The Daily Beast

U.S. Captured, Tortured, and Cleared Him. He’s Still in GITMO.

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/AP Iamges

It’s been 19 years since U.S. forces captured Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn and declared him one of the senior leaders of al Qaeda. It’s been 15 years since the CIA quietly revoked that assessment once it was done torturing him. Today, Huseyn, a forgotten man, remains locked inside Guantanamo Bay, a living symbol of the permanent damage wrought by the War on Terror.

As the Biden administration performs the latest government review into closing Guantanamo, attorneys for Husayn, better known as Abu Zubaydah, have decided they’ve waited long enough. They filed a petition on Friday with the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention seeking his release from his 19 years of captivity. They want the panel to exercise its “urgent actions” procedures to appeal to Washington for his freedom, citing his counsel’s “serious concerns for his physical and mental health and welfare [stretching back] for years.”

The attorneys note that the military has yet to vaccinate Abu Zubaydah and the other Guantanamo detainees for COVID-19. “After 19 years of arbitrary detention, the only appropriate legal remedy for Abu Zubaydah is release and rehabilitation,” said the lead lawyer behind the U.N. appeal, Helen Duffy.

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