The Human-Rights Case for Gitmo

by David Pryce-Jones

The story of Said al-Shehri has a lot to teach. A Saudi national, he was with Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. In December 2001 he was captured in the mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Then he spent six years in detention at Guantanamo. On the basis that he would be re-educated to lose his ideology and become a normal human being, the Saudis obtained his return to his own country. After a short period, he was considered clean. It is not too difficult to work out that either he was lying and deceived the Saudi authorities, or that they were lying and deceived the United States about his re-education, or most probably that all concerned were lying in concert. Released, by 2009 he had rejoined al-Qaeda, becoming deputy head of the branch in Yemen. Several specific murders were planned by this powerful and conscienceless thug, and he is reliably held to have blood on his hands.

 A CIA drone has taken him out. There have been previous false reports of his death but this time al-Qaeda confirms it. 40 years old, he would have had many more years of murdering to look forward to. The human-rights crowd are always looking to close Guantanamo. Some questions for them: Would it not have been better to keep this man in detention there, and so save the lives of his victims and his life too, and finally not to have to use a drone?

David Calling

The David Pryce-Jones blog.