From Albania, Freed Guantánamo Prisoner Watches Detainee Debate Unfold
The Christian Science Monitor follows up with one of the Uighurs now living in Albania after being released from Guantanamo Bay detention center. Abu Bakker Qassim had been migrating to Central Asia and ended up in Jalalabad, Afghanistan on the eve of the American bombing:
Four days after their arrival, Jalalabad was bombed. The Uighurs left to seek sanctuary in neighboring Pakistan. They could not know that, after an arduous march through the mountains of Tora Bora, the villagers who would greet them warmly on the other side of the border had, only a few days earlier, been blanketed by fliers from US aircraft, promising that whoever “hunts an Arab becomes a rich man.”
Though they had no knowledge of the Sept. 11 attacks, the men were handed over to the Pakistan authorities for the promised reward of $5,000. They would spend the next four months in jail in Kandahar, Afghanistan, before being sent to Guantánamo Bay.
“In Kandahar, the Americans realized we had nothing to do with Al Qaeda, but they still shipped us to Guantánamo,” Qassim contends. “At that point, we understood that we were flying into hell.”
Qassim spent the next five years behind steel bars.