The U.S. military’s Guantánamo Bay detention center is continuously rewarding an al-Qaeda jihadist-turned-prosecution witness with a “comfortable cabin-style” life of luxury that allows him to garden, paint, exercise, learn English on a personal laptop, cook meals, and even watch American sitcoms, reports the Miami Herald.
Ahmed al Darbi, 42, told the Herald that he evolved from being “a lying, feces-flinging prisoner with a bad behavior record in the maximum-security” segment of the detention center to a “cooperating witness now cloistered in Camp Echo, an annex of the prison compound across the street.”
The Miami Herald article came soon after U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order on January 30 to keep the prison open and use it to house newly captured terrorists, which he vowed to do when campaigning for the presidency post.
According to the newly signed executive order, “The United States may transport additional detainees to U.S. Naval Station Guantánamo Bay when lawful and necessary to protect the Nation.”
Referring to the U.S. military rewarding the al-Qaeda terrorist for snitching, the Miami Herald reports:
Darbi has his own kitchen with a freezer stocked with meat and spices, and other never-before-disclosed perks to pass his time preparing to testify as a witness for the war court prosecutor in two cases, one that seeks the death-penalty.
The prison provides him with lamb, rabbit, chicken, shrimp and other halal meat … Darbi has a plethora of quality-of-life accommodations provided by the prison, interrogators or the prosecution. Cilantro, cumin and cloves to cook with using a hotplate, blender, and microwave in his kitchen; treats like Strawberries n’ Creme Oreos, baklava, Turkish delight, and a pecan pie; a garden where he said he was growing what sounded like the ingredients for ratatouille—eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini and green pepper. Papaya too, he noted.
Snitching also earned the al-Qaeda jihadi “a personal laptop computer equipped with Rosetta Stone software to learn English; oil paints, canvas and special brushes; a PlayStation 3 and, by request, some interrogators rented for him old episodes of the situation comedy ‘Arrested Development,’ now available on Netflix,'” reveals the Herald.
Darbi pleaded guilty to playing a role in the 2002 al-Qaeda attack on a French oil tanker in Yemeni waters that killed at least one person.
In 2017, he testified against the alleged mastermind of the attack, Abd al Rahim al Nashiri.
The Guantánamo facility, also known as Gitmo, still houses 41 detainees, including 26 who the U.S. government has deemed “forever prisoners,” or too dangerous to release, and five approved for transfer by American officials.
Former President Barack Obama failed to keep his promise to shut down Gitmo.
Although Obama managed to reduce the prison population from 242 prisoners held at the time he took office in 2009 to 41 now, his Republican predecessor ended up releasing many more detainees during his tenure—500-plus.
As part of a plea agreement reached during Obama’s time in office, American authorities are expected to release Darbi on February 20 to a Saudi rehabilitation program if diplomats and U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis approve the deal.
Late last year, the Trump administration indicated that the commander-in-chief will make decisions on whether to release detainees still held at Gitmo “on a case-by-case basis.”