Thursday, March 29, 2012

Why hasn’t Abu Zubaida been tried?

Abu Zubaida has not been charged with any crime, yet he has been detained for ten years. Despite several pending motions before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia since 2009, no rulings have been issued in order to move Mr. Zubaida's habeas case forward. Instead, the U.S. government opposes each motion and refuses to produce evidence to support Mr. Zubaida's indefinite detention.

In the Washington Post, Amanda L. Jacobsen, counsel for Mr. Zubaida, acknowledges that as in Poland, charges for illegal conduct, such as torture, should be brought against U.S. government officials. More importantly, however, charges should be brought against Mr. Zubaida so that he can defend himself in open court. The United States has failed to indict Mr. Zubaida and even admitted that contrary to U.S. government's prior assertions, Mr. Zubaida was not a member of al-Qaeda, nor did he have any knowledge of al-Qaeda's operations.

Guantanamo detainees are imprisoned indefinitely, despite successful habeas petitions and orders of their release. U.S. government documents report that Mr. Zubaida was waterboarded eighty-three times within a one month span. However, allegations of torture likely are not the cause of the U.S. government's refusal to charge him. So why has the United States waited more than a decade before initiating criminal proceedings? As Ms. Jacobsen asserts, it is time to find out.

Original posting of this article can be found here.