Lawyer contests envoy’s remark on Bahraini detainees in Guantanamo Bay



Bryan, whose firm is handling the case of Juma Al Dossary and Isa Abdullah Al Mubarak, was responding to a comment by American Ambassador William Monroe in a recent interview. The ambassador was quoted as saying that “Obviously there is a reason [the detainees] are being held, they would not be held for five years for no reason.”


In a statement, Bryan said, “The notion that a person is imprisoned for a legitimate reason because he is imprisoned is preposterous and has no place in American legal theory.”


He said the implication that anyone who was brought to the Bay must have been guilty of something was factually baseless because former Guantanamo commander, Major-General Jay Hood, told The Wall Street Journal, “Sometimes we just didn’t get the right folks.” Hood’s deputy commander was also quoted as saying, “Most of these guys weren’t fighting. They were running.”


Bryan said a study of the allegations against detainees showed that a majority of the detainees were not even accused of any involvement in violence against anyone by the US government.


“Ambassador Monroe’s assertion that the detainees had been caught “essentially on the field of battle,” is false,” the lawyer said. “According to the US military, American forces captured five per cent of the Bay detainees on the battlefield. Other detainees were abducted by Afghan warlords, Pakistani civilians and Pakistani security forces, often far from the battlefield. These detainees were handed over to the US for bounties.”


Included in the detainees at Guantanamo were others captured in Bosnia, Indonesia, Zambia and other countries thousands of miles from Afghanistan.


Bryan said the ambassador’s statement that there were problems about what to do with the people who were in the custody of the US military because of it was, “a whole new situation,” could have been readily solved by established procedures.
“Geneva Conventions should be applied to all detainees and even administration officials like Colin Powell had argued for the same. It would have let the military hold the hearings that it has used for 50 years to determine the status of prisoners,” Bryan said.


“But the White House told the military not to apply the Geneva Conventions and, as a result, brought to Guantanamo 12-year old boys, incoherent elderly men and many people whom the government will never charge with anything because they have no proof whatsoever against them.”


Ambassador Monroe’s refusal to comment on whether it was fair for people to be detained without being able to challenge their imprisonment, Bryan said he hoped that “if an American citizen were detained by Bahrain for over five years without charge, Ambassador Monroe would state that such a situation was not only unfair but also completely unacceptable.”


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