Haji Pacha Wazir was released after over seven years of imprisonment at Bagram.
Prior to his seizure, Mr. Wazir owned and operated a currency exchange business that had offices in Afghanistan and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Mr. Wazir is a well-respected businessman who has a reputation for integrity, honesty, and fairness. He is also dedicated to his family and is the father of seven children – five sons and two daughters. Mr. Wazir was seized by U.S. forces in 2002 and transferred to Bagram. Following his initial seizure, Mr. Wazir’s family was not formally informed about his whereabouts until 2004, when they received a handwritten letter from him delivered via the ICRC. Although Mr. Wazir’s family had received informal reports that Mr. Wazir was at Bagram in 2002, they were unable to confirm the accuracy of this information until receipt of their father’s letter nearly two years later. During the two years following his seizure, Mr. Wazir’s family thus had no clue whether he was alive, let alone where he might be. Throughout the following five years, Mr. Wazir’s only contact with his family was through correspondence via the ICRC that was heavily monitored by the U.S. military. In those communications, Mr. Wazir was not permitted to discuss the details surrounding his initial seizure and continued detention, nor was he allowed access to any sort of attorney representation.
Detention at Bagram
Throughout the majority of his time at Bagram, Mr. Wazir was held at the Bagram Theater Internment Facility (BTIF). The conditions at the BTIF were reportedly squalid; detainees held there have been subjected to repeated physical and mental torture.
The U.S. Government never brought charges against Mr. Wazir, nor did it ever put forth any public evidence that Mr. Wazir had participated in hostilities against the U.S. or its allies. Instead, the U.S. Government’s sole claim as to why it detained Mr. Wazir for over seven yearsis that he was designated a so-called “unlawful enemy combatant.” Because Mr. Wazir was being held virtually incommunicado, his family authorized the International Justice Network (“IJN”) and affiliated counsel to undertake legal and advocacy work seeking Mr. Wazir’s release. In September 2006, IJN filed a petition for the writ of habeas corpus in the District of Columbia District Court (DC District Court) on behalf of Mr. Wazir. The writ of habeas corpus is a civil proceeding that asks the court to inquire into the legitimacy of the petitioner’s detention. The right to habeas corpus is enshrined in Article I of the U.S. Constitution.
In June 2009, the DC District Court judge dismissed Mr. Wazir's case, ruling that U.S. courts lacked jurisdiction over cases brought by Afghan citizens held at Bagram. However, this opinion was vacated following Mr. Wazir's release from Bagram and the dismissal of his case.
Release from Bagram
During the proceedings, the Attorney General of Afghanistan wrote a letter to the U.S. Government stating that Haji Wazir was completely innocent and should be released as soon as possible. The letter was signed by Afghan President Hamid Karzai and all fourteen members of the Afghan Government Prisoners’ Commission for Reintegration. The U.S. Government released Mr. Wazir from Bagram in February 2010.
Glenn Carle's 'The Interrogator: An Education'
While the appeal was pending before the US Court of Appeals in DC, Glenn Carle, the CIA interrogator who had been in charge of Mr. Wazir in secret prisons in Morocco and then Afghanistan, decided to write a book about his experiences. Mr. Carle's book would have been strong evidence of Mr. Wazir's innocence, but because the lower court's decision was based on jurisdiction and not the merits of the case, Mr. Wazir's guilt or innocence was irrelevant to the legal issues on appeal.
Though the CIA held up the publication of Mr. Carle's book for several years, now that Mr. Wazir has been released, they have allowed him to publish a heavily-redacted version of it. Mr. Carle is also not allowed to acknowledge that the person he describes in the book is Mr. Wazir -- but journalists and others have connected the dots.