A former civil servant, Belbacha fled his native Algeria after receiving death threats from the fundamentalist guerrillas of the Groupe Islamique Armée. He settled in England, where he worked as a cleaner. Belbacha once cleaned the rooms of Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott. He got a nice tip. But Belbacha’s asylum application was turned down and, fearing deportation, he left for Pakistan and then Afghanistan. When war hit, he was captured trying escape back into Pakistan.
Cleared for release since 2007, Belbacha was sentenced to a 20-year-prison sentence in Algeria, seemingly for talking slag about the regime. Unable to return home, and with no other countries willing to take him, Belbacha is trapped in Guantanamo. He has been hunger striking since February.
In October 2007, the United States declined Belbacha’s asylum request, sent from Guantanamo’s Camp Delta. The letter states that asylum requests must be filed on U.S. soil.
From an amazing article: The Faces of Guantanamo by Molly Crabapple
- Faces From Gitmo (creativetimereports.org)
- Guantanamo Bay Through The Eyes Of Artist Molly Crabapple (tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com)