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Thread: the story of Murat Kurnaz

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    Moderator Array mahima's Avatar
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    the story of Murat Kurnaz

    Murat Kurnaz (born March 19, 1982 in Bremen, Germany) was wrongly held in extrajudicial detention at the U.S. military base in Kandahar, Afghanistan and in the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba for four years. Kurnaz, a Turkish citizen and legal resident of Germany, was in the process of becoming a German citizen when he was arrested in Pakistan in late 2001. He was only 19 years old at that time.


    The United States and Germany discovered in 2002 that the accusations against Kurnaz were groundless but he was imprisoned for five years, and was released and arrived in Germany August 24, 2006.
    Kurnaz says that he was tortured and in a congressional hearing he described electric shock, simulated drowning, and days spent chained by his arms to the ceiling of an airplane hangar.

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    A writ of habeas corpus, Murat Kurnaz v. George W. Bush, was submitted on Murat Kurnaz's behalf. In response, on 15 October 2004, the Department of Defense published 32 pages of unclassified documents related to his Combatant Status Review Tribunal.
    Kurnaz was one of the detainees with enough legal assistance to challenge the legality of his review in a Washington, D.C. court. Both German investigators, and United States Army investigators failed to find any evidence of a tie between Kurnaz and Al-Qaeda or any involvement in any terrorist activities. The three officers who reviewed his case asserted that they had classified evidence that established his guilt, but never disclosed this evidence to Kurnaz, his attorneys, or to the public.
    One allegation was that he was traveling to Pakistan with Selcuk Bilgin. Selcuk Bilgin is not a suspect in a bombing, possibly the 2003 Istanbul Bombings as is sometimes written in newspapers. During his reviews, Kurnaz was erroneously informed by the interrogators that Bilgin had been "engaged" in a suicide bombing, and asked him to describe his relationship to Bilgin. Kurnaz denied having any knowledge of Bilgin's involvement in a suicide bombing, and denied knowing anybody who ever discussed committing an act of terrorism. Kurnaz's denials are supported by the fact that Bilgin is alive and living in Germany, and was never implicated in a bombing.
    Kurnaz is one of the detainees who has alleged that he was subject to interrogation techniques that included suffocation by drowning, sexual humiliation, beatings, heat or cold and the desecration of his religion.
    According to a German news source he had also been denied the right to return to Germany, as his 'indefinite residence permit' had expired due to his being out of the country for more than six months. (As the child of 'guest workers' he is not afforded full German citizenship, however, by being born in Bremen, is granted an 'indefinite residence permit' there.) This ruling by the Foreign Office was overturned by the regional administrative court of Bremen on 30 November 2004, stating that due to his incarceration in Guantanamo he had been unable to apply for an extension of his 'leave permit' and was thus still eligible to return to Germany.
    On December 14, 2005 it was confirmed that officials of the German foreign and domestic intelligence agencies (Bundesnachrichtendienst and Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz) had participated in the interrogation of Kurnaz at least once during a stay at the Guantanamo Bay camps between September 21 and September 27, 2002. This is of legal significance, as German authorities are forbidden from assisting in the legal process of a foreign nation if the punishment from that process can result in the death penalty, or if the legal process fails to meet certain standards of fairness. The detainees in Guantanamo Bay were potentially capable of being executed following their trials (if they were charged with crimes — Kurnaz was not), and debates abound regarding the fairness of the process.
    According to a December 22, 2005 story by United Press International, a brief stay at a Tablighi Jamaat hostel led to the decision to capture Kurnaz. U.S. officials have accused Tablighi Jamaat of providing recruits to Al-Qaeda, the terrorist group responsible for the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States.

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    Moderator Array mahima's Avatar
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    On February 12, 2006 Deutsche Welle reported that Kurnaz's lawyers were hopeful that German authorities were on the brink of negotiating Kurnaz's repatriation. It speculated that the Americans would agree to the release on the condition Kurnaz be subjected to constant surveillance.
    The German magazine Focus reported that the Bush administration was trying to tie the release of Kurnaz to an agreement from Germany to accept four other Guantanamo detainees. The USA cleared approximately 120 detainees for release - or transfer. However, many of them could not be returned to their countries of origin because they were likely to face retaliation from their governments.
    The German and American governments denied that Kurnaz's release has been tied to Germany accepting other detainees. Focus says that the German government has agreed to accept one other detainee, not four, and that the Americans have not informed the German government of the identity of the other men it wants them to accept.
    Kurnaz was released on August 24, 2006, and - like other released Guantanamo captives - was flown home in shackles, wearing a muzzle, opaque goggles and sound-blocking ear-muffs. He was reported to have been denied food and water during the seventeen hour flight

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