First of Nine Scheduled PRB Hearings in May
This morning the Periodic Review Board (PRB) held a hearing for Karim Bostan (ISN 975). Bostan, originally from Afghanistan, has been held at the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba since March 2003.
According to Bostan’s personal representatives, Bostan is gracious, respectful, and a loving father and grandfather whose only desire is to return home to his family in Afghanistan. They said he would be open to being released to another country, but Afghanistan would be preferable so that he can meet his grandchildren and return to his wedding rental store that his son-in-law is currently managing.
Paul Rashkind, Bostan’s private counsel, was unable to attend the PRB. Rashkind is an assistant federal public defender in the Southern District of Florida. According to PRB governing rules, personal counsel must serve “at no expense to the US Government.” Rashkind’s travel to Guantanamo would necessarily present a cost to the United States government. He did, however, submit a statement to the board for consideration on Bostan’s behalf.
Rashkind reiterated the points from Bostan’s personal representatives, and further stated that Bostan regrets the turmoil that caused his detention, and seeks only to return to a quiet life with his family.
The U.S. government offered a slightly different perspective. According to their profile on Bostan, he “was probably the leader of an al-Qa’ida-associated improvised explosive device (IED) cell that targeted Coalition Forces in Khowst, Afghanistan…probably planned, directed, or conducted multiple attacks against Coalition Forces…probably an al-Qa’ida member who took orders from al-Qa’ida leaders in Pakistan.”
The profile goes on to note that Bostan has consistently denied any involvement with terrorist activities during his detention at Guantanamo. He was also very cooperative with interrogators up until November 2012. He likely stopped cooperating due to his frustrations with his continued detention. The information he did provide to interrogators was not deemed to be valuable, and government officials maintain that they have little insight as to his current mindset.
There is a concern that if released, Bostan would engage in terrorist activities, given that members of his alleged cell, who were also former Guantanamo detainees, have engaged since their releases. One of these individuals is also his nephew, which is thought to increase the likelihood of his engagement.
Today, 80 detainees remain at Guantanamo, with 37 eligible for PRB hearings and seven waiting on decisions. There are eight additional PRB hearings scheduled for the remainder of this month. In President Obama’s recently released plan to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, the administration said it plans to complete all PRBs by this coming fall.