Guantánamo ex-detainee Murat Kurnaz visits Belfast
Former Guantánamo detainee Murat Kurnaz launches his powerful book 'Five Years of My Life: an Innocent Man in Guantánamo' at an Amnesty International event in the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival, Thursday May 8th, 6.30pm, Black Box Café, Hill St, Belfast.
Readings from the book will be followed by a question and answer session chaired by Amnesty International programme director, Patrick Corrigan.
Patrick Corrigan says:
"Murat Kurnaz has a powerful story to tell: illegal detention, prisoner abuse, solitary confinement in Guantánamo Bay. His personal story is the story of the so-called "war on terror" of the last seven years. It is one of the compelling stories of our time."
Murat Kurnaz was born in Bremen, Germany, in 1982, into a family of Turkish immigrants. He went to school in Bremen. He was interested in sports, played keyboard and guitar in a band with friends, attended the local mosque and became an apprentice shipbuilder.
After his marriage in 2001, Murat Kurnaz became an increasingly devout Muslim. Less than a month after the 11 September 2001 attacks in the USA, he went to Pakistan, telling his mother he wanted to "see and live the Qur'an".
He was arrested in Pakistan in mid-November 2001 and transferred to US custody in Kandahar, Afghanistan. In January 2002 he was flown to Guantánamo Bay, where he remained for almost five years. He says that during his imprisonment he suffered solitary confinement, sleep deprivation, physical abuse, and sexual humiliation.
Murat Kurnaz was released from Guantánamo in August 2006 and is now back with his family in his home town of Bremen. The German authorities have dropped investigations into his case, for lack of evidence that he had any connection to terrorist organisations.