Reprieve Cases: Mohammed 'Yusuf' El Gharani
Cases: Mohammed 'Yusuf' El Gharani (Guantanamo Bay)
Sent to Guantanamo at fourteen years of age
Mohammed El Gharani was just 14 years old when he was seized by the Pakistanis and sold to the Americans for a bounty.
As a Chad national in Saudi Arabia, his opportunities for education and advancement were extremely limited, so Mohammed left his home shortly before 11th September, 2001, hoping to learn English and train to work with computers.
There is no evidence that Mohammed ever traveled to Afghanistan nor that he intended to do so. Nevertheless, he is now one of twenty juveniles that Reprieve has identified that are being held in Guantanamo Bay.
He states that he has been terribly abused there – including having a cigarette stubbed out on his arm by an interrogator and being constantly abused by guards. Most of his mistreatment stems from his vocal objection to being called a ‘nigger’ by US Military personnel.
The United States has explicitly misled the public about whether children are being held in Guantanamo Bay. On BBC Radio 4’s ‘PM’ programme on January 29, 2004 Jon Manel interviewed Lieutenant Commander Barbara Burfeind at the Department of Defense in Washington:
BURFEIND: We don't plan on, er, detaining, em, juveniles at Guantanamo further. Er, I can't say in terms of the future of anywhere else.
JON MANEL: Why not at Guantanamo anymore?
BURFEIND: Em, they just, I've just been told that they are not planning on having juveniles at Guantanamo.
This was false when Lt. Cdr. Burfeind made the statement and it remains false today. There are at least nine juveniles in Guantanamo Bay and five other have been released. None is being held in Camp Iguana and some, including Mohammed, are being held in the infamous Camp V – the most onerous of all the Guantanamo camps.
Mohammed is represented by Reprieve's Legal Director Clive Stafford Smith.