Airat Vakhitov

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Airat Vakhitov
Citizenship Russian[1]
Detained at Guantanamo
Charge(s) no charge, extrajudicial detention
Occupation imam

Aiat Nasimovich Vahitov, also spelled Ayrat Wakhitov or Vahidov (Tatar: Cyrillic Айрат Вахитов, Latin Ayrat Waxitov) is an ethnic Tatar citizen of Russia who was held in extrajudicial detention in the United States' Guantanamo Bay detention camp, in Cuba.[2][3] He was repatriated with six other Russians in February 2004. Fluent in Arabic, Pashto, Persian, Urdu and Russian, he also spoke basic English.[4]

Vakhitov spoke publicly on June 28, 2005 about torture in Guantanamo when he announced he was planning to sue the United States for his mistreatment.[5] Geydar Dzhemal, chairman of the Islamic Committee of Russia, reported that he was hosting Vakhitov, and another former Guantanamo detainee, Rustam Akhmyarov, following threats by security officials.[6] According to Dzhemal the security officials had visited Vakhitov, and warned him that he should only talk about torture in Guantanamo Bay, not Russian torture. Dzhemal reported that security officials subsequently seized Vakhitov and Akhmyarov from his apartment on August 29, 2005. He called their seizure a kidnapping because they refused to show their identification. He predicted that the pair would be arrested on trumped up charges, to curtail their human rights activities.

The pair were released from detention on September 2, 2005.[7]

On May 15, 2006 the Department of Defense released its first full official list of all the Guantanamo detainees who were held in military custody.[8] Airat Vakhitov's name is not on that list. The list includes an individual named Aiat Nasimovich Vahitov.who was born on March 27, 1977, on Naberezhnye Chelny, Tatarstan, Russia.

Russian authorities released the detainees after investigations into whether they had broken any Russian laws. In 2005 he was once more detained in Russia under suspicion of organising terror acts in Tatarstan but released after two months, and immediately left to Middle East. In 2011 he published a video titled "39 ways of helping the jihad and taking part in it". In June 2016 he was arrested in Turkey for involvement in the Atatürk Airport attack.[9]

Airat Vakhitov and other former Taliban prisoners[edit]

Further information: Kandahar Five

Airat Vakhitov was one of nine former Taliban prisoners the Associated Press pointed out had gone from Taliban custody to American custody.[10] The Taliban had accused Vakhitov of spying for Russia, and imprisoned him for nearly three years. In Kandahar Airfield, he complained to Cpt. Danner that he had been housed in a more humane prison by the Taliban, where he had been given a radio, fresh fruit and proper toilet facilities.[4]

McClatchy interview[edit]

On June 15, 2008 the McClatchy News Service published articles based on interviews with 66 former Guantanamo captives. McClatchy reporters interviewed Airat Vakhitov by telephone.[11][12][13][14][15][16][17] Airat Vakhitov told his interviewers he was suffering ongoing mental problems, and that he was worried that if interviewers visited him in person he would be punished by Russian security officials.

Airat Vakhitov was an imam in Tatarstan, who was imprisoned following a general round-up when Russian officials were cracking down on Chechens.[17] He was temporarily freed, and fled Russia when he learned that security officials were looking for him. He said he was kidnapped by the forces of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, and eventually transported to Afghanistan, against his will.

Formerly secret Joint Task Force Guantanamo assessment[edit]

On April 25, 2011, whistleblower organization WikiLeaks published formerly secret assessments drafted by Joint Task Force Guantanamo analysts.[18][19] A five-page Joint Task Force Guantanamo assessment was drafted on June 3, 2005. It was signed by camp commandant Brigadier General Jay W. Hood. He recommended transfer to the control of another country.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Voice of America reports he denounced his Russian citizenship, when he left Russia and sought refugee status, and that his current (2016) citizenship status was unknown.
  2. ^ Holly Manges Jones (2005-08-31). "Former Gitmo prisoners arrested in Russia, rights group says". The Jurist. Archived from the original on 2011-07-09. Retrieved 2016-07-05. 
  3. ^ "The "Stamp of Guantanamo" : The Story of Seven Men Betrayed by Russia's Diplomatic Assurances to the United States" (PDF). Human Rights Watch. March 2007. Retrieved 2016-07-06. Airat Vakhitov said he was beaten in 1999 while in detention for two months on suspicion of participating in illegal armed formations in Chechnya (he was never charged). After that experience he decided to leave the country. “I knew my life wouldn’t work out in Russia,” he told Human Rights Watch. 
  4. ^ a b Begg, Moazzam. "Enemy Combatant", 2006. pp. 120
  5. ^ "Russian who was kept at Guantanamo sues U.S. government". Ria Novosti. 2005-06-28. Archived from the original on 2011-06-05. Retrieved 2016-07-05. A Russian citizen who was kept at the U.S. Naval base Guantanamo Bay has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government, claiming his rights were violated while he was detained there after being imprisoned in Afghanistan. 
  6. ^ Russian Talibs Found Through London, Kommersnt, August 29, 2005
  7. ^ Former Guantanamo Prisoners Freed From Russian Jail. Mosnews, September 2, 2005
  8. ^ OARDEC. "List of Individuals Detained by the Department of Defense at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba from January 2002 through May 15, 2006" (PDF). United States Department of Defense. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2006-05-15.  Works related to List of Individuals Detained by the Department of Defense at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba from January 2002 through May 15, 2006 at Wikisource
  9. ^ "Tatarstan-born Airat Vakhitov detained in Turkey over terror act in Istanbul airport". 
  10. ^ Paul Haven (June 30, 2007). "From Taliban jail to Gitmo – hard-luck prisoners tell of unending ordeal". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 2007-07-01. 
  11. ^ Tom Lasseter (June 15, 2008). "Guantanamo Inmate Database: Page 3". McClatchy News Service. Archived from the original on 2008-06-17. Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  12. ^ Tom Lasseter (June 18, 2008). "U.S. hasn't apologized to or compensated ex-detainees". Myrtle Beach Sun. Archived from the original on 2008-06-19. Retrieved 2008-06-18. 
  13. ^ Tom Lasseter (June 15, 2008). "Pentagon declined to answer questions about detainees". McClatchy News Service. Archived from the original on 2008-06-15. Retrieved 2008-06-20. 
  14. ^ Tom Lasseter (June 16, 2008). "Documents undercut Pentagon's denial of routine abuse". McClatchy News Service. Archived from the original on 2008-06-19. Retrieved 2008-06-20. 
  15. ^ Tom Lasseter (June 19, 2008). "Deck stacked against detainees in legal proceedings". McClatchy News Service. Archived from the original on 2008-06-20. Retrieved 2008-06-20. 
  16. ^ Tom Lasseter (June 16, 2008). "U.S. abuse of detainees was routine at Afghanistan bases". McClatchy News Service. Archived from the original on 2008-06-20. Retrieved 2008-06-20. 
  17. ^ a b Tom Lasseter (June 15, 2008). "Guantanamo Inmate Database: Airat Vakhitov". McClatchy News Service. Archived from the original on 2008-08-01. Retrieved 2008-06-15. 
  18. ^ Christopher Hope; Robert Winnett; Holly Watt; Heidi Blake (2011-04-27). "WikiLeaks: Guantanamo Bay terrorist secrets revealed -- Guantanamo Bay has been used to incarcerate dozens of terrorists who have admitted plotting terrifying attacks against the West – while imprisoning more than 150 totally innocent people, top-secret files disclose". The Telegraph (UK). Archived from the original on 2012-07-13. Retrieved 2012-07-13. The Daily Telegraph, along with other newspapers including The Washington Post, today exposes America’s own analysis of almost ten years of controversial interrogations on the world’s most dangerous terrorists. This newspaper has been shown thousands of pages of top-secret files obtained by the WikiLeaks website. 
  19. ^ "WikiLeaks: The Guantánamo files database". The Telegraph (UK). 2011-04-27. Archived from the original on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2012-07-10. 

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