Witnesses of the Unseen: Seven Years in Guantanamo (Hardcover)
This searing memoir shares the trauma and triumphs of Lakhdar Boumediene and Mustafa Ait Idir's time inside America's most notorious prison.
Lakhdar and Mustafa were living quiet, peaceful lives in Bosnia when, in October 2001, they were arrested and accused of participating in a terrorist plot. After a three-month investigation uncovered no evidence, all charges were dropped and Bosnian courts ordered their freedom. However, under intense U.S. pressure, Bosnian officials turned them over to American soldiers. They were flown blindfolded and shackled to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where they were held in outdoor cages for weeks as the now-infamous military prison was built around them.
Guantanamo became their home for the next seven years. They endured torture and harassment and force-feedings and beatings, all the while not knowing if they would ever see their families again. They had no opportunity to argue their innocence until 2008, when the Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling in their case, Boumediene v. Bush, confirming Guantanamo detainees' constitutional right to challenge their detention in federal court. Weeks later, the George W. Bush-appointed federal judge who heard their case, stunned by the absence of evidence against them, ordered their release. Now living in Europe and rebuilding their lives, Lakhdar and Mustafa are finally free to share a story that every American ought to know.
Learn more at witnessesbook.com or donate to a crowdsourced restitution fund at GoFundMe.com/witnesses.
About the Author
Lakhdar Boumediene was the lead plaintiff in the Supreme Court case Boumediene v. Bush. Prior to his seven-year internment in Guantanamo Bay, he was an aid worker for the Red Crescent Society in Bosnia. He now lives in France with his wife and children. Mustafa Ait Idir, a co-plaintiff in Boumediene v. Bush, was also held in Guantanamo Bay for seven years. Before his internment, he worked for Qatar Charities in Bosnia and was widely recognized as a talented athlete and coach. He has reunited with his wife and children and is now a computer science teacher at a secondary school in Sarajevo. Lakhdar and Mustafa shared their stories with Kathleen List, who helped translate them from Arabic into English. Daniel Hartnett Norland and Jeffrey Rose edited their accounts.