Gitmo Detainee Seen Publicly for 1st Time in 14 Years

Abu Zubaydah has been held at Gitmo since 2006
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 24, 2016 11:21 AM CDT
Gitmo Detainee Seen Publicly for 1st Time in 14 Years
This photo provided by U.S. Central Command, shows Abu Zubaydah, date and location unknown.   (AP Photo/U.S. Central Command)

Between his capture by the CIA in Pakistan in 2002 and his appearance at a US government hearing Tuesday, Abu Zubaydah lost his left eye. How remains unclear (Dexter Filkins dedicates an entire piece to the question at the New Yorker), but other details of what happened to him while in US custody have been revealed: Zubaydah is one of three men the CIA has admitted to waterboarding—83 times in August 2003. Filkins notes the interrogations Zubaydah was subjected to were so extreme that CIA agents asked for "reasonable assurances that [Zubaydah] will remain in isolation and incommunicado for the remainder of his life." On Tuesday the AP reports he sat "expressionless" in a short hearing tasked with determining whether he should remain at Gitmo, where he has been for the last decade.

It was Zubaydah's first public appearance since his capture, with the initial 10 minutes of the hearing aired live in a secure room at the Pentagon to journalists and others. The AP reports the government no longer maintains, as it once did, that Zubaydah was a senior al-Qaeda leader at the time of this capture; the CIA detainee profile on him now says things like he was "generally aware" of the planned 9/11 attacks. Detainees cannot speak at their review hearings, and a statement read on Zubaydah's behalf conveyed his "desire to be reunited with his family and begin the process of recovering from injuries he sustained during his capture." The Guardian suggests his knowledge of CIA torture is a huge barrier to release. As one of his lawyers puts it, "Abu Zubaydah will not be released." A decision should come in 30 days. (More Abu Zubaydah stories.)

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