An Egyptian with strong Islamist convictions, al-Gazzar was living abroad in Pakistan and volunteering for the Red Crescent charities at the time of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. According to Reprieve, a rights NGO, he was wounded by an American airstrike that hit a refugee camp along the Afghan border and sold for bounty to the U.S. military while convalescing in a Pakistani hospital. His wounds festering, he eventually arrived at the facility in Guantanamo having allegedly endured beatings and torture along the way. Medics were forced to amputate a gangrenous leg above the knee. Moreover, it seems CIA interrogators soon realized that al-Gazzar was innocent, but couldn’t be repatriated to Egypt because of the likelihood he’d be subjected to torture as a political opponent of Egypt’s authoritarian government. Only in 2009 did he secure his release from Guantanamo and found temporary residence in Slovakia. Following the toppling of Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak, al-Gazzar imagined he could return and join in the democratic renaissance taking place in his home country. But upon arrival last June, he was arrested on charges first levied against him and some 100 other Islamists in a widely-derided 2001 trial staged by the Mubarak regime. The country’s interim military government has arrested hundreds of political dissidents since the ousting of Mubarak and al-Gazzar has simply added to that statistic. After a decade of misery, he still languishes behind bars.
READ: The trials of Adel al-Gazzar.
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