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Mahvish Rukhsana Khan is an American lawyer, born to immigrant Pashtun parents in Michigan. While persuing a law degree at the University of Miami, she became enraged by the illegal[…]

Mahvish Khan recounts the first detainee she saw, a pediatrician accused of being Taliban.

Question: Were you prepared for what you saw in Guantanamo?

Mahvish Khan: No, I wasn’t. the first time I went to Guantanamo I was nervous and I was scared of meeting somebody who was Taliban or al-Qaeda because that’s all I had heard in the media, and I assumed that they must have had done something to be there. And I remember walking in to that meeting room and thinking he’s not going to want to talk to me because I’m a woman and I’d covered myself because I didn’t know how conservative the guy would be. And I walked in and there was this man standing in the corner of the room and he looked just as scared as I did, perhaps in anticipation of an interrogation, and he smiled when he saw me in my embroidered shawl and I smiled back and gave him the universal Islamic greeting, which is...translates to “May peace be upon you” and went and shook hands with my first terrorist. And his... He was known as 1154 and that’s what the guards knew him as ‘cause the guards at Guantanamo don’t know the detainees’ names, but his real name was Dr. Ali Shah Mousovi and he was a pediatrician. He worked for the United Nations. He was a Shiite Muslim who are a persecuted minority under the Taliban and so all these different factors and his-- He didn’t want his children to be raised under the Taliban regime so fled to neighboring Iran and yet there he was in Guantanamo being accused of being Taliban, and so none of it made any sense.


Recorded on: 7/17/08