I was taken to a prison in Peshawar after my arrest and I stayed there for 11 days before being transferred to a high military base in Bagram. There I stayed for two months after which I was taken to Guantanamo: that was on the 5th of August 2002. I was detained for three years in Guantanamo, before my release and return to the Sudan in July the 2oth 2005
Am Hamad Ali Amno Jadalla, my family hails from South Kordufan State, Dilling Locality, Al-Nitil village in the rural area of Solara. Myself I was born in Juba, capital of Southern Sudan. I was raised in Al-Managil locality, Gezira State of Central Sudan. I completed my primary and secondary education at Um Sinaita village, rural area of Al-Managil locality, and the high secondary school at Arba'waishrain Al-Qurashi and Al-Managil High Secondary Schools. I then joined the University of Khartoum, Faculty of Administrative Science, Business Administration Department. I graduated in 1995. Immediately after graduation I joined the central Bank of Sudan here I worked from 1997 to 2001. I then traveled to Pakistan to work for a charity organization there. It is the Islamic Heritage Revival Society, a Kuwaiti Society with a branch in Peshawar Pakistan.
Former Guantanamo detainee Hamad Ali Amno Jadalla
and his youngest child: family matters most
It started with me taking my annual leave from the Bank of Sudan I went to Peshawar in January 2001 and worked for the society until May 2002. During All this time I had been working for the society which was involved in many charitable and humanitarian activities including taking care of orphans. The society provided full care for over 2800 orphans including securing their food, providing shelter and accommodation. It also established mosques, drills wells and provided assistance for poor people and people affected by disasters. I had been working for this society until the day I was arrested on 27/5/2002.
I was taken to a prison in Peshawar after my arrest and I stayed there for 11 days before being transferred to a high military base in Bagram. There I stayed for two months after which I was taken to Guantanamo: that was on the 5th of August 2002. I was detained for three years in Guantanamo, before my release and return to the Sudan in July the 2oth 2005.
During All this period they kept us under investigation, time and again, all focusing on my work with the Islamic Heritage Revival Society. The U.S Administration then, under George W Bush, believed that charitable organizations were branches for al-Qaeda. It maintained that these organizations were being used as a cover; therefore the administration tightened restrictions over the Islamic charitable organizations operating in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The investigation during my detention centered on this issue: on how the money is brought and spent. I was subjected to more that fifty sessions of interrogations during my presence in Guantanamo but they did not find any thing against me and I was released on 20/7/2005 and returned to Sudan. Since then I have resumed my normal family and daily life anew.
I got married in 2001 but I did not take my small family with me to Pakistan. Strangely, in December 2001 I came to Sudan on my annual vacation and I was planning to take my family with me but because of the war which broke out in Afghanistan I left them behind and returned to Pakistan alone in February 2002. Three months later I was arrested in Peshawar.
Thanks to Allah, the God Almighty, I have three kids, two daughters and a son. Their names are Duwa', Ala' and Ali. Duwa' was born when I was in Pakistan before I was arrested. She was born on May 2001 and when I returned to Sudan she was about seven months old. I stayed with her for only two months and then returned to Peshawar where I was arrested and never saw her again until some four years later. My wife is my cousin, and whether my small or big family, they have suffered a lot while I was absent, in particular my big family where my elder brother Bashir went to Libya since 1975 and never returned until now so my loss was the second loss for the family.
We as detainees, there is no doubt have suffered but my small family, that is my wife and children suffered most. My daughter was only 9 months old when I was arrested. My mother died and my father was working for the police and he died two months ago in a car accident. However, my father and family suffered a lot from this dilemma particularly that my father was a retired policeman. My mother died earlier that is in 1982.
I have brothers and step brothers who are all younger than me and they have also suffered a lot when I was away. However, they are now fine. Some of them graduated at the university where my sister Seham is now a teacher at Al-Managil locality. There are also my brothers Jadalla and Subahi who have joined the military in Al-Managil locality. There is my sister Amal who graduated at the university and my sister Jehan who is still a student at the university besides Najwan and Nisaiba who are still at the basic level school. My brothers and sisters have suffered a lot when I was away from them in Pakistan and then their suffering aggravated when I was arrested and moved to Guantanamo.
When this Guantanamo was ever mentioned, people thought those who were there would never come back again
You see when this Guantanamo was ever mentioned, people thought those who were there would never come back again and therefore members of my family suffered hard psychological pressures. Even the Eids for them was like funerals because they remembered Bashir and me who were away. The whole extended family was aware that one of its members was arrested in a bad prison and that it was not known when that member would come back and therefore their suffering doubled, as they knew and were sure that I was innocent. My being in prison really caused them great worry. My small family was no difference, for I went taken in captivity my wife entered a new life of suffering. Her husband was in detention in prison, the little child repeatedly asked her about her father's whereabouts and she had no answers and at the same time could not tell the child that her father was in prison. She was really suffering.
The impact of my absence is still there, financially and psychologically
Presently I'm fine and my life is fine, thanks to Allah, the God Almighty, for the Sudanese community is a community of Takaful (solidarity) by nature. It is true that absence of a family member could constitute a vacuum, but because of the strong bond that links the community members, people support one another and that is exactly what happened until I returned.
The impact of my absence is still there, financially and psychologically. My brother Subahi, for instance, left the school and joined the police while my sister Amal froze her university study for two years because I used to pay her university fees. However, she graduated at Al-Quran University, Faculty of Accounting, two years behind her colleagues. My arrest coincided with retirement of our father, little money for the family, thus sister had no option but to take that move.
At present, thanks to Allah, the God Almighty, I joined a Student Service Center in Al-Suk Al Araby in central Khartoum. I have worked at the center for three years. I had to work because I'm responsible for both my small and big families. After that I worked for a company, but even the company ceased to operate and we have been in an open leave for three months now.
I wish I could get back my job at the Bank of Sudan but that has not happened yet.
As for Juba, I have never visited it since my return despite the fact that it is my birthplace. I was born in Juba and I hope I will visit it soon.
As for the Nuba Mountains area, I have been there twice since my return. I went to seem my father who was there. I also visited Kadugli this year.
My family is presently settled and after my father's death, I became the sponsor of my small and big families because I'm the eldest son.
I have not been to Gezira for almost three years as I do not have enough money. I and my wife live in Abu Siid in Khartoum at a rent house, matter which adds to our burdens.
During Eids and other social occasions, I contact members of my extended family by phone.
Presently I'm doing post-graduate studies to get an MA degree in banking studies at Sudan University. My thesis title is "The Global Financial Crisis and its Effect on the Islamic Banks". I expect to get done with my MA during the coming month.
Coincidently, there are two occasions ahead of us, (interview conducted shortly before the End of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan) Eid Al-Fitr and the anniversary of the September 11th incidents. Eid Al-Fitr is a happy occasion for the Muslims, but the September 11th anniversary will be painful for the American people. The matter will be difficult for the American Muslims because they will be celebrating the Eid Al-Fitr and others will be commemorating the September 11th incidents. However, I must say that it has been 9 years since we were in Guantanamo prison. We expected good with the coming of the U.S President Obama as he is a lawyer and aware of the law. We hope that Guantanamo would be closed as he promised in his electoral programme. However, the American pressure groups are still strongly performing pushing against this trend, the reason why the prison has not yet been closed.
We are asking Allah, the God Almighty, in this Holly month of Ramadan that our brothers held in Guantanamo would be released and return to their homes and families and that the prison would be closed.
Through Sudanow, I would like congratulate the Sudanese people on the occasion of Eid Al-Fitr in the coming days. My message for the Sudanese people during this month is that they are not to forget their brothers who are still held in Guantanamo and to pray for Allah, the God Almighty, so that they would be released.
There are presently over 800 prisoners from 46 countries in Guantanamo, three of them were Sudanese. Most of the detainees who are present lay in Guantanamo are from Yemen. Despite the difference in their countries, languages and colors, yet they had one bond which is Islam. The Islamic bond which linked them is a strong and therefore there was cooperation among them in all fields. I got to know a lot of them and learned much about their traditions and also their languages. Though it was a painful experience, still, we believe it was also good because we have met brothers from different nations and countries that we could never heard of them
I joined the national service camp for university graduates at El-Gitaina in 1990. We were trained on arms for national service purposes. However, while outside Sudan, I have never carried arms. I traveled abroad carrying a pen and not a gun, but the Pakistani government arrested me and handed me over to the Americans. I think the Pakistani government was looking for a scapegoat because in the last day, when they wanted to transport and hand us to the Americans, the intelligence officer in charge in Peshawar came to visit the detainees in the prison. I and an Algerian detainee were in the same cell and the Pakistani officer apologized to us and said to me (I know very well that you have nothing to do with this matter but there are pressures from America, Israel and India. We are also targeted in our nuclear programme and therefore we must present a sacrifice and you are the sacrifice). He then said to me (do not pray to Allah to punish me).
Unfortunately he lied to us when he told us that we were going to Islamabad to stay for a week or two to be investigated with by the American intelligence and them we would go home. Of course I believed him because I was sure I was innocent. But in the evening we were put in a plane and transported to the military base in Bigram, the American administration has rewarded the Pakistani for what they have done by paying US$5000 -five thousand Dollars- per head!!, matter which encouraged the people to report on any foreigner, particularly from the Arab countries, the moment they see one, saying that persons belonged to Al-Qaeda.
In the meantime, and as I expected, the Sudanese government and the Sudanese people did not let us down. For when the Sudanese government delegation arrived in Guantanamo, though they were a little late compared to the other countries which used to threaten their nationals when they return, they met us in a very good way.
Therefore, I was not surprised by the good treatment which we received from the government upon our return. This was unlike the other countries which mistreated and put to trial and sentenced to prison terms for more than seven years their nationals after they returned from Guantanamo.
The Sudanese government, in contrast, welcomed us, understood our position and treated us extremely well and presently we are living in our country Sudan without any harassment.
I further would like to thank the government for what is has done and what it is still doing, despite the fact that it is facing the Darfur and South Sudan problems and others. We pray to Allah, the God Almighty, that government would succeed in doing whatever is good for the people.
In conclusion, I would like to thank Sudanow for this interview and I wish them all success and progress.
Photos by Mahjoub mohamed al Hassan