Vol. 5 Num 910 Mon. December 18, 2006  
Front Page

Bangladeshi back home after 5 years of horror at Guantanamo prison

The US authorities yesterday handed over a youth to Bangladesh police, who was held at Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba for the last five years for his alleged link with al-Qaeda.

The youth, Mubarak Hossain, 30, son of Abul Hashem of Moin Madhyapara in Brahmanbaria, was arrested from Afghanistan in 2001.

A special US Air Force plane flew Mubarak in Bangladesh and handed him over to the Zia International Airport Immigration at 11:30am.

The airport immigration authorities later transferred his custody to the Airport Police where he remained under detention till last night. His father was unable to meet or receive his son after waiting at the police station for several hours.

Police did not allow journalists to take his photograph or talk to him either.

Police intends to place Mubarak before the court some time in the morning today.

Mubarak 's father Abul Hashem, an imam at the Graphic Arts Institute mosque, claimed that his son was innocent. "He never had any links with al-Qaeda or Talibans or Mujahideen and he wasn't a militant either."

Police sources said the Pakistani intelligence forces picked up Mubarak while coming out of a mosque in Jalalabad, Afghanistan as he was asking for directions to Karachi.

The Pakistan police took him to Karachi and detained him there for two weeks before handing him over to the US special agents. The US special agents then flew him to the Guantanamo prison, said police sources.

Abul Hashem told the reporters that he went to the Airport Police to receive his son after he came to know of his son's return on TV.

"After becoming a Hafez from a madrasa at Lalmatia in Dhaka, he (Mobarak) went to a madrasa in Karachi (Pakistan) at the end of 1998 to obtain the Mufti degree," Hashem said.

"Mubarak studied there for two years and afterwards began teaching at a madrasa before he went missing, he continued.

Mubarak's uncle Giasuddin was also in Karachi during his study there, said Hashem. "All of a sudden, my brother (Giasuddin) one day informed me over phone that Mubarak went missing."

Giasuddin returned to Bangladesh in 2002 after failing to find Mubarak, he added.

Hashem said all his six sons and two daughters are educated in madrasas.

He found out about his missing son's whereabouts from Red Crescent in 2004. "The Red Crescent first informed me that my son is being detained at Guantanamo, but I did not believe them," he told the reporters.

But later, almost all detective agencies in the country started inquiring about Mubarak, which made the father believe the authenticity of the Red Crescent's information.

"Following the lead, I applied through the Red Crescent in June this year for my son's release," Hashem said.

Red Crescent made his son's return possible by assisting Hashem submit the documents required by the home and foreign ministry.