support and care for us.

Former Guantلnamo prisoner and Cageprisoners’ researcher Feroz Abbasi said:

The odd letter from a person I didn’t know in the outside world gave me a lot of strength, particularly because I felt we had been abandoned by the world — especially the Muslim world.

Former Guantلnamo prisoner and Cageprisoners director Moazzam Begg said:

Letters and messages of support and solidarity are just as important now as they were when we first received them, even when they were heavily redacted. In a place where all hope of justice seems so far removed letters from unseen faces and unknown names are a breath of fresh air and a ray of hope.

So, please remember the prisoners in your prayer and follow through with actions that might bring a little smile to those who have undergone unimaginable tribulations over the years.

The Cageprisoners campaign page also linked to an earlier page providing advice about writing letters. There are many different points of view regarding what is appropriate, and what may or may not get through to prisoners. Amnesty International, for example, point out that simple messages of good will are best, and that anything that can be construed as political should be avoided, as it will almost certainly not be delivered. Their “Greeting Cards Campaign” page, for example, provides the following advice: “Simple messages of solidarity and good will are enough, especially if you are not writing in the recipient’s first language. For example: ‘Wishing you peace and happiness for the future’ or ‘Thinking of you.’ Never advance your political opinions or discuss politics.”

This is certainly sound advice, but for Muslim readers — or, indeed, for non-Muslims who want to reach out to prisoners in a manner they will understand — Cageprisoners also provides the following suggestions:

  • Encourage them to be patient, and to have faith in Allah.
  • Remind them that this life is filled with trials, and that those whom Allah loves will be tested again and again.
  • Remind them of their purpose in life, and the promise of Jannah.
  • Quote Qur’anic verses and hadith that mention the above, which will help increase their faith and strengthen their relationship with Allah.
  • Encourage them to read the Qur’an often and engage in a lot of Dhikr.
  • Whether you write a few words, or a long letter, it is important to keep on writing on a regular basis. As it is told in a hadith of the Prophet, sallallahu alayhi was sallam, “The most beloved deeds to Allah are those which are regularly done even if they were little.”

Cageprisoners also notes that writing to prisoners “lets prison staff know that people out there care, and are concerned about them,” and that this “may decrease the chances that the prisoners [are] mistreated.”

So please, go ahead and write. If you are an Arabic speaker, or speak any other languages spoken by the prisoners besides English, feel free to write in those languages, and if you want any more encouragement about the significance for prisoners of receiving letters, then please visit this Amnesty International page, which features a short film of former prisoner Omar Deghayes showing letters he received in Guantلnamo and explaining how much they meant to him — and to his fellow prisoners, which was filmed as part of an interview with Omar that is featured in the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantلnamo” (directed by Polly Nash and myself), and available on DVD here. Also, please feel free to let me know if you have written a letter, and also if you receive a reply.

Please write to the remaining 181 prisoners in Guantلnamo!

When writing to the prisoners please ensure you include their full name and ISN (internment serial number) below (the numbers before their names, i.e. Shaker Aamer ISN 239) and address to:

Camp Delta
P.O. Box 160
Washington D.C. 20053

Also please note that the list includes five prisoners who have been released, but who I have been unable to identify, because their names have not been publicly disclosed: three unidentified prisoners released in Slovakia in January 2010, and two unidentified prisoners released in Georgia in March 2010.

1) 004 Wasiq, Abdul-Haq (Afghanistan)
2) 006 Noori, Mullah Norullah (Afghanistan)
3) 007 Fazil, Mullah Mohammed (Afghanistan)
4) 026 Ghazi, Fahed (Yemen)
5) 027 Uthman, Uthman Abdul Rahim Mohammed (Yemen)
6) 028 Al Alawi, Muaz (Yemen)
7) 029 Al Ansi, Mohammed (Yemen)
8) 030 Al Hakimi, Ahmed (Yemen)
9) 031 Al Mujahid, Mahmoud (Yemen)
10) 033 Al Adahi, Mohammed (Yemen)
11) 034 Al Yafi, Abdullah (Yemen)
12) 035 Qader Idris, Idris (Yemen)
13) 036 Idris, Ibrahim (Sudan)
14) 037 Al Rahabi, Abdul Malik (Yemen)
15) 038 Al Yazidi, Ridah (Tunisia)
16) 039 Al Bahlul, Ali Hamza (Yemen)
17) 040 Al Mudafari, Abdel Qadir (Yemen)
18) 041 Ahmad, Majid (Yemen)
19) 042 Shalabi, Abdul Rahman (Saudi Arabia)
20) 043 Moqbel, Samir (Yemen)
21) 044 Ghanim, Mohammed (Yemen)
22) 045 Al Rezehi, Ali Ahmad (Yemen)
23) 054 Al Qosi, Ibrahim (Sudan)
24) 063 Al Qahtani, Mohammed (Saudi Arabia)
25) 088 Awad, Adham Ali (Yemen)
26) 089 Tsiradzho, Poolad (Azerbaijan)
27) 091 Al Saleh, Abdul (Yemen)
28) 115 Naser, Abdul Rahman (Yemen)
29) 117 Al Warafi, Muktar (Yemen)
30) 128 Al Bihani, Ghaleb (Yemen)
31) 131 Ben Kend, Salem (Yemen)
32) 152 Al Khalaqi, Asim (Yemen)
33) 153 Suleiman, Fayiz (Yemen)
34) 156 Latif, Adnan Farhan Abdul (Yemen)
35) 163 Al Qadasi, Khalid (Yemen)
36) 165 Al Busayss, Said (Yemen)
37) 167 Al Raimi, Ali Yahya (Yemen)
38) 168 Hakimi, Adel (Hakeemy) (Tunisia)
39) 170 Masud, Sharaf (Yemen)
40) 171 Alahdal, Abu Bakr (Yemen)
41) 174 Sliti, Hisham (Tunisia)
42) 178 Baada, Tareq (Yemen)
43) 189 Gherebi, Salem (Libya)
44) 195 Al Shumrani, Mohammed (Saudi Arabia)
45) 197 Chekhouri, Younis (Morocco)
46) 200 Al Qahtani, Said (Saudi Arabia)
47) 202 Bin Atef, Mahmoud (Yemen)
48) 219 Razak, Abdul (China)
49) 223 Sulayman, Abdul Rahman (Yemen)
50) 224 Muhammad, Abdul Rahman (Yemen)
51) 232 Al Odah, Fawzi (Al Awda) (Kuwait)
52) 233 Salih, Abdul (Yemen)
53) 235 Jarabh, Saeed (Yemen)
54) 238 Hadjarab, Nabil (Algeria-France)
55) 239 Aamer, Shaker (UK-Saudi Arabia)
56) 240 Al Shabli, Abdullah (Saudi Arabia)
57) 242 Qasim, Khaled (Yemen)
58) 244 Nassir, Abdul Latif (Morocco)
59) 249 Al Hamiri, Mohammed (Yemen)
60) 251  Bin Salem, Mohammed (Yemen)
61) 254 Khenaina, Mohammed (Yemen)
62) 255 Hatim, Said (Yemen)
63) 257 Abdulayev, Omar (Tajikistan)
64) 259  Hintif, Fadil (Yemen)
65) 263 Sultan, Ashraf (Libya)
66) 275 Abbas, Yusef (Abdusabar) (China)
67) 280 Khalik, Saidullah (Khalid) (China)
68) 282 Abdulghupur, Hajiakbar (China)
69) 288  Saib, Motai (Algeria)
70) 290  Belbacha, Ahmed (UK-Algeria)
71) 307 Al Tumani, Abdul Nasir (Syria)
72) 309 Abdal Sattar, Muieen (UAE)
73) 310 Ameziane, Djamel (Algeria)
74) 311 Bin Mohammed, Farhi Said (Algeria)
75) 321 Kuman, Ahmed Yaslam Said (Yemen)
76) 324 Al Sabri, Mashur (Yemen)
77) 326 Ajam, Ahmed (Syria)
78) 327 Shaaban, Ali Hussein (Syria)
79) 328 Mohamed, Ahmed (China)
80) 329 Al Hamawe, Abu Omar (Syria)
81) 331 Al Shurafa, Ayman (Saudi Arabia-Palestine)
82) 369 El Gazzar, Adel Fattough Ali (Egypt)
83) 434 Al Shamyri, Mustafa (Yemen)
84) 440 Bawazir, Mohammed (Yemen)
85) 441 Al Zahri, Abdul Rahman (Yemen)
86) 461 Al Qyati, Abdul Rahman (Yemen)
87) 498 Haidel, Mohammed (Yemen)
88) 502 Ourgy, Abdul (Tunisia)
89) 506 Al Dhuby, Khalid (Yemen)
90) 508 Al Rabie, Salman (Yemen)
91) 509 Khusruf, Mohammed (Yemen)
92) 511 Al Nahdi, Sulaiman (Yemen)
93) 522 Ismail, Yasin (Yemen)
94) 535 El Sawah, Tariq (Al Sawah) (Bosnia-Egypt)
95) 537 Al Ali, Mahmud (Syria)
96) 549 Al Dayi, Omar (Yemen)
97) 550 Zaid, Walid (Yemen)
98) 552 Al Kandari, Faiz (Kuwait)
99) 553 Al Baidhani, Abdul Khaliq (Saudi Arabia)
100) 554  Al Assani, Fehmi (Yemen)
101) 560 Mohammed, Haji Wali (Afghanistan)
102) 564 Bin Amer, Jalal (Yemen)
103) 566  Qattaa, Mansoor (Saudi Arabia)
104) 569 Al Shorabi, Zohair (Yemen)
105) 570 Al Qurashi, Sabri (Yemen)
106) 572  Al Zabe, Salah (Saudi Arabia)
107) 574 Al Wady, Hamoud (Yemen)
108) 575 Al Azani, Saad (Yemen)
109) 576 Bin Hamdoun, Zahir (Yemen)
110) 578 Al Suadi, Abdul Aziz (Yemen)
111) 579 Khairkhwa, Khairullah (Afghanistan)
112) 675  Kasimbekov, Kamalludin (Uzbekistan)
113) 680 Hassan, Emad (Yemen)
114) 681  Hassen, Mohammed (Mohammed Hassan Odaini) (Yemen)
115) 682 Al Sharbi, Ghassan (Saudi Arabia)
116) 684 Tahamuttan, Mohammed (Palestine)
117) 685 Ali, Abdelrazak (Algeria)
118) 686 Hakim, Abdel (Yemen)
119) 688 Ahmed, Fahmi (Yemen)
120) 689 Salam, Mohamed (Yemen)
121) 690 Qader, Ahmed Abdul (Yemen)
122) 691 Al Zarnuki, Mohammed (Yemen)
123) 694 Barhoumi, Sufyian (Algeria)
124) 695 Abu Bakr, Omar (Omar Mohammed Khalifh) (Libya)
125) 696 Al Qahtani, Jabran (Saudi Arabia)
126) 702 Mingazov, Ravil (Russia)
127) 707 Muhammed, Noor Uthman (Sudan)
128) 708 Al Bakush, Ismael (Libya)
129) 713 Al Zahrani, Mohammed (Saudi Arabia)
130) 717 Bin Hadiddi, Abdulhadi (Hedi Hammamy) (Tunisia)
131) 722 Diyab, Jihad (Syria)
132) 728 Nassir, Jamil (Yemen)
133) 744  Naji, Aziz Abdul (Algeria)
134) 753 Zahir, Abdul (Afghanistan)
135) 757 Abdul Aziz, Ahmed Ould (Mauritania)
136) 760 Slahi, Mohamedou Ould (Salahi) (Mauritania)
137) 762 Obaidullah (Afghanistan)
138) 766 Khadr, Omar (Canada)
139) 768 Al Darbi, Ahmed Mohammed (Saudi Arabia)
140) 782 Gul, Awal (Afghanistan)
141) 832 Omari, Mohammed Nabi (Afghanistan)
142) 836 Saleh, Ayoub Murshid Ali (Yemen)
143) 837 Al Marwalah, Bashir (Yemen)
144) 838 Balzuhair, Shawki Awad (Yemen)
145) 839 Al Mudwani, Musab (Musa’ab Al Madhwani) (Yemen)
146) 840 Al Maythali, Hail Aziz Ahmed (Yemen)
147) 841 Nashir, Said Salih Said (Yemen)
148) 892  Al Hami, Rafiq (Alhami) (Tunisia)
149) 893 Al Bihani, Tawfiq (Saudi Arabia)
150) 894  Abdul Rahman, Mohammed (Tunisia)
151) 899 Khan, Shawali (Afghanistan)
152) 928 Gul, Khi Ali (Afghanistan)
153) 934 Ghani, Abdul (Afghanistan)
154) 975 Karim, Bostan (Afghanistan)
155) 1008 Sohail, Mohammed Mustafa (Afghanistan)
156) 1015  Almerfedi, Hussein (Yemen)
157) 1017 Al Rammah, Omar (Zakaria al-Baidany) (Yemen)
158) 1045 Kamin, Mohammed (Afghanistan)
159) 1094 Paracha, Saifullah (Pakistan)
160) 1103 Zahir, Mohammed (Afghanistan)
161) 1119 Hamidullah, Haji (Afghanistan)
162) 1453 Al Kazimi, Sanad (Yemen)
163) 1456 Bin Attash, Hassan (Saudi Arabia)
164) 1457 Sharqawi, Abdu Ali (Yemen)
165) 1460 Rabbani, Abdul Rahim Ghulam (Pakistan)
166) 1461 Rabbani, Mohammed Ghulam (Pakistan)
167) 1463 Al Hela, Abdulsalam (Yemen)
168) 10001 Bensayah, Belkacem (Bosnia-Algeria)
169) 10011 Al Hawsawi, Mustafa (Saudi Arabia)
170) 10013 Bin Al Shibh, Ramzi (Yemen)
171) 10014 Bin Attash, Waleed (Saudi Arabia)
172) 10015 Al Nashiri, Abdul Rahim (Saudi Arabia)
173) 10016 Zubaydah, Abu (Palestine-Saudi Arabia)
174) 10017 Al Libi, Abu Faraj (Libya)
175) 10018 Al Baluchi, Ammar (Ali Abdul Aziz Ali) (Pakistan-Kuwait)
176) 10019 Isamuddin, Riduan (Hamlili) (Indonesia)
177) 10020 Khan, Majid (Pakistan)
178) 10021 Bin Amin, Modh Farik (Zubair) (Malaysia)
179) 10022 Bin Lep, Mohammed (Lillie) (Malaysia)
180) 10023 Dourad, Gouled Hassan (Somalia)
181) 10024 Mohammed, Khalid Sheikh (Pakistan-Kuwait)
182) 10025 Malik, Mohammed Abdul (Kenya)
183) 10026 Al Iraqi, Abdul Hadi (Iraq)
184) 10028 Al Afghani, Haroon (Afghanistan)
185) 10029 Inayatullah (Afghanistan)
186) 10030 Rahim, Muhammad (Afghanistan)

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantلnamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed (and I can also be found on Facebook and Twitter). Also see my definitive Guantلnamo prisoner list, updated in January 2010, details about the new documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantلnamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, currently on tour in the UK, and available on DVD here), and my definitive Guantلnamo habeas list, and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.



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