Taliban attack Bagram, skateboarders

On Sept. 11, just one day after the prison at Bagram Air Base outside Kabul was officially handed over the Afghan forces, the air base came under insurgent fire, destroying a NATO Chinook CH-47 transport helicopter. Days earlier, four teen-age youths riding skateboards in Kabul were among six killed in a suicide bombing in central Kabul. The attack may have targeted the nearby NATO headquarters, but the youths were part of a nonprofit program that runs a skateboard school for Kabul kids, called Skateistan. (LAT, Sept. 12; NYT, CSM, Sept. 11; CBS, Sept. 10)

Guantánamo detainee dies after being found unconscious in cell

Yemeni Guantánamo Bay detainee Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif died over the weekend at a hospital on the US Navy base after guards found him unconscious in his cell Sept. 8. Latif's identification was originally withheld until the US military could notify his family and his home country's government. The guards who found Latif unconscious in his cell at the US detention facility performed first aid and brought him to a hospital on the US Navy base to perform extensive life saving measures. These were unsuccessful, and doctors at the hospital pronounced Latif dead. This marks the ninth detainee to have died in custody at Guantánamo.

US to maintain control of foreign, new detainees at Bagram Air Base

Government officials from both the US and Afghanistan have said that the US military will maintain control over foreign detainees at Bagram Air Base for the indefinite future, and will also continue holding and screening newly captured Afghans. According to the New York Times, the US commitment to the control and maintenance of dozens of foreign prisoners comes despite preparing to hand over its detention operations to the Afghan government on Sept. 9, as agreed to in a pact in March in the prelude to the countries' Enduring Strategic Partnership Agreement (text, PDF). Given that the March pact covered only the 3,100 Afghan detainees at the time of its enactment, there has been relative uncertainty as to the fate of the additional 600 detainees added to Bagram since the signing. While concerns of arbitrary detentions have been raised  by the Afghan government, namely that the agreement's no-trial detention system is contrary to Afghanistan's constitution (text, PDF), William Lietzau, the Pentagon's top detainee policy official, maintains that the system is lawful as long as the war continues. The Afghan government has refused to ratify the Bagram agreement.

HRW: Bush administration engaged in torture, rendition of Qaddafi opponents

During the administration of former US president George W. Bush, the US government tortured opponents of former Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi and transferred them to Libya, Human Rights Watch (HRW) announced in a report (PDF) released Sept. 5. The report, entitled "Delivered Into Enemy Hands: US-Led Abuse and Rendition of Opponents to Gaddafi's Libya," details the ill-treatment and torture, including instances of waterboarding, of detainees in US custody. The information contained in the report comes from detainees who have since been liberated, as well as documents and files uncovered after the fall of the Qaddafi regime.

Holder closes investigation into alleged torture deaths of CIA detainees

US Attorney General Eric Holder announced Aug. 30 that the Department of Justice would close its investigation into the CIA's alleged torture and abuse of detainees, with no criminal charges to be brought as a result of the three-year inquiry. In June 2011 Holder accepted the recommendation of Assistant US Attorney (AUSA) John Durham to open full criminal investigations into the deaths of two individuals while in US custody at overseas locations. The recommendation came during a criminal investigation by Durham that began in August 2009, under which he conducted an inquiry into whether federal laws were violated in connection with the interrogation of specific detainees at overseas locations. The investigation centered primarily on whether any unauthorized interrogation techniques were used by CIA interrogators and whether such techniques could constitute statutory violations of torture.

US charges Gitmo detainee with supporting terrorism

The US  Department of Defense announced Aug. 29 that the Chief Prosecutor for Military Commissions has filed terrorism charges against a Saudi Guantánamo Bay prisoner accused of plotting with al-Qaeda to blow up oil tankers near Yemen. The detainee, Ahmed al Darbi, has been accused of six offenses under the Military Commissions Act of 2009, including conspiracy, aiding and abetting attacks on civilians, and aiding and abetting terrorism based on his former work as a weapons instructor, contact with Osama bin Laden, and support of bombing civilian oil tankers. According to the statement released by the Pentagon:

Egypt requests release of last citizen held at Gitmo

The Egyptian government announced Aug. 2 that it has requested the release of the last of its citizens currently being held at the Guantánamo Bay detention facility. Egyptian Tarek al-Sawah, 54, has been held at Guantánamo for 11 years without charges or trial. Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel requested al-Sawah's release in a letter to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In announcing the request the Foreign Ministry noted that al-Sawah's prior charges of supporting terrorist groups in Afghanistan were dropped by the US military prosecutors and that the Egyptian government will appoint a US lawyer specializing in the rights of Guantanamo prisoners to defend al-Sawah. Since President Mohammed Morsi was sworn in a few weeks ago the Muslim Brotherhood-led administration has sought freedom for many Egyptians internationally jailed for Islamist militancy.

Iraq court rejects transfer of Hezbollah commander

An Iraqi court on Aug. 2 rejected a US extradition request for accused Hezbollah commander Ali Mussa Daqduq. The court also ruled that Daqduq should be released immediately from his house arrest. In May an Iraqi court had cleared  all charges against Daqduq. The court stated that Iraq could not extradite someone whose charges were dropped. He had been detained by the US for four years based on allegations that he was involved with Hezbollah and that he was responsible of planning a raid in 2007 which resulted in the deaths of five US soldiers. He had been transferred in December of last year when talks over which country should be responsible for trying him failed. US President Barack Obama considered trying Daqduq on US soil but was unable to reach an agreement with Iraqi authorities resulting in an extradition request pursuant to the 2008 Status of Forces Agreement between the US and Baghdad.

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