Dialog International and The Atlantic Review are urging our readers to take action in the case of Murat Kurnaz, the young man from Bremen who has been in the custody of the US military since late 2001, and has been at the US prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba since January of 2002. I have written about the case of Murat Kurnaz before: he is a devout Muslim who was visiting some religious Madrasses in Pakistan when he was detained, but there is no evidence that Murat was involved in any kind of terrorist activity. Amnesty International has some good information about Murat Kurnaz, including the dispute concerning his citizenship:
The US authorities say that the status of detainees in Guantánamo Bay is a matter for bilateral diplomacy between them and the government of the detainee. The German Foreign Minister, however, informed the Kurnaz family by letter that there was no possibility of Germany making diplomatic representations on behalf of Murat Kurnaz. The Turkish government originally viewed Murat Kurnaz as "German-Turkish". Only after intense lobbying by Rabiye Kurnaz did the Turkish authorities come to accept him as their responsibility. Despite this recognition, the Turkish government has shown little interest in pressuring the US government over Murat Kurnaz’ case.
In August 2004 Thomas Röwekamp, the Senator for Interior Affairs in Bremen, declared that Murat Kurnaz’ indefinite residence visa had lapsed because he had been out of Germany for over six months and had not reapplied. The Senator stated that "if [Murat Kurnaz] were to arrive now at a German airport with his pass-port… he wouldn’t be allowed to enter the country".
Murat Kurnaz is a man without a country, so he is in need of our support - no nation will agree to represent his interests. A good chronicle of Murat's imprisonment and alleged incidents of torture can be found here.
We are urging everyone to take action to demand the release of Murat Kurnaz. German readers should call US Ambassador William R. TImken in Berlin Tel: (030) 8305-0) and ask why Murat Kurnaz has been denied due process and why he has been tortured. Or please contact the nearest US Consulate in Germany and demand answers. An e-mail to Thomas Röwekamp should also be sent to inquire why Murat can no longer return to Germany - the place of his birth - even though he has never been charged with a crime:
Herrn Thomas Röwekamp
Der Senator für Inneres und Sport
28203 Bremen, Germany
Fax: +49 42-1361-9019
I am urging all US readers to write their congressional representatives to urge action in the case of Murat Kurnaz, and to speak out about the instances of torture and abuse that have been reported at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and elsewhere.
Here is my e-mail to Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) who is the chairperson of the senate Homeland Security Committee and who serves on the Armed Services Committee: