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HRW, Locked Up Alone (Jabbarov)

[Oybeck Jamoldinivich] Jabbarov is a 30-year-old Uzbek national who has been cleared for release since at least February 22, 2007. Reportedly sold to the United States by Afghan soldiers, Jabbarov has been in US custody since October 2001 and held at Guantanamo since June 2002.

Jabbarov told his lawyers that, shortly after he arrived at Guantanamo, a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent informed him that US authorities knew his capture had been a mistake and that he would be freed very soon.79 In February 2007 Jabbarov received official notice that he was approved to leave Guantanamo.

However, Uzbekistan is a country with a known record of torture, and Jabbarov, who was reportedly visited by Uzbek officials in September 2002 and threatened with torture, has a credible fear of return, which the United States has recognized.80 But neither the US nor any third-party country is yet willing to take him, and Jabbarov remains at Guantanamo. Even though he has been approved to leave Guantanamo, his conditions of confinement have worsened.81

For most of the time Jabbarov has been held in Guantanamo, he was housed with “compliant” detainees in Camp 1. But in May 2007 he suffered a herniated disc and underwent back surgery. Following the surgery, Jabbarov was confined to a wheelchair and given a catheter for urinating. Concerned about bugs and infection in a camp exposed to the open air, and wanting to be someplace more wheelchair accessible, Jabbarov told his attorney that he requested to be moved, and he was placed in Camp 5.

By October 2007 Jabbarov—able to use a walker and feeling somewhat better--reportedly asked guards if he could be moved back to Camp 1 or Camp 4. He explained that he needed to interact with others who could aid him in walking and stretching out his back and legs. Jabbarov told his lawyer that the guards refused and said that he was being held in Camp 5 as punishment.82

In January 2008 Jabbarov’s habeas counsel hand-delivered a letter to the JTF Guantanamo commander, requesting that Jabbarov be moved out of Camp 5; he claims that he never received a response. In March 2008 he again asked that Jabbarov be transferred to Camp 1 or Camp 4 and that he receive physical therapy for his back. At the end of April, Jabbarov wrote his attorney that he is now receiving some limited physical therapy. Yet, Jabbarov remains in Camp 5.83

Jabbarov has told his lawyer that the recreation area in Camp 5 has a tarp covering it, so he never gets to feel the sun, and that he longs to feel the warmth of the sun on his body. He said also that whenever he is moved, for visits to the hospital or visits with his lawyer, he always sneaks glances of the ocean.84

Jabbarov has a wife and two children—both boys—ages eight and six. He has never laid eyes upon—or spoken with—his youngest son.85


79. Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Michael Mone, attorney for Oybek Jamoldinivich Jabbarov, April 6, 2008.

80. The 2007 State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices noted that security forces in Uzbekistan “routinely tortured, beat, and otherwise mistreated detainees under interrogation to obtain confessions or incriminating information.” US State Department, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices - 2007: Uzbekistan,” March 11, 2008, (accessed June 6, 2008); Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Michael Mone, May 12, 2008.

81. To its credit, the US has recognized Jabbarov’s credible fear of return, is not planning to repatriate him to Uzbekistan, and is instead seeking to resettle him elsewhere.

82. Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Michael Mone, May 12, 2008.

83. Email communication from Michael Mone to Human Rights Watch, May 16, 2008.

84. Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Michael Mone, May 12, 2008.

85. Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Michael Mone, January 15, 2008.

Source: Human Rights Watch, Locked Up Alone: Detention Conditions and Mental Health at Guantanamo, June 2008, pp. 31f