Afghan national Asadullah Haroon Gul has been cleared for transfer from Guantánamo by the Periodic Review Board.
The Board is comprised of senior officials from six US agencies, including the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Departments of Defence, Homeland Security, Justice and State. They have unanimously concluded that Asadullah does not pose a threat to the USA and that he can therefore be released.
Asadullah has been detained without charge by the US since 2007. For the first nine years of his captivity, he did not have access to a lawyer, despite multiple attempts to seek legal representation.
The U.S. government sought to justify Mr Gul’s indefinite detention by accusing him of membership of Hezb-e-Islami (HIA). HIA entered into a peace agreement with the Afghan government five years ago.
His habeas corpus petition, filed in 2016, is currently being adjudicated by the DC District federal court. His lawyers argue that because HIA reached peace there is no legal basis for his continued detention. The war is over, requiring release under international law.
Reprieve and Lewis Baach Kaufmann Middlemiss have provided legal representation to Asadullah in federal court and in the PRB process.
Asadullah Haroon’s lawyer at Reprieve, Mark Maher, said:
“The board’s recommendation is welcome, but we should remember Asadullah has spent over 14 years of his life in prison without charge or trial. He should have been home long ago, so while his clearance is a relief, it is not justice.
“Asadullah missed his daughter’s entire childhood. He should be reunited with his family as soon as possible, but there is no way to restore what has been taken from them.”
Asadullah Haroon’s lawyer at Lewis Baach Kaufmann Middlemiss, Tara Plochocki, said:
“The recommendation is a helpful first step, but the United States now needs to act on it, which they have failed to do with respect to many other detainees who have been cleared by the PRB but who continue to languish in cells in Guantanamo.”