Adel lived in Afghanistan with his pregnant wife until they fled the US invasion in 2001. He was kidnapped by Pakistani forces and handed over to the Americans. Adel was sent to Kandahar and tortured, then taken to Guantánamo Bay.
Adel was held without charge in Guantánamo for 13 years until he was finally released in December 2014. Adel is now rebuilding his life in Kazakhstan with the help of Reprieve’s Life After Guantánamo team.
“All Adel wants now is to regain his health, see his daughter, and start his life again. We are very encouraged by this wave of releases at the end of 2014, and hope we see more of the dozens of cleared men left in Guantánamo rejoin their families early next year.”
Cori Crider, Reprieve’s Strategic Director and Adel’s attorney
Adel was born in Tunisia and has four brothers and five sisters. He migrated to Italy in 1985 and worked as a chef in various well-respected restaurants. He decided to travel from Italy to Pakistan, hoping to get closer to his Muslim roots and find a wife who shared his faith.
He married and moved with his wife’s family to Jalalabad, Afghanistan. He began a new life with his family and planned to open a European-style snack stand in Kabul. But his business plans were interrupted by the 09/11 attacks and the subsequent US invasion of Afghanistan.
“President Obama… Let us be over with this Guantánamo nightmare. Just say you’re sorry and send my innocent brother back home. In fact, you don’t even have to say sorry if that’s too much to ask. Just send our brother back.”
Emad Hakeemy, brother of Adel
Adel fled the war zone, but was kidnapped by the Pakistanis and handed over to US forces. He was taken to Kandahar, where he was abused, and then to Guantánamo Bay. Adel has been held without charge since 2002. He has been cleared for release for many years but the US administration has refused to let him return to Tunisia, ignoring calls from the post-revolution Tunisian government for his safe repatriation.
In peaceful protest against his unending detention and abusive treatment, Adel has been on hunger strike along with many other desperate prisoners. But the Guantánamo authorities view the hunger strike as dangerous disobedience and punish those who take part.
“They have taken away all the medicinal assistance that I had. The first thing they took was a medical belt that I had to use for my bad back. Second, they took the device that keeps my knee straight and in place…this is a psychological war against me. It is destroying me.”
Adel’s release from Guantánamo shows what we can achieve, but many more need our help.