London – Six UK Members of Parliament, including representatives from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Closing the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility and former leader of the Green Party, Caroline Lucas MP, have issued a joint appeal to the Home Secretary, urging access to be granted to former Russian Guantanamo Bay prisoner Ravil Mingazov – who is currently imprisoned in the UAE without charge or trial – to reunite him with his son and family in the UK. Coinciding with these calls, CAGE is launching a campaign for the freedom of Ravil Mingazov.
The letter from the MP’s expresses concern regarding the UAE’s plan to repatriate Mr Mingazov to Russia, a move that raises alarm due to the potential risk of torture he might face there. This intention has been widely condemned by both the UN and activists alike.
Ravil Mingazov, who had been abducted in Pakistan in 2002, spent 15 years in Guantanamo Bay without charge or trial. He was finally released in January 2017, with the promise of starting anew in the UAE. However, upon his arrival, he was detained without any clear reason, subsequently subjected to additional mistreatment and confinement by the UAE authorities.
The case of Ravil Mingazov underlines significant failures in the US strategy for transferring prisoners from Guantanamo. While Mingazov’s case exemplifies some of the more egregious violations of agreements within the transfer arrangements involving former detainees, numerous other prisoners continue to grapple with formidable challenges, detentions and dire poverty.. The Biden administration’s appointment of seasoned diplomat Tina Kaidanow as the Senior Representative for Guantanamo Affairs signals a shift towards closing the facility. As part of this responsibility, addressing historical injustices becomes crucial,, including urgent intervention in the case of Ravil Mingazov.
Yusuf Mingazov, son of Ravil Mingazov, said:
“I don’t remember much about my father. But I mostly know about him from my mother, he would tell her how she should raise me. To teach me manners, help those in need, to give to others, those who are disabled and elderly to support them. She said he wouldn’t hurt a fly, if there were insects in our home he wouldn’t kill it but remove it, without harming it. He was a very gentle, kind and smart person.
I have heard the same good things about him from many people, beyond just my family, such as his friends in Russia also. When I began to speak to him through the Red Cross, I would find the same characteristics in him. In those conversations, he would try and teach me, almost as if to compensate for the things he missed in my childhood.”
Mansoor Adayfi, former Guantanamo Bay prisoner of 15 years and CAGE’s Guantnamo Project Coordinator said:
“I met Sa’eed (Ravil Mingazov) in Guantanamo Bay for the first time when we were protesting in 2003. He was a very polite and sensitive person. He joined us on the hunger strike actions we took to protest our detention. He was targeted by the guards because he tried to convince other brothers to join us.”
Anas Mustapha, Head of Public Advocacy at CAGE said:
“Ravil Mingazov was tortured and held without charge or trial by the US. He was misled when the US failed to guarantee his freedom upon his transfer to the UAE where he has been imprisoned since. His son has appealed to the Home Office in 2015 to bring his father home but was refused. MP’s are right to request he is granted access once again in the face of the imminent threat of torture facing Mr Mingazov.”
“The US State Department and Senior Representative of Guantanamo Affairs Tina Kaidanow must also right this wrong by ensuring that Ravil is released and reunited with his son in the UK.”
(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)