At Guantánamo, Army Lt. Col. Samuel House said that, as of Thursday morning, 36 detainees were still on hunger strike. Of them, 32 were on a Navy medical list to receive forced-feedings if they did not voluntarily drink a nutritional supplement or agree to have renourishment delivered to their stomachs through a nasogastric tube.
Hadjarab got to the prison camps in Cuba on Feb. 15, 2002, according to his 2007 Guantánamo file.
Both files indicate that the U.S. military recommended each man be sent home as far back as 2007. Both were subsequently cleared for transfer by the Obama administration.
Eisenberg, in a statement, called Sayab “a poster boy for all that is wrong about Guantánamo Bay,” and an “unwitting and undeserving victim of a misguided response to terrorism.”
“Motai is innocent of any conduct remotely related to terror, and in fact abhors and deplores such conduct,” he said. “He has nevertheless been beaten, forced to live in isolation, and stripped of his inalienable right to freedom.”
Eisenberg said the United States should pay his client compensation for the lost “11½ years of his young life” and to help him “readjust to life as a free Algerian citizen.”
Wednesday’s was the first release from the prison camps since the Obama administration resettled two Muslims of Uighur ethnicity in El Salvador in April 2012. It was the first overall transfer since the Pentagon sent convicted “teen terrorist” Omar Khadr to his native Canada to complete a seven-year prison sentence Sept. 29, 2012.
The transfer was not a surprise, although the timing was not publicly known.
Last month, the White House announced that Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, for the first time, had certified the release under requirements imposed by Congress’ current National Defense Authorization Act with the approval of Secretary of State John Kerry and the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
The two men who were released have been publicly identified as having a variety of names. Algeria, for example, announced the release of “Hadj Arab Nabil” and “Mouati Said Ahmed Sayab,” while federal court filings call them Nabil Hadjarab and Motai Saib.