Aziz Abdul Naji
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|Aziz Abdul Naji|
May 4, 1975 |
|Status||Transferred to Algeria against his will; currently under judicially supervised release|
Abdul Aziz Naji is an Algerian citizen who was held without charges in the United States Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba. His Guantanamo Internment Serial Number was 744. American intelligence analysts report that he was born on May 4, 1975, in Batna, Algeria.
The Obama administration transferred Abdul Aziz Naji to Algeria in July 2010. Naji argued that he would face a high risk to be tortured in Algeria when he would be forced to return to that country but he lost his case before the Supreme Court. Human Rights Watch has heavily criticized the Obama administration for their decision.
On July 25, 2010, he was indicted by the government of Algeria and placed under judicial supervision though it is not known what he had been charged with or what the supervision entailed.
Abdul Aziz Naji asserts he was in Pakistan as an aid worker, performing zakat—charitable work. He described losing a leg to a land mine while performing charitable service near embattled Kashmir. He lost his leg prior to al Qaeda's attack on the USA, and spent a year in medical rehabilitation in Pakistan. His capture came shortly after his release from the hospital during a trip to Peshawar, where he was to meet a marriage broker.
Clearance by Obama Administration's Guantanamo Review Task Force
No charges have ever been brought against Mr. Naji by the US government. On May 20, 2009, he was cleared for transfer by the Guantanamo Review Task Force established by President Obama’s Executive Order of January 22, 2009.
Combatant Status Review Tribunal
Initially the Bush administration asserted that they could withhold all the protections of the Geneva Conventions to captives from the War on Terror. This policy was challenged before the Judicial branch. Critics argued that the USA could not evade its obligation to conduct competent tribunals to determine whether captives are, or are not, entitled to the protections of prisoner of war status.
Subsequently the Department of Defense instituted the Combatant Status Review Tribunals. The Tribunals, however, were not authorized to determine whether the captives were lawful combatants — rather they were merely empowered to make a recommendation as to whether the captive had previously been correctly determined to match the Bush administration's definition of an enemy combatant. However, the Supreme Court eventually ruled these tribunals unconstitutional in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld.
His most recent attorneys are Ellen Lubell and Doris Tennant, of Newton, Massachusetts. Lubell and Tennant appealed to Newton's city council to follow the example of neighboring Amherst and offer sanctuary to their client.
In an email, dated 23 July 2010, Bill Quigley, Legal Director of Center for Constitutional Rights, states that Abdul Aziz Naji, had gone missing after the US sent him back to Algeria against his will and that Abdul Aziz Naji did not want to return to Algeria because he feared persecution from both the Algerian government and militant anti-government forces. Mr. Naji had applied for political asylum in Switzerland, and his application was proceeding through the Swiss courts.
January 2012 conviction
Naji was convicted on January 16, 2012 of “belonging to a terrorist group abroad”. Naji had asserted he had been a charity worker in Afghanistan—not a fighter. According to the human rights group Reprieve the prosecution didn't introduce new evidence against him, only introducing the untested allegations from Guantanamo.
Swiss asylum request
In June 2013 the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation reported that Abdul Aziz Naji had requested asylum in Switzerland, in 2009. Switzerland's Federal Migration Office turned down his asylum request. His lawyer appealed to Switzerland's Federal Administrative Court, which ruled, on December 10, 2009, that the justifications for turning down the asylum request were vague and inadequate. They ruled that the decision on his asylum request would have to be re-done.
In June 2013 the Federal Migration Office responded to queries as to why it had not reviewed Abdul Aziz Naji's request. They wrote:
- “The duration of asylum proceedings is dependent on various factors, notably possible additional investigations being done to clarify the case, but also the priority order in which cases are being treated.”
- "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. Retrieved 2006-05-15.
- JTF-GTMO (2007-03-16). "Measurements of Heights and Weights of Individuals Detained by the Department of Defense at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba". Department of Defense. Archived from the original on 25 January 2009. Retrieved 2008-12-22. mirror
- "Measurements of Heights and Weights of Individuals Detained by the Department of Defense at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (ordered and consolidated version)" (PDF). Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas, from DoD data. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-12-21.
- Margot Williams (2008-11-03). "Guantanamo Docket: Aziz Abdul Naji". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-03-30.
- "Algerian reimprisoned after Guantánamo extradition". Miami Herald. 2012-01-31. Archived from the original on 2012-02-02. Retrieved 2012-02-02.
The Reprieve charity said in a Tuesday statement that Algerian authorities convicted Abdel Aziz Naji with no evidence and that he is now languishing in a prison without adequate medical care.
- "A detainee goes home, against his will". The Washington Post.
- "Ex-Guantanamo detainee handed charges after his repatriation to native Algeria". The San Francisco Examiner. July 27, 2010.
A former Guantanamo detainee who was transferred to his native Algeria earlier this month has been indicted, the Algiers prosecutor's office said Monday. Aziz Abdul Naji was also placed under judicial supervision Sunday, the office said in a statement, though it did not say what he had been charged with or what the supervision entailed.[permanent dead link]
- "TD Blog Interview with Ellen Lubell". Talking Dog. 2010-03-11. Archived from the original on 2010-03-11.
- "Guantanamo Bay Detainee Litigation: Doc 212 -- Orders that all petitioners other than the following are DISMISSED without prejudice from Civil Action Number 05-2386" (PDF). United States Department of Justice. 2008-07-29. Archived from the original on 2008-11-13. Retrieved 2008-08-13.
- Kristine A. Huskey (2008-07-15). "Guantanamo Bay Detainee Litigation: Doc 63 -- NOTICE OF PETITIONERS' REQUEST FOR 30-DAYS NOTICE OF TRANSFER" (PDF). United States Department of Justice. Archived from the original on 2008-11-13. Retrieved 2008-11-13.
- Jeffrey Kaye (2012-01-31). "Former Guantánamo Prisoner Who Alleged US Torture, Drugging, Sentenced by Algerian Authorities". Truthout. Retrieved 2012-02-02.
The UK action charity Reprieve, whose attorneys represent over a dozen prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, reports that former Guantánamo prisoner, Algerian citizen Abdul Aziz Naji, has been sentenced to three years in prison in Algeria. Reprieve says the charges were "of past membership in an extremist group overseas - a charge derived from the unsubstantiated accusations the US administration made against him in 2002."[permanent dead link]
- Stefania Summermatter, Peter Siegenthaler (2013-06-11). "The long road from Guantanamo to Switzerland". Swissinfo. Archived from the original on 2013-06-12. Retrieved 2013-06-12.
In a ruling on December 10, 2009, the court found the Migration Office did not guarantee him the right to be heard, a violation of federal law. The reasons for rejecting the asylum request were too vague, the court said. The Migration Office’s decision was not a convincing and credible argument demonstrating that it was not in the interest of Switzerland to grant asylum.
- UPDATE 2-"Missing" Guantanamo returnee back at home -family Reuters Jul 26, 2010
- UPDATE 1-Whereabouts of former US detainee unknown-lawyers Reuters Jul 21, 2010
- UN experts urge US to ensure no Guantánamo detainees are forcibly returned United Nations
- Six detainees would rather stay at Guantanamo Bay than be returned to Algeria The Washington Post July 10, 2010
- Profiles of Guantanamo Detainees in Need of Safe Haven