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A cook’s Guantanamo nightmare
Ahmed Errachidi, nicknamed 'The General,' was falsely detained at Guantanamo for more than five years.
May 9th, 2013
09:53 AM ET

A cook’s Guantanamo nightmare

By Jim Roope, CNN

Follow on Twitter: @jimroopeCNN

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

(CNN) - The Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention facility has been troubled since it opened in 2002. Last week President Obama renewed his pledge to close it:

[0:19] “That is contrary to who we are. It is contrary to our interests and it’s gotta stop.”

One hundred Guantanamo detainees are currently on a hunger strike protesting conditions and their continued detention without trial. According to the Department of Defense, 24 of the hunger strikers are being force fed with three of those being watched at a hospital.

Here is one man’s story that underscores the problems with Guantanamo, the seemingly random rounding up of suspected terrorists:

[0:46] “I am not a terrorist. I am only a cook.”

Ahmed Errachidi, a Moroccan citizen, was trying to raise money in 2002  for a heart operation his young son needed.  His idea was to import jewelry from Pakistan, but he was kidnapped by Pakistanis, sold to the Americans for bounty and taken to Guantanamo.

He spent over five years in detention, before a lawyer was able to prove that Errachidi was only a cook and not a terrorist:

[01:25] “His is one of the most ludicrous cases," says attorney Clive Smith. "And there were quite a few ludicrous cases that I came across at Guantanamo, but his was one of the worst.”

Errachidi wrote a book about his years at Guantanamo titled, The General: The Ordinary Man Who Challenged Guantanamo.

Listen to our podcast to hear more of Errachidi's story.

Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher. And listen to CNN Soundwaves on our SoundCloud page.

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Filed under: Faith • History • International • Politics • Soundwaves • Stories
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Frank

    We just ought to put these GITMO detainees in our State systems.Let's see how they would like that.

    May 18, 2013 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  2. heywood

    Sorry, his story seems a little odd. It is nice to hear one side of the story, but how about the other. That would make it news worthy and let the readers form their own opinion. Odd that this guy would go into a Pakistan at that time for what he claimed. Any evidence to support him or should we blindly believe him?

    May 13, 2013 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • ex-gitmo guard

      I spent some time in Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention facility as a guard. its funny how everyone thinks that the detanees are treated so badly there. i wish everyone could see the real side or what goes on in the detention facility. maybe i should write a book on what it was really like there from the pov of a guard. this atrical makes me so mad because nobody know what the guards go throught on a daily basis.

      May 13, 2013 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Johnny

    Did his son live?

    May 10, 2013 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. efds

    immediatly arrest force feeders and charge with abuse. immediatly arrest force feeders and charge with abuse.
    illegal to arrest people for being suspect- suspect=thinking they might have done something.
    illegal to arrest people for being vaugly labled a terrorist- terrorist=someone who someone is terrified of or someone that trys to and succefully induces someone to be terrified. terror=fear, an invisable emotion only the indivdidual knows if they are expirenceing. instead specific actions words should be used to describe wrong-doings/crimes, (such as: murder, torture, mass murder...).
    if there isnt physcial evidence(words arnt evidence) agianst the detainee and shows a 99%+chance they commited a crime-immediatly realse them and arrest and charge their captors with kidnapping and the kidnapper owe the victim $65+/day compensation.
    if there is physcial evidence agianst a detainee that shows a 99%+chance they commited a crime, read them their maranda rights, put them into public jury trial, and charge them.

    "there may be..people that cant be procescuted for past crimes...because evidence may be tainted..but who..pose a threat to the security of the united states..alkida terrorists and their affliates are at war with the untied states and those who we capture like other prisoners of war must be kept from attacking us agian..our gov was defening positions that undermine the rule of law..to ensure..they are in line with the rule of law..my admininstation has begun to reshape the standards that apply to ensure..they are in line with the rule of law..for those who fall into this catagory..so that any prolonged detention..is justified..our goal is to constuct a..legal framework for the reamining guntanomo detainees that can not be transfered..when we determine that the united states must hold individuals to keep them from carrying out an act of war we will do so..my administration will..develope..a legal regeim..there are people plotting to take american lifes, that will be the case..probiblity 10years from now."~obama according to youtube video "obama explains the fema camps" watch it

    May 9, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. heywood

    You need to take your hood off and get some fresh air. Looks like the lights are on and nobodys home. Please seek help.

    May 13, 2013 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
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