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And, yes, I DO take it personally: This abuse of human rights is almost as bad as torture
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Saturday, October 10, 2009

This abuse of human rights is almost as bad as torture

what the HELL do we think we're doing, luring these poor souls out of their homeland on false pretenses and then telling them, essentially, tough shit... what the hell kind of country am i living in...?

from the wapo

For Ziaulhaq, an Afghan driver who had never ventured outside the borders of his war-torn country, the prospect of a trip to the United States seemed like the adventure of a lifetime. He pleaded with his bosses at a contracting company near the U.S. air base at Bagram to include him on the whirlwind trip to Columbus, Ohio.

But the all-expenses-paid travel -- billed as a conference to honor Afghan businesses -- turned out to be an elaborate ruse to draw Ziaulhaq and two co-workers to the United States. Prosecutors wanted them here as witnesses in a bribery case against U.S. servicemen and some Afghan contractors.

And what began as a celebration in the summer of 2008 has become an agonizing extended stay for Ziaulhaq, who is not accused of any crime but has been forced to stay thousands of miles away from his sick wife and six children at home. Ziaulhaq and two countrymen have spent more than a year confined to a hotel in a drab industrial area near Chicago's sooty Midway Airport.


Authorities say they want Ziaulhaq's testimony in their prosecution of a bribery scheme at Bagram, an Air Force base 27 miles north of Kabul, in which servicemen accepted kickbacks from Afghan contractors. The servicemen, according to prosecutors, packed the cash in boxes that they sent home by way of the U.S. Postal Service.


Justice Department officials declined to comment on the bribery case, but they noted that the lengthy detention was approved by a federal judge.


Ziaulhaq and his confederates -- Bashir Ahmad, 30, and Kiomars Mohammad Rafi, 27 -- had been employees of companies that provided concrete security barricades and other materials to the U.S. military at Bagram. Now they spend their days attending prayer services and cooking in their small kitchenette of their hotel, where monthly rates range from $2,000 to $3,000. The hotel sits next to a $3 carwash and across the street from an industrial strip occupied by discount-store distribution centers.

as a country, we've obviously decided to just kiss off any kind of decent treatment of fellow human beings... pat├ętico...

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