Social Site Helps GITMO Guard Reunite With Freed Inmates So He Can Apologize

January 12, 2010 BBC World New to Facebook, Brandon Neely was searching the site for acquaintances in 2008 when he typed in the names of some of the

January 12, 2010 BBC World

New to Facebook, Brandon Neely was searching the site for acquaintances in 2008 when he typed in the names of some of the detainees he had guarded during his tenure as a prison guard at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Neely, an army veteran who spent six months at the prison in 2002, sent messages to one of the freed men, Shafiq Rasul, and was astonished when Rasul replied. Their exchanges sparked a face-to-face meeting, arranged by the BBC.

Neely, who has served as the president of the Houston chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War, says his time at Guantanamo now haunts him, and has granted confessional-style interviews about the abuses he says he witnessed there. In a message to Rasul, Neely apologized for his role in the imprisonment.

Gavin Lee, a BBC correspondent, learned about the Facebook messages from Rasul, who lives in Britain. Lee tracked down Neely — on Facebook — and asked, “would you consider meeting face to face?”

“He thought about it and he said, ‘I would love to,’ ” Lee recalled last week.

The BBC paid for Neely’s flight to London last month, where a camera crew filmed him meeting Rasul and a second ex- detainee, Ruhal Ahmed. From India Times

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