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Kuwait’s Weak Position On Guantanamo Continues: Business as Usual

Guantanamo detainee Fayiz al-Kandari

Based on recent statements made by Kuwait Ambassador Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, it is clear that the Government of Kuwait is accepting of the US position that they can hold any Kuwaiti for however long and for any reason or for no reason at all.

On June 29, 2012, the United States dismissed allegations against my client, Fayiz Al Kandari, a Kuwaiti who has been imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for more than a decade without charge. That same day, Sheikh Salem was quoted boasting of his participation in high level negotiations for the return of Fayiz. This news should have been met with a solid diplomatic effort to demand the return of Fayiz. But instead, on June 30th, Sheikh Salem told the press that the dismissal was a mere technicality and that it in no way equated to a return of Fayiz to his father. He then concluded that Fayiz’s legal counsel in Kuwait and my fellow attorney in the case, Adel Abdul Hadi, was causing controversy and spreading false information in the media. Sheikh Salem, on behalf of myself and Fayiz, I am making a public plea to you to please use all your efforts and diplomatic influence to secure the release of the sons of Kuwait instead of focusing on attacking his legal defense team.

Why does the US continue to refuse to return Fayiz to his father? Why is the Government of Kuwait paralyzed to act? The United States would never allow Kuwait to imprison Americans for 10 years, brutalize them, and keep them in cages in an island prison, based upon no evidence. We find ourselves in this position, ten years later, because of weak diplomacy and a complete lack of demand with consequence.

Kuwait has taken the most dangerous position of all. With the exception of the 2012 Parliament, whose efforts were sincere, the Government of Kuwait is accepting of the US position that they can imprison Kuwait citizens for no reason. The dismissal of allegations is tantamount to an acknowledgement by the United States that its decade long justification to hold Fayiz without trial was erroneous. Yet, the Kuwait Government seeks a position of submission. The recent statements of Sheikh Salem reveal that when given the option of the moral high ground, the Government of Kuwait will choose the flag of surrender.

The views expressed in the foregoing document do not necessarily represent the views of the United States Government or the Department of Defense. The author, Lt Col Barry Wingard, has been Fayiz Al Kandari’s Attorney since 2008 and continues to meet with Fayiz monthly.