informazione dal medio oriente
    information from middle east
    المعلومات من الشرق الأوسط

[ home page] | [ tutte le notizie/all news ] | [ download banner] | [ ultimo aggiornamento/last update 02/02/2015 03:56 ] 65795

english italiano

  [ Subscribe our newsletter!   -   Iscriviti alla nostra newsletter! ]  


Uruknet on Alexa

End Gaza Siege
End Gaza Siege


:: Segnala Uruknet agli amici. Clicka qui.
:: Invite your friends to Uruknet. Click here.

:: Segnalaci un articolo
:: Tell us of an article

Abandoned in Spain: The Palestinian Freed from Guantánamo

Andy Worthington

May 8, 2010

As two former Guantánamo prisoners begin new lives in Europe (an unidentified Yemeni in Spain, and a Syrian in Bulgaria, whose story I’ll be reporting soon), there are concerns that the ill-defined obligations of countries accepting cleared prisoners from Guantánamo have left the first prisoner given a new life in Spain — the Palestinian Walid Hijazi, who was released in February — in a precarious position, effectively abandoned by the State, and largely reliant on the kindness of strangers for his financial and psychological support.

On Sunday, El Pais published a detailed article about Hijazi, explaining, as my journalist friend Carlos Sardiña Galache described it to me, that "he lives in a small hotel in an undisclosed medium-size Spanish city, waiting to move to a flat provided by a NGO. According to the story, he is devastated and traumatized. The journalist says he looks very weak and fragile, almost like a child, and he has constant headaches. This NGO has a volunteer who looks after him and there is a woman in the hotel who also takes care of him 'like a mother.’"

This is a worrying situation, and even my faltering translation of the El Pais article makes it clear that Hijazi is in a horribly vulnerable position. "He prefers not to talk about the past, not to remember" the article says. "'I’m fine, thanks to Allah,’ he says in Arabic. 'But it is still early. These things take time. I need time.’ The window of his room, whether it is hot or cold, is always open."

The full description of his carers is revealing. "The critical support," the article says, "has not been found in the NGOs or in the Muslim community in the city. It has come instead from a woman who works at the hotel where he is living, and is spontaneously and selflessly looking after him … Hijazi does not speak Spanish, and she does not speak Arabic, so they communicate by signs. They eat together, he accompanies her on errands, and seems comfortable despite the fact that communication is limited. A young man from the NGO also visits in his spare time, and goes for walks with Hijazi."

Crucially, as El Pais noted, senior officials in Hijazi’s new hometown convened a meeting with members of the Muslim community, at which Hijazi was present, "to ask for their support in the reception and reintegration of former prisoners." However, as the article continued, "neither the government nor the NGOs nor the Muslim community realized how difficult it would be to recover psychologically" after eight years in Guantánamo.

Hijazi speaks once or twice a week to his family, but seems unsure of what to think about the future. "Would you like to return to Gaza? Bring your family here?" the reporter asks (somewhat rhetorically, as the Israeli government shows no willingness to provide any support to former Guantánamo prisoners). "I do not know," Hijazi replies, adding, again, "I need more time." The article ends with the reporter noting, "During the day, he goes out for walks. Sometimes, when he is not feeling well, he spends days at the hotel, and barely goes out at all. The last day that we see him he is well and goes out on an errand. The window, as always, is open."

What emerges clearly from this report is how, despite the kindness of the woman who has befriended him, Hijazi obviously needs professional care, which has not been made available to him. Michael Korzinski, the co-director of the Helen Bamber Foundation in London (which cares for torture victims), told El Pais, "These patients need time to reconnect with ordinary life. They have to feel that they have rights, rights that have been denied to them for a long time." He added that they need "specific psychological treatment."

Whether this will be forthcoming in Walid Hijazi’s case, or in the case of the Yemeni who has just arrived in Spain, ought to be a pressing matter for the Spanish government. The fear, however, is that in doing a favor for President Obama, by taking cleared prisoners who cannot be repatriated, the Spanish government is ignoring the former prisoners’ own needs and is interested only in whatever political advantage will ensue from its  gesture of solidarity with the Obama administration.

Certainly, the focus of the government seems to be more on the novel status of these men than on their psychological and material well-being. As the article also explains, the government has stated that Hijazi is not allowed to leave the country, prompting lawyers to ask why, if he is a free man with no charges against him, this restriction should be imposed. The Ministry of the Interior has explained that it is authorized under Article 28.2 of the Aliens Act, which allows the Minister of the Interior to prevent people leaving the country on the basis of "national security."

It is valid to ask why this law should be invoked in the case of men who pose no threat to Spain — or to anyone else for that matter — but as Walid Hijazi’s case makes clear, more pressing right now are concerns about his welfare, although questions about the former prisoners’ status — and the manner in which they are being treated — surely need examining in relation to the resettlement of men in other countries, and not just in Spain.

After eight years in Guantánamo, and their release because, in the end, the US government was unable to conjure up a valid reason to continue holding them, the prisoners given homes in new countries — to date, Albania, Belgium, Bermuda, Bulgaria, France, Georgia, Hungary, Ireland, Palau, Portugal, Slovakia and Switzerland, as well as Spain — need guarantees that they will not only be free men, but will also receive adequate support to help them rebuild their lives.

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK). To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed (and I can also be found on Facebook and Twitter). Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in January 2010, details about the new documentary film, "Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo" (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, and launched in October 2009), and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.

:: Article nr. 65795 sent on 09-may-2010 01:10 ECT


Link: www.andyworthington.co.uk/2010/05/08/abandoned-in-spain-the-palestinian-freed-fr

:: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website.

The section for the comments of our readers has been closed, because of many out-of-topics.
Now you can post your own comments into our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/uruknet

[ Printable version ] | [ Send it to a friend ]

[ Contatto/Contact ] | [ Home Page ] | [Tutte le notizie/All news ]

Uruknet on Twitter

:: RSS updated to 2.0

:: English
:: Italiano

:: Uruknet for your mobile phone:

Uruknet on Facebook

:: Motore di ricerca / Search Engine

the web

:: Immagini / Pictures


The newsletter archive

L'Impero si è fermato a Bahgdad, by Valeria Poletti

Modulo per ordini


:: Newsletter

:: Comments

Haq Agency
Haq Agency - English

Haq Agency - Arabic

AMSI - Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq - English

AMSI - Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq - Arabic

Font size
1 2 3

:: All events


[ home page] | [ tutte le notizie/all news ] | [ download banner] | [ ultimo aggiornamento/last update 02/02/2015 03:56 ]

Uruknet receives daily many hacking attempts. To prevent this, we have 10 websites on 6 servers in different places. So, if the website is slow or it does not answer, you can recall one of the other web sites: www.uruknet.info www.uruknet.de www.uruknet.biz www.uruknet.org.uk www.uruknet.com www.uruknet.org - www.uruknet.it www.uruknet.eu www.uruknet.net www.uruknet.web.at.it

:: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more info go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
::  We always mention the author and link the original site and page of every article.
uruknet, uruklink, iraq, uruqlink, iraq, irak, irakeno, iraqui, uruk, uruqlink, saddam hussein, baghdad, mesopotamia, babilonia, uday, qusay, udai, qusai,hussein, feddayn, fedayn saddam, mujaheddin, mojahidin, tarek aziz, chalabi, iraqui, baath, ba'ht, Aljazira, aljazeera, Iraq, Saddam Hussein, Palestina, Sharon, Israele, Nasser, ahram, hayat, sharq awsat, iraqwar,irakwar All pictures

url originale


I nostri partner - Our Partners:

TEV S.r.l.

TEV S.r.l.: hosting


Progetto Niz

niz: news management



digitbrand: ".it" domains


Worlwide Mirror Web-Sites:
www.uruknet.info (Main)
www.uruknet.us (USA)
www.uruknet.su (Soviet Union)
www.uruknet.ru (Russia)
www.uruknet.it (Association)
www.uruknet.mobi (For Mobile Phones)
www.uruknet.org.uk (UK)
www.uruknet.de (Germany)
www.uruknet.ir (Iran)
www.uruknet.eu (Europe)
wap.uruknet.info (For Mobile Phones)
rss.uruknet.info (For Rss Feeds)

Vat Number: IT-97475000150