Monday, March 31, 2008

Beard Injustice

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You might recall I linked to a photo of this man a few weeks ago, mainly impressed by his incredible beard. His actual story is an outrage, though. Since he was just featured on 60 Minutes, I felt I owed it to him and to my readers to mention his tale. His name is Murat Kurnaz, a German citizen of Turkish origins, who was studying Islam in Pakistan when he was caught up in a sweep of "suspicious foreigners" and handed over to the Americans. He was flown to Afghanistan and says he was tortured there by American soldiers. (The Pentagon denies this, but won't comment on his case.) He was then taken to Guantanamo and essentially interrogated for five years. In the meantime, no evidence was ever found that he was involved in anything, and plenty of exculpatory evidence was also found. The German government (after their own police investigation of the man) asked that he be released, but it wasn't until after the election of Angela Merkel and a personal request by her that the U.S. gave him up--but not before trying to force him into signing a confession before he left. (He refused.)

And the beard? He didn't shave the entire time he was in Guantanamo.

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