Islamabad - The family of a Pakistani man allegedly detained illegally by the United States of America for more than a decade in Guantanamo Bay, has filed a writ petition in Islamabad High Court (IHC) seeking his repatriation and court’s directions to the government of Pakistani to demand consular access to the detainee and arrange his immediate release.

The petitioner has also prayed to the court to direct the government of Pakistan to initiate criminal proceedings against former military ruler Pervez Musharraf and those involved in the torture and illegal handing over of his relative to the Americans in 2001.

Talking to The Nation here on Sunday, Advocate Mirza Shahzad Akbar, the counsel for the petitioner Mohammad Shafi who has moved the court in this matter, informed that he had nominated federation of Pakistan through secretary ministry of defence, ministry of interior through its secretary, ministry of foreign affairs through its secretary and General (Retd) Pervez Musharraf as respondents. He added that it was likely that a single bench of IHC would take up the matter after Muharram vacations.

Shahzad Akbar told that Ahmed Rabbani was illegally detained and brutally tortured during Musharraf’s regime in 2001 before being turned over to the Americans in 2002 for a bounty. He was transferred first to Afghanistan and then to Guantanamo Bay, where he has been languishing without charge or consular access since 2004.

The counsel further informed that Ahmed’s brother-in-law Mohammad Shafi and Ahmed’s 12-year-old son Jawad are asking the current Pakistani government to take immediate steps to gain consular access to Ahmed and secure his release from the Americans. Mirza added that the family was terrified that Ahmed’s current treatment at the hands of the Americans moght lead to his death. Ahmed, along with dozens of other illegally held prisoners at Guantanamo, have been protesting their detention for the past two years via a peaceful hunger strike while the Americans have responded by repeatedly assaulting Ahmed in his cell and abusively force-feeding him twice a day.

He continued that litigation was currently under way in the United States regarding the tortuous treatment of those who are on hunger strike and in the case of a Syrian prisoner, who was also turned over to the Americans by Musharraf, US District Court Judge Gladys Kessler has declared the US practice of force-feeding as “a painful, humiliating and degrading process.” She recently ordered the US government to disclose tapes of the practice to the public.

The petitioner’s counsel further added that recent letters from Ahmed to his US lawyers indicated that the abusive US practices had caused him to repeatedly vomit blood and that his health was in poor condition. He informed that there were currently six Pakistani detainees in Guantanamo, being held without trial.

An organisation, Foundation for Fundamental Rights (FFR), is representing the family in this case and Shahzad Akbar Advocate, who is also director of FFR and the lawyer for the family, was of the view, “Ahmed has lost twelve years of his life because Musharraf sold him to the highest bidder, the Americans. His son has been bereft of a father for his whole life.”

“Now, not only Ahmed’s freedom is gone, but his very life may also be at stake because of the abusive force-feeding practices of the American authorities. This government needs to take immediate steps to gain consular access to Ahmed and to secure his release from this illegal detention. They also need to take immediate steps to hold those responsible - Musharraf and those who helped him - for their role in Ahmed’s illegal detention,” said Akbar.