An extraordinary report from the United Nations says the detention of the first forever-prisoner the U.S. tortured after 9/11 and then threw into Gitmo amounts to an “enforced disappearance.”

By Spencer Ackerman, Forever Wars

A United Nations panel has concluded the 21-year U.S. detention of Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn, the forever prisoner known as Abu Zubaydah, is “without legal basis,” and says Washington must both free and compensate the first person the CIA tortured after 9/11.

Abu Zubaydah at Guantanamo

“The Working Group considers that, taking into account all the circumstances of the case, the appropriate remedy would be to release Mr. Zubaydah immediately and accord him an enforceable right to compensation and other reparations, in accordance with international law,” concluded the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, according to a draft report obtained by FOREVER WARS and dated March 30.

These are some of the most strident acknowledgements of U.S. lawlessness during the War on Terror yet reached by an international body. The U.N. Working Group found that Abu Zubaydah’s “detention in essentially incommunicado conditions amounts to an enforced disappearance, at least during the period that he was deprived of a meaningful opportunity to communicate with his family and/or the outside world.”

The report, released today by the U.N., determined that the culpability for Abu Zubaydah’s mistreatment lies not only with the U.S., but also with partner nations in the War on Terror including Thailand, Poland, Lithuania, Morocco and Afghanistan. (I’m curious to see how—and whether—the Taliban will address inheriting institutional responsibility for the torture of Abu Zubaydah from the U.S.-backed government it overthrew.) Perhaps most notable among them is the U.K., which unlike Poland or Lithuania has not previously been assessed as complicit in Abu Zubaydah’s case by an international body. The Working Group found that the December 2002 CIA rendition flight taking Abu Zubaydah from Thailand to Poland refueled in London, and it references a parlaimentary finding that the U.K. intelligence provided questions to the CIA for Abu Zubaydah’s interrogation.

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