Afghan inmate’s health at risk after 12 years in Guantanamo

Afghan inmate’s health at risk after 12 years in Guantanamo
Fecha de publicación: 
20 December 2020
Imagen principal: 

Washington, December 20 (RHC)-- Muhammad Rahim has been confined to the notorious Guantanamo Bay prison for the last 12 years without charge.  But now his lawyer and a rights body fear the Afghan is facing a potentially serious health risk.

A medical examination carried out by Guantanamo’s Joint Task Force (JTF) in 2017 and on subsequent unknown dates have uncovered several “nodules” in his lung, liver, kidney and rib, raising fears of cancer.  Since a biopsy is yet to be done and, as per a medical provider at the detention centre, Rahim needs an MRI test as well, it remains unknown whether the lumps are malignant.

The Guantanamo authorities agreed to facilitate the MRI examination, but the offer was reneged later.  Rahim’s military lawyer, Major James Valentine, has unsuccessfully pushed for the release of his medical file, but the US regards the information as classified.

Some detainees at the Guantanamo facility suspected of alleged crimes such as Rahim get a military lawyer to defend their cases since the tribunal there was originally governed by the 2006 Military Commissions Act, a Bush administration law which set different rules to try “terror suspects” from those which operate in regular civilian or military courts.  No charges were filed against Rahim and Haroon.

Major Valentine believes the decision is rooted in the possibility that releasing the documents would reveal further details about torture used against Rahim.  Now in his 50s, Rahim is the second last Afghan to be held in the infamous detention centre in Cuba where detainees have been routinely subjected to torture and interrogations.

A legal petition filed to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) which works to protect and promote human rights, alleging the U.S. government violated Rahim’s right to the “preservation of his health” was filed last May by Major Valentine.  “The refusal to provide medical care is in violation of all customary standards of international human rights standards,” the petition said.

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