Sharqawi Al Hajj is a 43 year-old Yemeni citizen who has been detained at Guantánamo without charge since 2004. Before Guantánamo, he was detained in secret prisons in Afghanistan and Jordan, as detailed in an unclassified district court opinion in his habeas case, and his rendition, detention, and torture was the subject of a 2008 Human Rights Watch report, Double Jeopardy: CIA Renditions to Jordan.
In February 2002, Sharqawi was arrested by U.S. and Pakistani personnel in Pakistan and held in solitary confinement for three weeks, where he was questioned and told that if he cooperated with his interrogators, he would be able to go home. Despite the fact that he did, the government instead rendered him to Jordan. There he was kept in an isolation cell, interrogated extensively, beaten regularly, and threatened with electrocution and serious physical violence. The Jordanians told Sharqawi that they were seeking information on behalf of the Americans. He was shown photographs of men who were detained in Guantánamo at the time. Even when Sharqawi cooperated and answered questions truthfully, he suffered serious abuse.
After almost two years in Jordan, he was flown to a secret prison in Kabul where he was kept in complete darkness. He remained in the “Dark Prison” for approximately five months, and was then flown to Bagram where he was kept in isolation for two and a half months. There he was confined to a 2 ft x 3 ft closet with no toilet. In August 2004, Sharqawi was transferred to Guantánamo, where has been held ever since without charge.
A U.S. federal court ruled that Sharqawi’s treatment in secret detention tainted his subsequent interrogations by the United States and prevented the government from being able to rely on information obtained through torture to justify his detention in his habeas case. Despite that ruling, during his 2016 Periodic Review Board (PRB) the government drew on information against him that had been previously discredited in federal court.
CCR began to represent Sharqawi shortly after the PRB declined to clear him for transfer. Sharqawi is scheduled to have his second review on Feburary 28, 2017.
Sharqawi is currently in poor health. He has resorted to hunger strikes for long periods to protest his detention, and has been subjected to daily forcible feedings.