Friday, June 24, 2011

Write to the Forgotten Prisoners in Guantánamo (Summer 2011)

June 22, 2011

A year ago, two Facebook friends, Shahrina J. Ahmed and Mahfuja Bint Ammu, drew on my research about Guantánamo for a letter-writing campaign, in which they asked their friends and others on Facebook to volunteer to write to each of the remaining prisoners in Guantánamo. Shahrina announced the letter-writing campaign via a Facebook note entitled, “What if YOU were tortured … and no one knew about it??!” and I then publicized it via an article entitled, Write to the Forgotten Prisoners in Guantánamo.

Mahfuja revived that campaign two weeks ago, with a new Facebook note entitled, “Ramadhan and Eid spent tortured,” and a fresh appeal for people to write to the remaining 171 prisoners in Guantanamo — that’s just ten less than a year ago, and two of those ten left in coffins, having died at the prison.

This is how Mahfuja introduced the latest campaign:

Ever been tortured? Ever been held in a detention camp with “secret” evidence against you? Ever been kept away from your family for up to 9 years? Ever felt what it is like to be innocent yet treated like a criminal?

These brothers have — and one letter can bring them happiness beyond that which you can ever comprehend. One letter can give them the hope they need. One, just one letter can brighten their gloomy lives. All it will take from you is a half an hour of your time. We have timed this campaign in correlation with Ramadhan, so we can give them a lovely Ramadhan and Eid wish, insha’Allah, which they will receive in time.

Visitors to the Facebook campaign page will see who has already signed up, and can either add their names, or, if they wish, write independently. All the letters will be sent together on July 24. Do please note that any messages that can be construed as political should be avoided, as they may lead to the letters not making it past the Pentagon’s censors, but be aware that your messages may not get through anyway — although please don’t let that put you off! For further information about this, see the note at the end of this article explaining how one US activist wrote to every single prisoner at Guantanamo, and, inexplicably, had 19 of those letters returned.

Please also note that for those still detained at Guantánamo, messages of solidarity are more important now than ever, as President Obama has so throughly failed to close the prison. Bisher al-Rawi, a British resident who was freed from Guantánamo in March 2007, has explained how letters of support from people who had written as part of Amnesty international’s letter-writing campaigns helped him:

Amnesty, and what it stands for, is a torch of hope; that is how it was when I was in Guantánamo, when I received letters of support through Amnesty. In that lonely cell, with nothing but emptiness, to hold a photocopy of a letter or a card and read the words on it meant so much. They opened up the walls and gave me hope, and whispered to me: “You are not forgotten.”

So please, go ahead and write. If you are an Arabic speaker, or speak any other languages spoken by the prisoners besides English, feel free to write in those languages, and if you want any more encouragement about the significance for prisoners of receiving letters, then please visit this Amnesty International page, which features a short film of former prisoner Omar Deghayes showing letters he received in Guantánamo and explaining how much they meant to him — and to his fellow prisoners. This was filmed as part of an interview with Omar that is featured in the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (directed by Polly Nash and myself), and available on DVD here — or here for the US. Also, please feel free to let me know if you have written a letter, and also if you receive a reply.

Please write to the remaining 171 prisoners in Guantánamo

When writing to the prisoners please ensure you include their full name and ISN (internment serial number) below (the numbers before their names, i.e. Shaker Aamer ISN 239) and address to:

Camp Delta
P.O. Box 160
Washington D.C. 20053

Also please note that the list includes one prisoner who has been released, but who I have been unable to identify, because his name has not been publicly disclosed. He is an Afghan released in Spain last July.

1. 004 Wasiq, Abdul-Haq (Afghanistan)
2. 006 Noori, Mullah Norullah (Afghanistan)
3. 007 Fazil, Mullah Mohammed (Afghanistan)
4. 026 Ghazi, Fahed (Yemen)
5. 027 Uthman, Uthman Abdul Rahim Mohammed (Yemen)
6. 028 Al Alawi, Muaz (Yemen)
7. 029 Al Ansi, Mohammed (Yemen)
8. 030 Al Hakimi, Ahmed (Yemen)
9. 031 Al Mujahid, Mahmoud (Yemen)
10. 033 Al Adahi, Mohammed (Yemen)
11. 034 Al Yafi, Abdullah (Yemen)
12. 035 Qader Idris, Idris (Yemen)
13. 036 Idris, Ibrahim (Sudan)
14. 037 Al Rahabi, Abdul Malik (Yemen)
15. 038 Al Yazidi, Ridah (Tunisia)
16. 039 Al Bahlul, Ali Hamza (Yemen)
17. 040 Al Mudafari, Abdel Qadir (Yemen)
18. 041 Ahmad, Majid (Yemen)
19. 042 Shalabi, Abdul Rahman (Saudi Arabia)
20. 043 Moqbel, Samir (Yemen)
21. 044 Ghanim, Mohammed (Yemen)
22. 045 Al Rezehi, Ali Ahmad (Yemen)
23. 054 Al Qosi, Ibrahim (Sudan)
24. 063 Al Qahtani, Mohammed (Saudi Arabia)
25. 088 Awad, Adham Ali (Yemen)
26. 091 Al Saleh, Abdul (Yemen)
27. 115 Naser, Abdul Rahman (Yemen)
28. 117 Al Warafi, Muktar (Yemen)
29. 128 Al Bihani, Ghaleb (Yemen)
30. 131 Ben Kend, Salem (Yemen)
31. 152 Al Khalaqi, Asim (Yemen)
32. 153 Suleiman, Fayiz (Yemen)
33. 156 Latif, Adnan Farhan Abdul (Yemen)
34. 163 Al Qadasi, Khalid (Yemen)
35. 165 Al Busayss, Said (Yemen)
36. 167 Al Raimi, Ali Yahya (Yemen)
37. 168 Hakimi, Adel (Tunisia)
38. 170 Masud, Sharaf (Yemen)
39. 171 Alahdal, Abu Bakr (Yemen)
40. 174 Sliti, Hisham (Tunisia)
41. 178 Baada, Tareq (Yemen)
42. 189 Gherebi, Salem (Libya)
43. 195 Al Shumrani, Mohammed (Saudi Arabia)
44. 197 Chekhouri, Younis (Morocco)
45. 200 Al Qahtani, Said (Saudi Arabia)
46. 202 Bin Atef, Mahmoud (Yemen)
47. 219 Razak, Abdul (China)
48. 223 Sulayman, Abdul Rahman (Yemen)
49. 224 Muhammad, Abdul Rahman (Yemen)
50. 232 Al Odah, Fawzi (Kuwait)
51. 233 Salih, Abdul (Yemen)
52. 235 Jarabh, Saeed (Yemen)
53. 238 Hadjarab, Nabil (Algeria-France)
54. 239 Aamer, Shaker (UK-Saudi Arabia)
55. 240 Al Shabli, Abdullah (Saudi Arabia)
56. 242 Qasim, Khaled (Yemen)
57. 244 Nassir, Abdul Latif (Morocco)
58. 249 Al Hamiri, Mohammed (Yemen)
59. 251 Bin Salem, Mohammed (Yemen)
60. 254 Khenaina, Mohammed (Yemen)
61. 255 Hatim, Said (Yemen)
62. 257 Abdulayev, Omar (Tajikistan)
63. 259 Hintif, Fadil (Yemen)
64. 263 Sultan, Ashraf (Libya)
65. 275 Abbas, Yusef (Abdusabar) (China)
66. 280 Khalik, Saidullah (Khalid) (China)
67. 282 Abdulghupur, Hajiakbar (China)
68. 288 Saib, Motai (Algeria)
69. 290 Belbacha, Ahmed (Algeria)
70. 309 Abdal Sattar, Muieen (UAE)
71. 310 Ameziane, Djamel (Algeria)
72. 321 Kuman, Ahmed Yaslam Said (Yemen)
73. 324 Al Sabri, Mashur (Yemen)
74. 326 Ajam, Ahmed (Syria)
75. 327 Shaaban, Ali Hussein (Syria)
76. 328 Mohamed, Ahmed (China)
77. 329 Al Hamawe, Abu Omar (Syria)
78. 434 Al Shamyri, Mustafa (Yemen)
79. 440 Bawazir, Mohammed (Yemen)
80. 441 Al Zahri, Abdul Rahman (Yemen)
81. 461 Al Qyati, Abdul Rahman (Yemen)
82. 498 Haidel, Mohammed (Yemen)
83. 502 Ourgy, Abdul (Tunisia)
84. 506 Al Dhuby, Khalid (Yemen)
85. 508 Al Rabie, Salman (Yemen)
86. 509 Khusruf, Mohammed (Yemen)
87. 511 Al Nahdi, Sulaiman (Yemen)
88. 522 Ismail, Yasin (Yemen)
89. 535 El Sawah, Tariq (Egypt)
90. 549 Al Dayi, Omar (Yemen)
91. 550 Zaid, Walid (Yemen)
92. 552 Al Kandari, Faiz (Kuwait)
93. 553 Al Baidhani, Abdul Khaliq (Saudi Arabia)
94. 554 Al Assani, Fehmi (Yemen)
95. 560 Mohammed, Haji Wali (Afghanistan)
96. 564 Bin Amer, Jalal (Yemen)
97. 566 Qattaa, Mansoor (Saudi Arabia)
98. 569 Al Shorabi, Zohair (Yemen)
99. 570 Al Qurashi, Sabri (Yemen)
100. 572 Al Zabe, Salah (Saudi Arabia)
101. 574 Al Wady, Hamoud (Yemen)
102. 575 Al Azani, Saad (Yemen)
103. 576 Bin Hamdoun, Zahir (Yemen)
104. 578 Al Suadi, Abdul Aziz (Yemen)
105. 579 Khairkhwa, Khairullah (Afghanistan)
106. 680 Hassan, Emad (Yemen)
107. 682 Al Sharbi, Ghassan (Saudi Arabia)
108. 684 Tahamuttan, Mohammed (Palestine)
109. 685 Ali, Abdelrazak (Algeria)
110. 686 Hakim, Abdel (Yemen)
111. 688 Ahmed, Fahmi (Yemen)
112. 689 Salam, Mohamed (Yemen)
113. 690 Qader, Ahmed Abdul (Yemen)
114. 691 Al Zarnuki, Mohammed (Yemen)
115. 694 Barhoumi, Sufyian (Algeria)
116. 695 Abu Bakr, Omar (Omar Mohammed Khalifh) (Libya)
117. 696 Al Qahtani, Jabran (Saudi Arabia)
118. 702 Mingazov, Ravil (Russia)
119. 707 Muhammed, Noor Uthman (Sudan)
120. 713 Al Zahrani, Mohammed (Saudi Arabia)
121. 722 Diyab, Jihad (Syria)
122. 728 Nassir, Jamil (Yemen)
123. 753 Zahir, Abdul (Afghanistan)
124. 757 Abdul Aziz, Ahmed Ould (Mauritania)
125. 760 Slahi, Mohamedou Ould (Salahi) (Mauritania)
126. 762 Obaidullah (Afghanistan)
127. 766 Khadr, Omar (Canada)
128. 768 Al Darbi, Ahmed Mohammed (Saudi Arabia)
129. 832 Omari, Mohammed Nabi (Afghanistan)
130. 836 Saleh, Ayoub Murshid Ali (Yemen)
131. 837 Al Marwalah, Bashir (Yemen)
132. 838 Balzuhair, Shawki Awad (Yemen)
133. 839 Al Mudwani, Musab (Musa’ab Al Madhwani) (Yemen)
134. 840 Al Maythali, Hail Aziz Ahmed (Yemen)
135. 841 Nashir, Said Salih Said (Yemen)
136. 893 Al Bihani, Tawfiq (Saudi Arabia)
137. 894 Abdul Rahman, Mohammed (Tunisia)
138. 899 Khan, Shawali (Afghanistan)
139. 928 Gul, Khi Ali (Afghanistan)
140. 934 Ghani, Abdul (Afghanistan)
141. 975 Karim, Bostan (Afghanistan)
142. 1008 Sohail, Mohammed Mustafa (Afghanistan)
143. 1015 Almerfedi, Hussein (Yemen)
144. 1017 Al Rammah, Omar (Zakaria al-Baidany) (Yemen)
145. 1045 Kamin, Mohammed (Afghanistan)
146. 1094 Paracha, Saifullah (Pakistan)
147. 1103 Zahir, Mohammed (Afghanistan)
148. 1119 Hamidullah, Haji (Afghanistan)
149. 1453 Al Kazimi, Sanad (Yemen)
150. 1456 Bin Attash, Hassan (Saudi Arabia)
151. 1457 Sharqawi, Abdu Ali (Yemen)
152. 1460 Rabbani, Abdul Rahim Ghulam (Pakistan)
153. 1461 Rabbani, Mohammed Ghulam (Pakistan)
154. 1463 Al Hela, Abdulsalam (Yemen)
155. 10001 Bensayah, Belkacem (Bosnia-Algeria)
156. 10011 Al Hawsawi, Mustafa (Saudi Arabia)
157. 10013 Bin Al Shibh, Ramzi (Yemen)
158. 10014 Bin Attash, Waleed (Saudi Arabia)
159. 10015 Al Nashiri, Abdul Rahim (Saudi Arabia)
160. 10016 Zubaydah, Abu (Palestine-Saudi Arabia)
161. 10017 Al Libi, Abu Faraj (Libya)
162. 10018 Al Baluchi, Ammar (Ali Abdul Aziz Ali) (Pakistan-Kuwait)
163. 10019 Isamuddin, Riduan (Hamlili) (Indonesia)
164. 10020 Khan, Majid (Pakistan)
165. 10021 Bin Amin, Modh Farik (Zubair) (Malaysia)
166. 10022 Bin Lep, Mohammed (Lillie) (Malaysia)
167. 10023 Dourad, Gouled Hassan (Somalia)
168. 10024 Mohammed, Khalid Sheikh (Pakistan-Kuwait)
169. 10025 Malik, Mohammed Abdul (Kenya)
170. 10026 Al Iraqi, Abdul Hadi (Iraq)
171. 3148 Al Afghani, Haroon (Afghanistan)
172. 10029 Rahim, Muhammad (Afghanistan)

Please also note that an additional prisoner, Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani (ISN 10012, Tanzania) was transferred to the US mainland from Guantánamo in May 2009 and received a life sentence after a federal court trial in January this year. He is being held in the Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado, as the New York Times reported two weeks ago. To send a letter, the address is as follows (the number following his name is his unique prison number):

Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani (02476-748)
USP Florence Admax
U.S. Penitentiary
PO Box 8500
Florence, Co. 81226

Also note that earlier this year, one of my correspondents, Elizabeth, gave me some interesting feedback after writing to every single prisoner at Guantánamo. In two emails in February, Elizabeth told me that the following letters were returned, marked “not deliverable as addressed”:

038 Al Yazidi, Ridah (Tunisia)
168 Hakimi, Adel (Tunisia)
280 Khalik, Saidullah (China)
282 Aldulghupur, Hajiakbar (China)
290 Belbacha, Ahmed (Algeria)
684 Tahamuttan, Mohammed (Palestine)
702 Mingazov, Ravil (Russia)
766 Khadr, Omar (Canada)
838 Balzuhair, Shawki Awad (Yemen)
1094 Paracha, Saifullah (Pakistan)
1460 Rabbani, Abdul Rahim Ghulam (Pakistan)
10019 Isamuddin, Riduan (Indonesia)
10022 Bin Lep, Mohammed (Malaysia)
10025 Malik, Mohammed Abdul (Kenya)

Elizabeth also let me know that the following letters were returned marked “attempted — not known”:

239 Aamer, Shaker (UK-Saudi Arabia)
549 Al Dayi, Omar (Yemen)
894 Adbul Rahman, Mohammed (Tunisia)
10024 Mohammed, Khalid Sheikh (Pakistan-Kuwait)
10026 Al Iraqi, Abdul Hadi (Iraq)

I publish this information to let people know that censorship and obstruction are still taking place at Guantánamo, for no apparent reason, and also to find out if any other people who have written to prisoners at Guantánamo have had their letters returned (and if any of the same prisoners are involved). Do let me know if you can shed any light on this.

Obviously, I find it alarming that letters were returned, marked “not deliverable as addressed,” even though they were sent to well-known prisoners whose names are spelled correctly — such as the celebrated former child prisoner Omar Khadr, and Ahmed Belbacha, a long-cleared Algerian with ties to the UK — and also that other well-known prisoners — such as Shaker Aamer, the last British resident, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged 9/11 mastermind — were allegedly “not known.” In some cases, I suspect that this is just incompetence, or routine obstruction, but in others I wonder whether it is a targeted program designed to reinforce certain prisoners’ isolation. Your thoughts on this are welcome.

And finally, for further information on the prisoners, see my four-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list (Part One, Part Two, Part Three and Part Four) and if you want to check alternative spellings of the prisoners’ names, see the New York Times‘ Guantánamo Docket, or WikiLeaks’ Guantánamo Files (the Detainee Assessment Briefs), released in April, which also contain previously unknown information about the prisoners that I am gradually transcribing.

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed (and I can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Digg and YouTube). Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in June 2011, details about the new documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, on tour in the UK throughout 2011, and available on DVD here — or here for the US), my definitive Guantánamo habeas list and the chronological list of all my articles, and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.

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