Kurnaz’s case illustrates the kind of absurdity — forget travesty — of justice that took place in Guantanamo. Born in Germany of Turkish origin, Kurnaz was a 19-year-old on a roadtrip through Pakistan with Islamic missionaries in November 2001 when his bus was stopped by Pakistani soldiers and he was forced to disembark. CBS 60 Minutes reports that his captors sold him for $3,000 bounty to U.S. officials in Afghanistan; many other foreign Muslims would be rounded up in Afghanistan and Pakistan in this way. He was allegedly tortured and beaten in U.S. detention in Kandahar and held on the grounds that an acquaintance of his was a suicide bomber in Turkey — a laughable charge both because this friend was actually very much alive in Germany, and under no suspicion of terrorist connivance, and also because simply knowing a suspected criminal provides no legal basis for detention. In 2002, six months after his capture, reports suggest both U.S. and German military intelligence officials were convinced that Kurnaz had no links with militancy or terrorist groups. Yet he inexplicably remained in Guantanamo, obscured from the world. When Kurnaz was freed five years after his capture, his mother met him upon his arrival at the airport in Germany. He tells 60 Minutes: “She wouldn’t let me go. She wouldn’t let me, anymore. She just hugged me.”
PHOTOS: TIME goes inside Guantanamo.
Next Adel al-Gazzar