Mentally ill detainee's location unclear

Sept. 26, 2011 at 3:51 PM
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OTTAWA, Sept. 26 (UPI) -- The whereabouts of a mentally ill Canadian-Egyptian engineer held in a U.S. prison in Afghanistan for months is unclear, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. says.

The Canadian news network said Monday U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks revealed Khaled Samy Abdallah Ismail was taken into custody in April 2006 and held at the Bagram Theater Internment Facility, where he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, until at least October 2007. He was often segregated from other detainees despite "largely circumstantial" evidence against him, the CBC said the documents indicate.

After October 2007, exactly what happened to Ismail becomes murky, the CBC said.

Ismail apparently had wound up in Afghanistan years after becoming disenchanted with his job in Ontario, where he had moved from Egypt in 1995.

A source told the network Ismail had been taken into custody after being spotted "acting suspicious" outside the Kandahar governor's compound. He was found with a bag of electronic wires and components, the source said.

The U.S. diplomatic cables showed U.S. authorities confiscated his Canadian passport and an expired Egyptian passport and labeled him a "low-level, low-threat enemy combatant." Eventually, he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

U.S. military officials apparently considered sending him to Egypt or Canada.

A Foreign Affairs representative told the CBC Canada helped transfer a Canadian individual from the Bagram facility to Canada. However, that official wouldn't confirm or deny it was Ismail and the U.S. State and Defense departments refused comment, the CBC said.

The network said it couldn't track down Ismail.

Dr. Ghairat Baheer, who met Ismail during his four years in the Bagram detention center said he "was not captured as a fighter or a warrior" and "was there for no reason." He wonders what happened to his fellow detainee.

"I'm asking you, what happened to him actually?" asked Baheer. "I'm concerned about him."

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