Last Domestic Detainee Released — 5 Years After the FBI Concluded He Was Innocent

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The U.S. war on terror has robbed hundreds of innocent people of years of their lives. (See for example Mackenzie Funk’s recent report for Mother Jones about the emblematic case of one innocent man, a Tajik, scooped up in Pakistan on suspicion of terrorist activities and held for two years in the legal black hole of the U.S. War on Terror—in four prisons and three countries.)

After 9/11, of course, large numbers of people–1,200 mainly Muslim men–were swept up in this country, too, and held in detention centers. No terrorists among them. Yesterday brought yet another grim milestone in our journey from Sept. 11: the release of the last of these detainees–an Algerian air force lieutenant who spent just under five years in captivity even though the FBI concluded in November 2001 that he had zero connection to terrorism.

The man is applying for political asylum in Canada, and the Washington Post quotes the executive director of the Canadian Council for Refugees as saying, “Obviously, there is enormous relief. But I am extremely bitter that five years of a person’s life can be taken away.”

For more, see Mother Jones‘ full coverage of U.S. detainee policy here.

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This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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