In an extraordinary case, a Palestinian inmate kept prisoner at the Gunatanamo Bay without a court mandate has asked a UN panel to sue the United States and four of its allies for abusing his rights at the CIA “black site.”
Zayn Al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn, known as Abu Zubaydah, is bringing the cases to the U.N. Working Group for Arbitrary Detentions (UNWGAD), having been detained at the notorious military prison for 19 years without trial.
Abu Zubaydah, 50, was living in Saudi Arabia when he was detained in 2002 and handed over to the CIA on the suspicion being one of the al-Qaeda terror group’sringleaders.
In 2006 the CIA concluded that the Palestinian national was never even a member of the group. However, Abu Zubaydah has been held at Guantánamo ever since, with no prospect of release.
In his lawsuit, sent to the UNWGAD on Friday, he accuses the CIA of holding him in arbitrary detention and subjecting him to torture in secret CIA interrogation facilities in Thailand, Poland, Morocco, Lithuania, Afghanistan and the US prison at Guantánamo.
He is also suing the UK government on charges of “complicity in rendition,” for participating in the interrogations and receiving information it knew was obtained under torture.
This is the first time that such charges are being leveled against the UK, Thailand, Morocco and Afghanistan over their involvement with the CIA.
“After 19 years of arbitrary detention, the only appropriate legal remedy for Abu Zubaydah is release and rehabilitation,” said Helen Duffy, the Abu Zubaydah’s international legal representative. “Recognition, apology, transparency, accountability and ensuring these violations do not happen again are all legal obligations, grossly neglected in the war on terror and the subject of this claim. But they are meaningless if ongoing violations are not brought to an end.”
President Joe Biden has pledged to close down the Gitmo, a promise former President Barack Obama also made but failed ro deliver in wake of strong opposition by Congress and the Pentagon.
Duffy, who is also the head of the advocay group Human Rights in Practice, said how Biden will succeed in keeping up his promise will be a test of his administration’s commitment to address human rights as a pillar of his foreign policy.