EXCLUSIVE: Recently Released Gitmo Detainee Talks to ABC News

Boumediene saw the 5-4 decision as his first victory against President Bush. His second came last November when Judge Leon ruled that the evidence against Boumediene was weak -- a "thin reed," he called it -- and ordered his release from Guantanamo.

The Bush administration never charged him with conspiring to blow up the embassies. Rather they said Boumediene and others had been planning to travel to Afghanistan to fight the United States.

To mark the occasion, Boumediene made himself a T-shirt that, like a soccer scoreboard, reads, "Boumediene: 2, Bush: 0."

Last month, in a tearful ceremony at an airport outside Paris, Boumediene was reunited with his family. His daughters, who were toddlers when he was detained, are 13 and 9 years old.

"I cried, just cried. Because I don't know my daughters," he said. "The younger, when I moved from Bosnia to Gitmo, she had 18 months, only 18 months. Now 9 years. Now she's big. Between 18 months, baby and 9 years, she walking, she's talking, she play, she's joking. It's a big difference."

Because of his hunger strike, Boumediene was not in good health when he arrived in France. He was treated at a military hospital and could not eat regular food at first.

After he was released from the hospital, he went with his wife and daughters to enjoy a first meal as a family in seven and a half year. On the menu? Pizza.

Sarkozy, Obama Work Out Detainee Plan

At the request of the White House, France agreed to take in Boumediene. Obama spoke with French President Nikolas Sarkozy on April 3 in Strasbourg France about the possibility of taking in prisoners released from Guantanamo.

"If then the President of the United States says, I'm going to close down Guantanamo, but I need my allies to take -- in this particular instance, this one person -- into our prisons, because this is going to help me, the U.S. President, to shut down this base -- if we are consistent, then we say, yes," Sarkozy said that day.

But neither the US nor French governments thought Boumediene needed to be imprisoned. He is a free man, trying to figure out what to do next.

Three others from his group are back in Bosnia. Two remain in Guantanamo.

Obama personally thanked Sarkozy on Saturday in France.

"I very much appreciate President Sarkozy's leadership on a whole range of issues," he said, including, "France's willingness to accept a Guantanamo detainee."

Boumediene: "I try to forget Guantanamo"

Boumediene said he understands, to a degree, how the attacks of Sept. 11 prompted strong reactions from the U.S. government.

"The first month, okay, no problem, the building, the 11 of September, the people, they are scared, but not 7 years. They can know whose innocent, who's not innocent, who's terrorist, who's not terrorist," he said.

"I give you 2 years, no problem, but not 7 years."

Boumediene stressed that he has no problem with the American people but could not hide his anger against Bush and other senior administration officials who he called "stupid."

"Myself, I try to forget Guantanamo, I can't forget the four or five people, they are stupid, they are very very stupid. I can't forget them," he said.

Boumediene and his attorney said they are considering a lawsuit against the U.S. government but more importantly, they say, he needs money to survive.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
  • |
  • 4
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...