Mohammed Al-Hamiri is a Yemeni citizen who was detained at Guantánamo for over 14 years, despite being cleared for release in 2009. He was released to the Kingdom of Saudia Arabia on April 16, 2016.
Mohammed grew up in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where his family still resides. Mohammed comes from a large, stable, and devoted family. As a boy, he was injured in an accident that left him with a cranial fracture. His family took him to the Saudi-German Hospital in Jeddah for treatment. A reconstructive metal plate was inserted into Mohammed’s skull. Physicians at the Saudi-German Hospital instructed his family that Mohammed would require follow-up treatment for his recovery to be complete. The cost was prohibitive, however, and Mohammed did not return to the hospital for additional care. Plagued by complications from his injuries, Mohammed traveled to Pakistan in 2001 in search of cheap medical care. While in Pakistan, he crossed the border into Afghanistan, but left in the wake of the U.S. invasion. Like some many of the hundreds of current and former Guantánamo prisoners, he was then arrested by local Pakistani police and handed-over to U.S. custody where he remained until his release..
The U.S. government has never alleged that Mohammed engaged in any acts of violence or that he engaged in any armed conflict. The government’s reflexive allegation that Mohammed supported the Taliban and Al Qaeda rests on uncorroborated identifications from a handful of current and former Guantánamo detainees. The government’s own records reveal that the credibility of each is severely compromised, including in one case by a government-diagnosed mental illness. For his part, Mohammed has stated emphatically that he traveled to the region for only one reason – to obtain medical care – and that he never fought, trained, or associated in any way with the Taliban or Al Qaeda.
“Nothing is impossible in life, as long as you live and breathe. I’ve never lost hope that one day I will be free. I persevere.” Mohammed Al-Hamiri, Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, 2015