WORLD NEWS TOMORROW – A former Maryland resident who is detained at Guantanamo Bay seems to have acquired a cat at the isolated prison on a US base in Cuba, a fellow prisoner says in a newly released letter. Majid Khan has not been seen in public since he pleaded guilty in February to aiding al-Qaeda in a deal that requires him to testify against others at Guantanamo.
Details of his confinement are shrouded in secrecy as he is one of about a dozen men the Pentagon calls “high-value detainees,” who are kept apart from others.The letter from prisoner Rahim al-Afghani has one intriguing bit of information and little else: “Majid Khan has a cat,” he writes to his lawyer, Carlos Warner, a federal public defender in Cleveland, Ohio.
Warner, who released the letter after it had undergone a required government security review, said he suspects Khan may have gotten a pet as a reward for agreeing to cooperate.He can’t disclose anything else the prisoner has said about this or any other subject because al-Afghani is also a high-value detainee and everything he says, even to his lawyer, is considered classified.
“I can’t confirm or deny whether he wants an adorable kitten,” Warner said in a phone interview.Khan’s lawyer, Wells Dixon, declined comment and a Pentagon spokesman, Army Lt Col Joseph Todd Breasseale, said he is prohibited from discussing any details about Khan’s confinement.
Prisoners are not allowed to have pets but Breasseale said there are stray cats, as well as banana rats and iguanas, that roam the base and prisoners have been known to feed them, though prison officials discourage the practice.”It’s possible he’s befriended one,” the spokesman said.
Khan moved with his family from Pakistan to the US in 1996 and graduated from a high school in suburban Baltimore.He returned to his native country in 2002 and authorities say began plotting attacks with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who has been charged with four other Guantanamo prisoners with orchestrating and aiding the September 11 attacks.
The 32-year-old Khan is expected to provide assistance to prosecutors in that case and perhaps even testify in the September 11 trial.A pretrial hearing is scheduled to be held at Guantanamo next week. The trial is likely at least a year off.