Forwarded from: Cageprisoners
12 December 2009
Forwarded Action Alert: Help buy a prosthetic limb for former Uighur Guantanamo prisoner, Ahmad Abdulahad.
3. Action required
4. Donation details
Ahmad Abdulahad was one of several Uighurs unlawfully detained in Guantanamo bay in 2002. He is a transtibial amputee whose leg was amputated shortly after arriving at the detention facility. He was one of three Uighurs released to the tiny island of Palau in the pacific in October 2003. With his current prosthetic limb he can barely stand for fifteen minutes. Help us replace his prosthetic with the best that is available.
Ahmad and his Uighur brothers fled their homeland in far-western China to escape persecution for their religious and political beliefs. They were unable to remain safely in bordering Central Asian nations (like Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan) which are notorious for forcibly returning Uighur expatriates to China. During the pre-war period, Uighur refugees from China often fled to Afghanistan, which offered a temporary refuge from the invariable risk of extradition they faced in other Central Asian states.
In October 2001, they were living peacefully in Afghanistan, in particular, in Jalalabad and Kabul. After the September 11 attacks, the United States began military operations in Afghanistan. At this time, the U.S. military began distributing bounty leaflets throughout the border areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan promising “wealth and power beyond your dreams” for the handover of “Taliban” and “murderers.” In exchange for these financial rewards, local tribesmen and villagers were turning over anyone they could find. Hundreds of men, including the Uighurs, were swept up in a conflict in which they took no part. Our clients were sold to the U.S. military by Afghan and Pakistani bounty hunters for approximately $5,000 each. They were subsequently transported to Guantanamo and detained as alleged “enemy combatants.”
After years of litigation, these Uighurs were granted the right to challenge their detention in a U.S. federal court. The U.S. government has never charged our clients with a crime. The U.S. government has never made a single allegation that our clients engaged in a terrorist act. In 2008, when forced by a federal judge to justify the basis of our clients’ detention, the government conceded it had none and abandoned its case against the Uighurs. Although the government dropped the claim that our clients are “enemy combatants,” our clients remained at Guantanamo for another 13 months. Under domestic and international law, the U.S. government did not return them to China where they would likely be imprisoned, tortured, or even killed.
Ahmad’s US-based legal team write:
“As it turns out, our clients had been cleared for release from Guantanamo for years. The U.S. Department of State was already engaged in diplomatic discussions — for six years — to resettle the Uighurs overseas. The State Department had approached over 100 countries to provide asylum to our clients. These efforts failed largely because of extensive diplomatic resistance from China to resettlement of the Uighurs abroad. Our clients remained in Guantanamo for nearly a decade simply because they were refugees with nowhere to go.
On October 31, 2009, after nearly eight years of unlawful imprisonment at Guantánamo, three of the Uighur prisoners, including Ahmad Abdulahad were released to the Republic of Palau — a tiny island nation in the Pacific Ocean lying 500 miles east of the Philippines. The island contains 20,000 people. Until recently, it contained no Uighur population. The relocation to Palau is intended to be temporary. Although there is no guarantee they will be permanently resettled elsewhere the search for a home where they can resettle permanently continues.
Ahmad Abdulahad is a transtibial amputee. Unfortunately for Ahmad, whose leg was amputated shortly after his arrival in Guantánamo Bay nearly eight years ago, he was never fitted with an appropriate prosthesis nor given the appropriate medical care that would allow someone in his condition to achieve full mobility. Although he is only 38 years old, Ahmad uses crutches (in Guantanamo, they gave him a walker) to walk independently. Ahmad regularly experiences significant pain in his residual limb. With the prosthesis he was provided in Guantanamo, he cannot stand or walk comfortably for more than 15 minutes.
Ahmad’s legal representatives are now trying to raise money to provide Ahmad with high-quality medical care and a state-of-the-art prosthetic device. They have found an orthopedic surgeon — who shared in a Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for the International Campaign to Ban Land Mines — and one of the world’s leading prosthetist — who has worked with over 1,000 transtibial patients, has featured some of his complex patients on an eight-part series on the Discovery Health Channel, and is himself a former Olympic athlete. This nationally-renowned medical team has volunteered their time and services to make the very long journey to Palau (27 plus hours) to provide Ahmad the medical care he needs — all pro bono. The surgeon will evaluate of the health of Ahmad’s residual limb and perform (if necessary) possible corrective surgery and the prosthetist will provide Ahmad with a newly functioning properly-fitted prosthetic leg.
The plane tickets to Palau and the component parts necessary to craft a prosthetic device are very expensive. One of the best prosthesis manufacturers in the world has generously agreed to discount the price of the prosthesis by approximately 70%. In addition a significant amount of money has already been raised – enough, in fact, to send the orthopaedic surgeon to Palau. However, we still need to raise approximately $10,000 in order to purchase the prosthesis and to fund our prosthetist’s flight to Palau. The only thing that stands between Ahmad and his chance to achieve successful rehabilitation is raising these funds.
Raising this money would significantly assist Ahmad to walk long distances independently, to take on full employment, and build a life for himself as a free man after eight years of unlawful imprisonment. If you can make a contribution, any amount of donation to this cause, it would be invaluable and greatly appreciated.”
[Adapted from information kindly provided by Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP]
3. Action required
Act now and donate so that Ahmad can return to enjoying some normality in his life after his traumatic experiece with the help of a new prosthetic limb and the ability to walk. Contributions can either be made directly through Ahmad’s legal representatives or, via the Guantanamo Justice Centre. To the extent that more money is raised than is needed, it will be used to pay for other similarly vital resettlement needs (such as to provide plane tickets so that — to the extent possible — our clients’ families can be reunited with them).
4. Donation details
To donate in the UK please pay through the Guantanamo Justice Centre:
Account name: Guantanamo Justice Centre
Account No: 20052499
Sort code: 601837
IBAN No: GB97NWBK60183720052499
BIC code: NWBKGB2L
Cheques can be made out to “Guantanamo Justice Centre” (with ‘Palau Resettlement’ written on the back). Alternatively, if transferring money online to the above account please write ‘Palau Resettlement’ as a reference or e-mail email@example.com indicating that you will be sending (or have sent) a contribution (and the amount, if you feel comfortable), so that those in charge of the project can keep track of donations.
If donating in the US please send a cheque to:
Margot Usdan, Chief Financial Officer
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP
1177 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036
Or via bank transfer to:
Bank: Citibank, N.A.
666 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10103
ABA No.: 021000089
Account Name: Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP
Account No.: 9957431211
Reference: “Palau Resettlement”
Checks should be made out to “Kramer Levin — Palau Resettlement.” If you can make a donation, we would greatly appreciate a response to this e-mail indicating that you will be sending a contribution (and the amount, if you feel comfortable), so that those in charge of the project can keep track of donations. The details of the person to contact are Seema Saifee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Holy Qur’an: Chapter 4, Verse 75
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