U.S. investigates Gitmo call to Al-Jazeera
The infamous call to Al-Jazeera by a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay prison alleging torture and abuse is being investigated by military authorities. Mohammed el Gharani used his weekly phone opportunity to contact the Middle East news agency to tell them of his situation.
The military authorities at Gitmo have prevented prisoners from contacting news media in the past citing Geneva Conventions.
Gharani was 14 at the time of his apprehension in Pakistan, which would make him by UN definition, a child soldier if he were engaged in military action. The US is a signatory to this convention.
An American judge had ordered that Gharani be released in January after spending the past seven years locked up in the offshore prison.
Mohammed el Gharani, a native of Chad, apparently used his call to speak with an Al-Jazeera journalist and alleged that he was beaten by guards for refusing to leave his cell, the network reported on its website. He was interviewed by journalist Sami al-Haj, who previously was imprisoned at Guantanamo.
A U.S. judge ordered el Gharani released in January, dismissing as unreliable the military's allegations that he was part of al-Qaida and had worked for the Taliban in Afghanistan.
El Gharani was arrested in Pakistan in 2001 at a mosque by local police and turned over to U.S. forces in 2002. He was one of the first Guantanamo Bay detainees and one of the youngest.
The U.S. holds about 240 men at the U.S. base in Cuba, most on suspicion of terrorism or links to al-Qaida and the Taliban.