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. One of his Jordanian interrogators acknowledged that he was asking questions provided by the Americans.
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 Air Force Base where he was kept in isolation for two and a half months. There he was confined to a 2 ft x 3 ft wooden cage 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 abuse in secret detention tainted his subsequent interrogations by the United States and prevented the government from being able to rely on that information to justify his detention. Despite that ruling, during his 2016 Periodic Review Board (PRB) the government apparently 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. He was granted a subsequent review on Feburary 28, 2017, only to be denied clearance a second time.
Sharqawi is currently in poor health. He reports bouts of jaundice and weakness which, according to independent physicians, may indicate a potentially grave liver condition. He has resorted to hunger strikes for long periods to protest his indefinite detention, and has been subjected to daily force-feedings.