By Del Quentin Wilber

April 9, 2009


The father of a detainee at a U.S. military prison in Afghanistan sent a letter (PDF) this week to President Obama pleading for his son's release, writing that "my heart aches when I consider the terrible and degrading treatment he has been forced to endure."

The letter comes a week after a federal judge ruled that the man, Amin al-Bakri, may challenge his detention in a federal lawsuit. Bakri, 39, is a Yemeni who was captured by U.S. authorities in Thailand in 2002, his lawyers say. He is being held at the U.S. military prison at Bagram air base....

In his letter to Obama, Mohammed al-Bakri wrote that his son was on a business trip to Thailand as a gem trader when he was "abducted." Al-Bakri has three children, and the family only learned he had been detained by the Americans six months after his capture, Mohammed al-Bakri wrote.

"The American government never charged Amin with any crime nor have they offered my family or the Government of Yemen any explanation for why they continue to hold him," the father wrote. "What I know is that Amin has never been involved in any fighting or plotting against the United States or its allies."

"President Obama, I entreat you," he added. "Please release my son and end our family's pain."

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