Monday, January 17, 2011

Betraying our own laws and values - and hypocritically, too

From the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Article 13.

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.
From the US State Department

The protection of fundamental human rights was a foundation stone in the establishment of the United States over 200 years ago. Since then, a central goal of U.S. foreign policy has been the promotion of respect for human rights, as embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The United States understands that the existence of human rights helps secure the peace, deter aggression, promote the rule of law, combat crime and corruption, strengthen democracies, and prevent humanitarian crises.
From Unclaimed Territory

I've written several times about the plight of Gulet Mohamed, the American teenager detained without charges more than three weeks ago in Kuwait by unknown captors, relentlessly interrogated about numerous matters of interest to the Obama administration, and, he claims, severely beaten and tortured ...


Last night, the Kuwaiti deportation officers took Gulet, along with the ticket, to the airport and were prepared to send him back to the U.S. But when he attempted to board the plane, he was told that he was barred from doing so. According to Mohad, no reason was given, but it is presumably due to the U.S.'s placement of him on the no-fly list (which State Department officials, to The New York Times, previously confirmed they had done). As a result, Gulet -- thinking he was finally headed home -- instead was returned to his detention facility, where he remains, and his prospects for release are now very unclear.

What's going on here is a pure travesty. As an American citizen, Gulet has the absolute right to return to and re-enter his country. But by secretly placing him on the no-fly list while he was halfway around the world -- and providing no information about why he was so placed -- the U.S. Government is denying him his right to return. Worse, they know that this action is not only preventing him from returning, but is keeping the 19-year-old in a state of absolute legal limbo, where's he imprisoned by a country that admits it has no cause for holding him and does not want to hold him, yet which cannot release him. The U.S. government has the obligation to assist its citizens when they end up detained without cause; here, they are doing the opposite: they're deliberately ensuring it continues.

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