White House press secretary Robert Gibbs announced this morning that Ireland today announced it will accept two Uzbek detainees transferred from Guantanamo Bay.
“I know they wanted to be helpful, and we appreciate their willingness and ability to do that,” Gibbs said of the offer from the Irish government. “These were detainees that were ruled to be able to be transferred without further detention.”
The two detainees will be transferred in the next couple months.
Irish justice minister Dermot Ahern said in a statement that “In making this decision I am conscious of the intention of the United States to close the center at Guantánamo Bay, in part by transferring detainees, no longer regarded as posing a threat to security but who cannot return to their own countries, to other countries willing to accept them.”
Ahern said his government would “adhere to the norms of official procedure in respecting the rights of the two men to their privacy,”
Though neither the US nor Irish authorities would specific as to which Uzbek detainees headed to Ireland, one is thought to be Oybek Jamoldinivich Jabbarov, whose imprisonment was, according to his attorney “a tragic case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
At the time of his detention by US forces in 2001, Jabbarov, now 31, lived with his pregnant wife, infant son, and mother lived with other Uzbek refugees in northern Afghanistan in 2001 when fighting broke out between the Taliban and the Northern Alliance.
“Oybek was not captured on the battlefield, nor was he armed,” his attorney Michael Mone testified before Congress in May 2008. “Instead, he accepted a ride from a group of Northern Alliance soldiers he met at a roadside teahouse who said they would give him a ride to Mazar-e-Sharif. Unfortunately, instead of driving him to Mazar-e-Sharif, the soldiers took Oybek to Bagram Air Base where they handed him over to U.S. forces, undoubtedly in exchange for a sizable bounty. In a desperately poor, war-torn country, Oybek was an easy mark for soldiers responding to leaflets dropped throughout Afghanistan by the U.S. military offering thousands of dollars in cash rewards to anyone who turned over a Taliban or foreign fighter.”
Before the Combatant Status Review Board, Jabbarov was accused of having “supported the Taliban and al Qaida.” The US government claimed that Jabbarov “admitted that he was a member of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan,” which appears in the United States Department of Homeland Security 'Terrorist Organization Reference Guide,’ and having attended IMU training camps. The government said he “stayed in a safe house owned by the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group,” which also appears on the 'Terrorist Organization Reference Guide,” and “reportedly is used by al Qaida to obtain travel documents.”
“These allegations are not true,” Jabbarov said before the US tribunal. “I served in the national army of Uzbekistan; and I’ve been fighting against the IMU and these Islamic terrorist organizations. I agree that the IMU is a terrorist organization, but I have nothing to do with them. As a soldier in Uzbekistan, I have been fighting against these groups. I took the oath, and I swear it, that I will fight these groups, as a soldier, I took the oath.”
He denied having attended an IMU terrorist camp, having stayed in a safe house owned by the LIFG, never having heard of the LIFG before coming to Guantanamo, or ever even having seen any Arabs before he was brought to Guantanamo. He said he was only in Afghanistan to buy and sell livestock to support his family.
The government asserted that he “made a conscious decision to fight with the Taliban.”
“That’s not true,” Jabbarov said. “I never made that decision. I never supported the Taliban and I’m against their laws and rules.”
The government asserted that he “participated in fighting between the Taliban and the Northern Alliance.”
“So far I haven’t seen any war,” he said. “I never picked up or touched a gun.”
He asked of the woman reading the list of accusations: “where did she get all this information” Does she have any proof?.At least if one of these had evidence, if it was true, people could read.”