© 2024 New Hampshire Public Radio

Persons with disabilities who need assistance accessing NHPR's FCC public files, please contact us at publicfile@nhpr.org.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Purchase your Summer Raffle tickets now and you'll be entered into Tuesday's prize of the final $2,000 in gas or electric vehicle charging + car or cash & more!

Leaving Guantanamo: Enduring a Harsh Stay

In late November, three Guantanamo detainees were released and sent back to Bahrain. The men had been held by the United States for about four years, first in Afghanistan and then in Guantanamo.

In part one of a two-part series, two of the former detainees talk about their time at Guantanamo -- the interrogations, the military guards, and what they say is an abuse of their religion -- as well as their attempts to rebuild their lives back home in Bahrain.

Adel Hajee and Abdullah al-Nah Aamee were released from Guantanamo in November, ending four years of incarceration. Neither man was told why he was taken to Guantanamo; they were never charged with an offense -- and neither was told why he was released.

In the first week of October 2001, Adel Hajee packed a small bag, his passport, and several thousand dollars. The ministry of defense worker with a wife and daughter says he wanted to help Muslim refugees he had seen on television. U.S. military strikes had just begun against the Taliban and al-Qaida in Afghanistan.

Now 41, Hajee says he planned to be gone only three weeks. When the fighting intensified, he made his way to the Pakistan/Afghanistan border, where he says he turned himself in to the Pakistani authorities. They, in turn, handed him over to the American military.

Abdullah al-Nah Aamee was also in Afghanistan, which he went to from Bahrain on Sept. 13, 2001. He wanted to search for a missing cousin, he says. But when he tried to leave Afghanistan, he was turned over to the authorities and sent to a Pakistani prison. Before long, he was handed over to the Americans.

Nah Aamee, now 24, had lived in the United States for several years. He attended Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va. And at first, he says, he was grateful to be out of the Pakistani jail.

"When I go to the American custody, I felt happy," he says. "They're not going to harm us, they're going to use justice with us."

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Jackie Northam is NPR's International Affairs Correspondent. She is a veteran journalist who has spent three decades reporting on conflict, geopolitics, and life across the globe - from the mountains of Afghanistan and the desert sands of Saudi Arabia, to the gritty prison camp at Guantanamo Bay and the pristine beauty of the Arctic.
Related Content

You make NHPR possible.

NHPR is nonprofit and independent. We rely on readers like you to support the local, national, and international coverage on this website. Your support makes this news available to everyone.

Give today. A monthly donation of $5 makes a real difference.