A case of mistaken identity resulted in Omar Deghayes being held in Guantanamo for almost 6 years, where he was brutally tortured despite not being charged with a crime.
“Omar Deghayes (born November 28, 1969) is a Libyan citizen who had legal residency status with surviving members of his family in the United Kingdom since childhood. He was arrested in Pakistan in 2002. He was held by the United States as an enemy combatant at Guantanamo Bay detention camp from 2002 until December 18, 2007. He was released without charges and returned to Britain, where he lives. His Guantanamo Internment Serial Number was 727. Deghayes says he was blinded permanently in one eye, after a guard at Guantanamo gouged his eyes with his fingers. Deghayes was never charged with any crime at Guantanamo.
When Omar was a child, his father, a prominent attorney and union organiser, was arrested and executed by Muammar Gaddafi’s government in Libya. His mother took him and his siblings to the United Kingdom, where they had often visited for extended stays, and gained asylum as refugees. They lived in Brighton. According to the Birmingham Post, Deghayes was a “”laws graduate””; he studied law at the University of Wolverhampton and later studied in Huddersfield.
During Deghaye’s detention at Guantanamo, his family in Great Britain mounted a campaign to free him, which received the support of the Brighton Argus newspaper and all six Members of Parliament in Sussex, where Omar Deghayes had resided for many years. This is where his family still lives.
In 2006, the British High Court considered whether the United Kingdom government should petition the United States government on behalf of Guantánamo detainees who had legal British residency status. (It had already petitioned on behalf of British citizens.) The High Court concluded that it did not have the authority to make recommendation in the area of foreign affairs, but said that the evidence that the British residents were being tortured was “”powerful””.
In August 2007, the British government under Gordon Brown requested Deghaye’s release. He was released on 18 December 2007 and returned to Britain. Deghaye and another former detainee were arrested under a Spanish warrant on allegations of al-Qaeda involvement in 2003; he was released on bail while his case is considered.”