Not even a month after President Barack Obama signed his name to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, the US government is already using the legislation to justify its ongoing detainment of a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay.
Musa’ab al-Madhwani had barely entered adulthood when he first arrived at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in 2002. But in the months between his capture in Pakistan and transfer to Gitmo, the Yemeni national experienced more than most would see in a lifetime. Before he turned 23, he says he was beaten and kicked, threatened with death and suspended by his hands in an underground torture chamber.
Now for the prisoner, about to celebrate the 10-year-anniversary of his arrival at Gimo, the rest of that lifetime looks to be spent behind bars thanks to the NDAA.
In a statement filed by his attorneys, they describe Musa’ab al-Madhwani as an “easy-going teenager” before he was recruited in a coffee shop by strangers who promised him “a month-long adventure” in 2001. Al-Madhwani agreed, but regretted his decision after being forced into a military training camp in Afghanistan. After al-Qaeda operatives destroyed the Twin Towers, the Afghan facility where he was trained was shut down. He attempted to return to his home in Yemen, but ended up unable to make the trip. In 2002, al-Madhwani found himself living from house-to-house while trying to figure out a way to make it back to Yemen. Eventually authorities closed in a group of insurgents, and al-Madhwani happened to be on the scene.
“The group I was arrested with were staying in two apartments,” he would tell an Administrative Review Board. “One person from each apartment refused to surrender and fought the Pakistani forces sent to arrest us. I was in the group that chose to surrender,” he said. According to al-Madhwani, the authorities were “thankful for our cooperation and surrendering without fighting.” That cooperation would only enter al-Madhwani into a decade of darkness.
Before ending up at Gitmo, al-Madhwani was brutally tortured in an underground facility in Afghanistan, what he called a “Dark Prison.” He told US officials in 2005 that he believed “It was impossible that I could get out of there alive” and was coerced into announcing his participation with terrorist forces only because he was beaten into submission.