Affidavit of Emina Planja
Affidavit of Emina Planja
I, Emina Planja, of 24 Butlska Street, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzogovina ("BiH"), depose and state as follows.
- I was born on January 19, 1979 in Rogatina, BiH. I am a citizen of BiH. I married Boudella Hadj on February 20, 1999 in Sarajevo. We have four children: Abdulrahman, born September 16, 1994, Aisa, born August 24, 1996, Sajmaa, born May 7, 1999, and Ali, born February 15, 2002. They are all citizens of BiH.
- My husband Hadj Boudella was born on April 18, 1965 in Laghouar, Algeria, and is an Algerian citizen. His parents are Omar and Aicha Boudella. He came to Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992 to work for the humanitarian organization El Ber. He served in the BiH Army during the civil war until 1993, when he was injured and returned to work for El Ber. He was granted Bosnian citizenship on January 2, 1995.
- Until the beginning of the civil war, in 1992, I lived with my parents in Rogatica where I went to elementary school. Due to the hostilities we had to leave Rogatica. We came to Zenica as displaces persons; I finished elementary school, but was not able to continue my education.
- Until coming to Bih, Hadj lived in Algeria, with his parents and his brother. Hadj also has three more brothers and one sister who live with their own families in Algeria. He was raised in an ordinary, religious family and worked as a professor of physics and chemistry in Algeria; he also qualified as an imam.
- In 1996, my husband started to work for the humanitarian aid organization Human Appeal, and we moved to Sarajevo. He worked as a social worker with war-orphaned children. He loved working with children; he is also a very affectionate and loving father to his own children and spent all his free time taking care of them.
- On October 21, 2001, upon receiving a call from the police, my husband went to the police station in Sarajevo. He then returned to our apartment with police officers, Stabilization Forces, and International Police Task Forces members. The police conducted a search of our home, but found no relevant evidence. My husband was arrested the same day, in connection with suspected terrorist activity. On January 17, 2002, the Bosnian Supreme Court ordered my husband's immediate release on the ground that there were no reasons upon which pre-trial detenntion could be ordered. Disregarding that decision, the Federation Police transferred my husband to United States custody at 6:00 a.m. on January 18, 2002.
- The expulsion of Hadj Boudella, a Bosnian citizen, was made possible by the fact that his Bosnian citizenship was revoked shortly after his arrest. The decision to revoke his citizenship was based only upon the charges alleged against him, and not on any determination of the merits of his case. My husband appealed the revocation, but was handed over to United States forces before the validity of the revocation proceeding was reviewed the Supreme Court annuled the revocation of my husband's citizenship and stated that my husband never lost his citizenship. Accordingly, at the time of his abduction, he was a citizen of BiH.
- On January 14, 2002, my husband lodged an application with the Human Rights Chamber for Bosnia and Herzegovina ("Chamber"). According to the decision of the Chamber, the respondent parties, BiH, and the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, violated my husband's rights not to be arbitrarily expelled, to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, and not to be subjected to the death penalty. The Chamber also ordered the respondent parties to take all necessary action to protect my husband's rights while in the custody of the United States and to pay compensation for non-pecuniary damages.
- A few days after his abduction, I learned from the International Committee of the Red Cross that my husband was being held at Guantanamo. I received the first official notice that he was in United States custody in March 2002 from the United States Embassy in Sarajevo. Since he has been at Guantanamo, my husband has written me more than twenty letters; they are all censored. Initially I received letters more frequently, since September 2003 they have become rare. The last letter was dated Octover 2003; I received it in May 2004. Based on the letters I have received from him, it appears that my husband is not receiving all the letters I am writing to him. In his letters, he asked me to write to him in Arabic since there apparently are not enough Bosnian interpreters.
- Since my husband was taken into custody, I have worked very hard on his behalf. My activities for my husband's release include regular contacts with BiH government and international organizations, especially human rights organizations.
- My family's financial situation has been very difficult since my husband was taken to Guantanamo. My husband used to provide financial support for my children and me. I live now with my parents; I am unemployed and my family is supporting my children and I. My youngest daughter was born with a heart ailment and needs special care; my youngest son is now two and one half years old and has never seen his father. The elder children know where their father is and miss him a lot; every day they ask when their father will be coming back to them.
- Based on the messages my family received and from everything I know about my husband, I believe his is seeking my assistance and support and would want me to take appropriate legal action on his behalf, as his next friend. In this capacity, I have retained and hereby request Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, and any person authorized by that Firm, to act on my own and Hadj Boudella's hehalf and to take whatever legal steps they consider to be in our best interests, in connection with my husband's detention at Guantanamo.
I know the facts deposed herein to be true to the best of my knowledge.
Sworn to by the deponent on this tenth day of August, 2004.
Emina Planja (signed)
Witness: Liliana Scasascia Kleiser (signed)