At a Glance
On January 13, 2016, after 14 years of unjust detention at Guantanamo, the U.S. government transferred Fahd Ghazy to Oman.
- Omar Farah
One enduring and pernicious myth about the men detained at Guantánamo is that they were all sent to the prison after being captured on the battlefield by U.S. forces in order to neutralize the threat they allegedly posed. Nothing could be further from the truth. The vast majority of Guantánamo detainees were ensnared in a slipshod bounty-system in which the U.S. military paid handsome cash rewards to locals for turning over anyone who seemed out of place. In other instances, the men were simply handed over to the U.S. military by local police forces.
CCR client Fahd Ghazy, just 17 years old when he was detained, is one of those unfortunate souls. At the time of his release, he was one of the last remaining men at Guantanamo to have been detained as a juvenile. After 14 years at Guantánamo, the U.S. government failed to find a basis to bring a single charge against him. Cleared for transfer by both President Bush in 2007, and again by the Obama administration in 2009, he spent over one-third of his life languishing in Guantánamo. On January 13, 2016, after 14 years of unjust detention at Guantanamo, the U.S. government transferred Fahd to Oman.
Ghazy v. Bush is the habeas petition the Center for Constitutional Rights filed on his behalf in 2005 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. It was voluntarily withdrawn without prejudice in 2009.
Fahd’s continued detention despite being cleared for transfer was the result of a failure on the part of the Obama administration, like the Bush administration before it, to act on its own determination that Fahd should be released. Prospects for Fahd’s release were complicated by his Yemeni citizenship because the Obama administration largely refused to repatriate or resettle the many men from Yemen, including those who, like Fahd, were cleared for release. In response to this impasse, CCR focused its advocacy on capturing the remarkable, tragic human story of Fahd’s experience growing up at Guantanamo. One tool for raising awareness about Fahd’s story was the original short film “Waiting for Fahd”, which reveals the impact of indefinite detention on both the prisoners and their families through interviews with Fahd’s family in Yemen.
At CCR we believe that telling the human stories of our clients, including the many men we represent at Guantanamo, and empowering the public to share these rarely told stories is the key to reaching decision-makers in the U.S. government who control Fahd’s fate.