Yassin Kadi’s ordeal at the hands of the U.S. security services is Kafka incarnate

Giles Fraser writes: As I am walking out of Temple tube station, past a row of young men in uniform selling poppies – men who look as if they have seen too much bloodshed in places like Afghanistan – I can’t help but speculate to myself about the identity of the person I am about to meet.

Will he really be what he claims to be – an innocent victim of post 9/11 panic? Or is he a “specially designated global terrorist”, previously connected to Osama Bin Laden and a financier of international terrorism, as US law continues to maintain? It feels odd to be meeting him in central London.

And yet, except in the very vaguest of terms, no one has ever told Sheikh Yassin Abdullah Kadi what he is supposed to have done. The US evidence against the Saudi Arabian former architect is classified. His lawyers cannot see it. He cannot see it. And so, for 11 years, Sheikh Kadi has been fighting an invisible charge.

When Franz Kafka wrote The Trial back in 1914/5, he thought his story far-fetched, more an existentialist dystopia than a prophecy of future events. Joseph K is arrested on an unknown charge and brought before a secret court where the charge is never explained. But a century later, this doesn’t feel at all far-fetched. [Continue reading…]

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