Abd al Malik, 41, a Yemeni, was sent to resettle in a peaceful nation, Montenegro. He received a government stipend for a time after his release in 2016, but that ran out. He tried to raise funds by selling artwork he made at Guantánamo, but made his last sale last year. An ambition to work as a driver and guide there never materialized as the tourism-dependent economy tanked. And now he, his wife and 20-year-old daughter are isolated and mostly at home because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I don’t know what I can do, especially now with corona,” he said recently. “No work. Nothing.”
Four of those first 20 men, all released by the Bush administration, could not be found.
Gholam Ruhani, 46, and the brother-in-law of one of the Taliban’s negotiators, was returned home to Afghanistan in 2007, and that was the last his lawyer ever heard of him.
Feroz Abassi was sent home to Britain in 2005, Omar Rajab Amin to Kuwait in 2006 and David Hicks to Australia in 2007. All have intentionally dropped out of sight.
Mr. Hicks, 45, an Australian drifter and convert to Islam, was captured in Afghanistan in 2001. The only other of the original 20 to face charges beyond Mr. Bahlul, he went home after pleading guilty to providing material support for terrorism for serving as a Taliban foot soldier, a conviction that was overturned.
Ben Saul, a law school professor in Sydney, Australia, who in 2016 helped Mr. Hicks on a human rights case, said the last he heard, Mr. Hicks was “working in landscape gardening, and had ongoing physical and mental health issues as a result of his treatment by the U.S. before and at Gitmo.”
His last known public sighting was in 2017 entering a courthouse in Adelaide on a domestic violence charge, which was subsequently withdrawn.