When Akhmed Abdul Qadir Hussain was eighteen (or a little younger, by some accounts), in early 2002, he was arrested by the Pakistani police, who gave him to American forces, who sent him to Guantánamo Bay. When he was about twenty-five, in 2009, the Guantánamo Review Task Force cleared him for release. It had taken seven years, but, as a Pentagon press release put it, “this man was unanimously approved for transfer by the six departments and agencies comprising the task force.” But he remained in Guantánamo for more than five additional years. Finally, on Wednesday, the Obama Administration announced that it had put Hussain on a plane to Estonia. He is not Estonian; he was born in Yemen. But now, at the age of about thirty-one, he will presumably learn at least the rudiments of the Estonian language, maybe while taking in the architecture in Talinn’s old city and on the Baltic coast. Four other Guantánamo prisoners were sent to Oman; they were also Yemeni. Each of them had been held for a dozen years or more, and each had also been cleared for release five years earlier. Neither they nor Hussain had ever been charged with anything.
Growing Up at Guantánamo
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