Khalid Qassim, from Yemen, has been held at Guantanamo since 2002. He has never been tried or charged with a crime.
Khalid comes from near Aden, in Yemen. He grew up with little money or prospects, and travelled to Afghanistan in search of work. However, he was soon trapped in the chaotic aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, and the start of the ‘War on Terror’.
The Afghan authorities turned Khalid over to American forces. At the time, the US promised payments of life-changing amounts of money to local forces, and individuals, who were willing to capture and hand in Arabs.
Khalid was soon shipped to Guantanamo, where he has spent the last 14 years. He has never faced trial or charges.
It is believed that he is held – like many others before him – on the basis of a mix of statements from informants, made under torture or coercion. This kind of bogus ‘evidence’ has long been debunked, most notably by the US Senate’s exhaustive 2014 investigation into the use of torture by US forces after 9/11.
A sharp and capable person, Khalid has tried to use his time at Guantanamo positively, learning English and Spanish. His excellent English has seen him become an interlocutor between the guards and other prisons.
Khalid also has an artistic sensibility, and loves to paint and write poetry. During a 2016 visit to the prison by CBS, Khalid was able to show his artwork to the camera crew.
Khalid has spent most of his adult life in Guantanamo. He now wants nothing more than to be free, so he can reunite with his family and rebuild his life.