Leaving Guantanamo: Enduring a Harsh Stay
In late November, three Guantanamo detainees were released and sent back to Bahrain. The men had been held by the United States for about four years, first in Afghanistan and then in Guantanamo.
In part one of a two-part series, two of the former detainees talk about their time at Guantanamo -- the interrogations, the military guards, and what they say is an abuse of their religion -- as well as their attempts to rebuild their lives back home in Bahrain.
Adel Hajee and Abdullah al-Nah Aamee were released from Guantanamo in November, ending four years of incarceration. Neither man was told why he was taken to Guantanamo; they were never charged with an offense -- and neither was told why he was released.
In the first week of October 2001, Adel Hajee packed a small bag, his passport, and several thousand dollars. The ministry of defense worker with a wife and daughter says he wanted to help Muslim refugees he had seen on television. U.S. military strikes had just begun against the Taliban and al-Qaida in Afghanistan.
Now 41, Hajee says he planned to be gone only three weeks. When the fighting intensified, he made his way to the Pakistan/Afghanistan border, where he says he turned himself in to the Pakistani authorities. They, in turn, handed him over to the American military.
Abdullah al-Nah Aamee was also in Afghanistan, which he went to from Bahrain on Sept. 13, 2001. He wanted to search for a missing cousin, he says. But when he tried to leave Afghanistan, he was turned over to the authorities and sent to a Pakistani prison. Before long, he was handed over to the Americans.
Nah Aamee, now 24, had lived in the United States for several years. He attended Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va. And at first, he says, he was grateful to be out of the Pakistani jail.
"When I go to the American custody, I felt happy," he says. "They're not going to harm us, they're going to use justice with us."
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