U.S. to Release Physician-Detainee From Guantanamo

After seven years, the U.S. has agreed to release Yemeni Doctor Ayman Saeed Abdullah Batarfi from Guantanamo Bay. A petition that circulated by his supporters on the internet described Dr. Batarfi this way:

Dr Batarfi is a 37 year old Yemeni orthopaedic surgeon currently held in Guantanamo Bay whose only crime would appear to be trying to treat civilian casualties in a war zone.

After his post-graduate studies in Pakistan, and inspired by the Afghan trauma victims he had dealt with, he decided to work for a non-governmental organisation to renovate a hospital in Kabul in spring 2001. With the chaos after the onset of the Afghan conflict in late 2001, he was "sold" to the US military by the Northern Alliance.

Why now? [More...]

Dr. Batarfi's habeas petition is scheduled to be heard in federal court April 6.

The hearing was one of the first scheduled for a decision by a federal judge of more than 200 such cases filed on behalf of Guantánamo detainees.

It's not clear where Dr. Batarfi will be going. His lawyer, William J. Murphy of Baltimore (corrected to reflect it's a different William Murphy than the one I thought it was) says :

[U]nder an agreement the court case could be reopened if his client objected to the conditions of his release. Mr. Murphy said that the meetings with Mr. bin Laden were chance encounters and that the Justice Department decision had vindicated his client.

“As a doctor,” Mr. Murphy said, “there was no basis under international law for the U.S. government to hold him.”

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  • Display: Sort:
    hmm (none / 0) (#1)
    by connecticut yankee on Mon Mar 30, 2009 at 09:46:11 PM EST
    Well, he did work for the al qaeda/taliban forces at the battle of Tora Bora, he claims under duress.  And he did meet Osama Bin Ladin there.  

    The US also claims that he had dealings with other al qaeda leaders and was a member of Al Wafa, a charity they claim is linked to Al Qaeda.

    It's not like he's just some random citizen.  I also think its interesting that as the northern alliance advanced, he retreated with taliban forces.  I wonder if he claims that was under duress.

    question to connecticut yankee (none / 0) (#2)
    by Palli on Mon Mar 30, 2009 at 10:19:45 PM EST
    And you know this because ...?

    Is this the detainee (none / 0) (#3)
    by joanneleon on Mon Mar 30, 2009 at 10:28:29 PM EST
    who might be released into the U.S.?  Friday night at an event with a Congressman, he mentioned that there was an issue with a detainee who might be released in the U.S.  I'm not sure if this is the one he was referring to.

    well (none / 0) (#4)
    by connecticut yankee on Mon Mar 30, 2009 at 10:32:16 PM EST
    The government listed a series of reasons for detaining him.  Just google his name.  

    What little I can find suggests that he claims Al Qaeda was forcing him to assist them.  Who can say?

    ah yes (none / 0) (#6)
    by Jen M on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 09:40:12 AM EST
    the government claims.

    Similar to any number of other fluid, ever changing and contradictory claims.

    Hook line and sinker, eh?


    well (none / 0) (#7)
    by connecticut yankee on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 02:20:48 PM EST
    He admits working with them at Tora Bora.  So you can believe that he was forced or not but I dont see why you cant even acknowledge he was there.

    Believe what you like.



    he's a doctor (none / 0) (#9)
    by Jen M on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 03:35:37 PM EST
    our doctors treat the enemy too.

    I did not acknowledged anything pro or con about the doc, just questioning your source.

    I have been in and worked for the US Army since 1985. Trust but verify goes double for anything the govmt tells you.


    doctors? (2.00 / 0) (#10)
    by diogenes on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 05:52:05 PM EST
    Didn't doctors set off bombs in Britain?  Doctors are no better and no worse than anyone else except maybe congressmen and trial lawyers :)

    shhhhh (none / 0) (#11)
    by Jen M on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 10:02:43 PM EST
    there are trial lawyers here



    Good for him (none / 0) (#5)
    by lilburro on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 07:08:35 AM EST
    "The worst of the worst" my foot...

    Let's see, the govmint (none / 0) (#8)
    by ytterby on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 03:14:09 PM EST
    says he's guilty, he says he's innocent....

    Don't we have a court system to figure these things out? I'm thinking he was denied that option for 7 years.