An Algerian posted by the Red Crescent Society to direct humanitarian aid to children in war-torn Sarajevo, Bosnia, Boumediene and five others in Bosnia were alleged by U.S. intelligence to be behind a plot to bomb the U.S. embassy in Sarajevo in October 2001. He relates his ordeal in a recent op-ed in the New York Times:
The fact that the United States had made a mistake was clear from the beginning. Bosnia’s highest court investigated the American claim, found that there was no evidence against me and ordered my release. But instead, the moment I was released American agents seized me and the five others. We were tied up like animals and flown to Guantánamo, the American naval base in Cuba. I arrived on Jan. 20, 2002.
I still had faith in American justice. I believed my captors would quickly realize their mistake and let me go. But when I would not give the interrogators the answers they wanted — how could I, when I had done nothing wrong? — they became more and more brutal. I was kept awake for many days straight. I was forced to remain in painful positions for hours at a time. These are things I do not want to write about; I want only to forget.
I went on a hunger strike for two years because no one would tell me why I was being imprisoned. Twice each day my captors would shove a tube up my nose, down my throat and into my stomach so they could pour food into me. It was excruciating, but I was innocent and so I kept up my protest.
In 2008, his appeals worked their way to the Supreme Court which, in Boumediene vs. Bush, ruled that even the mysterious “unlawful enemy combatants” of Guantanamo had to have their day in court. In May 2009, seven years after being seized and secreted away, Boumediene was freed.
PHOTOS: TIME goes inside Guantanamo.
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