Update: Good news. We exceeded the target of our appeal for ex-Guantanamo prisoner Mohammed el Gharani’s medical costs. Thanks to all who supported.
Reprieve is making an urgent appeal for £655 to support a critical medical intervention for Mohammed el Gharani—the youngest prisoner ever held in Guantánamo.
Some of you may remember Mohammed from when we appealed for books for him in Guantánamo, a little over two years ago. He had missed out on most of his education, and was desperate to catch up.
Mohammed was born in Saudi Arabia to Chadian parents. He was seized from a mosque in Pakistan when he was only 14 and traded to the CIA in return for a considerable bounty. He was then rendered to Guantánamo, where he endured torture and other inhuman treatment throughout the remainder of his childhood and into early adulthood.
Mohammed won his Habeas Corpus hearing, proving his innocence and was finally released in 2009 after seven years imprisonment. However, rather than returning him to Saudi Arabia, he was released to Chad—a country he had never visited before—because of his Chadian nationality.
Now 24, Mohammed has spent the last two years trying to rebuild his life in Chad, an unfamiliar warzone, which is also one of the poorest countries in the world. He suffers from a host of severe medical problems resulting from his years of detention and torture. However, healthcare services in Chad are basically nonexistent, and Reprieve’s efforts throughout this time to secure a proper medical evaluation for him—let alone follow-up care—were fruitless. In the end, Mohammed has had to take the drastic step of relocating to another African country in order to receive the treatment he needs.
This week two Reprieve representatives and a doctor specialised in torture rehabilitation supported by Physicians for Human Rights have visited Mohammed in his new country to conduct a comprehensive medical evaluation and facilitate follow up care. After a flurry of tests, Mohammed has received a diagnosis and it is now known that he urgently requires an operation.
To most people, the news that surgery is required for an urgent medical problem would be a bad shock. However, for Mohammed, it has been a great relief. He has lived for years in debilitating pain without understanding the cause and having no possibility of treatment. The day he received his diagnosis, he kept saying, “Today was a great day. In two days we did what we could not do in two years.” Read the rest of this entry »