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Monday, December 3, 2012
The death of Adnan Farhan Abdul LatifBy Tom Carter, 3 December 2012On September 10, 2012, Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif died in his cell at the US prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. As of the day he died, Latif had been imprisoned at Guantanamo for 10 years, 7 months and 25 days. He was 36 years old and left behind a wife and son.The failure to enforce the most basic rights of Latif, who died in September at Guantanamo, underscores the collapse of democratic legal institutions and the expanding machinery of a police state. Latif died after enduring a decade of torture and abuse at the hands of the US military and intelligence agencies. His death came after a habeas corpus petition challenging his incommunicado detention was granted by a federal judge and then overturned on appeal, on the grounds of authoritarian legal doctrines promoted by the Bush and Obama administrations.The failure of the US legal system over the preceding decade to enforce Latif’s most basic rights underscores the collapse of centuries-old democratic legal institutions and the expanding machinery of a police state. Latif’s death constitutes a war crime that, along with the crimes against hundreds of other prisoners at Guantanamo and secret “black sites” around the world, warrants the impeachment, arrest and criminal prosecution of all of the top civilian and military officials in both administrations.Latif, who was born in Yemen, was swept up in December 2001 in one of the many dragnet-style abductions organized by the US in Pakistan. The US government publicly claimed that Latif was a member of Al Qaeda, but Latif was never charged or convicted of any crime.Documents obtained and published by WikiLeaks last year revealed that the US government knew all along that Latif was not associated with Al Qaeda. It appears that Latif traveled to Afghanistan not to join Al Qaeda, but to seek medical care related to a 1994 automobile accident that left him with lasting brain injuries. The US government locked up Latif anyway, without any charges or trial, as part of the Bush administration’s newly launched extrajudicial detention and torture program.The circumstances of Latif’s death are suspicious. The US military initially reported that Latif had been found “unconscious and unresponsive” in his cell. However, in an autopsy report recently delivered to the Yemeni embassy, the US claimed that Latif’s death was a suicide. The US military claims that Latif had accumulated medications in his cell and taken them all at once. This is a dubious scenario in light of the 24-hour surveillance and other draconian restrictions to which Guantanamo prisoners are subjected.
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