Saifullah Paracha



Name: Saifullah Paracha

Nickname: Saif

DOB: August 17, 1947

Nationality: Pakistani

Held: without legal process since June 2003

ISN: 1094

Current status: NVD (No Value Detainee) cleared for release by the Periodic Review Board on May 18, 2021.  He awaits a release date.


Updated: 25th October 2021

About Saif

Saifullah Paracha (Saif) was a permanent U.S. resident and is the oldest prisoner in Guantánamo Bay, at 74. He has suffered three heart attacks, his most recent in June 2020. Independent doctors say he could die at any time.

Saifullah came to the United States (U.S.) for college, met and married his wife, and raised his family in American, Christian schools. Indeed, he brought much of his extended family to the U.S. and in many ways embodies the “American dream”. Saifullah Paracha was born in 1947, in the Punjab province of Pakistan. In 1971, at the age of 24, he moved to the U.S. to study at the New York Institute of Technology. While living in New York, he met his wife, Farhat, also a citizen of Pakistan. The couple married in 1979, and have four children together. Over the next several years, Saifullah established several successful businesses, living in New York with his family as a law-abiding and tax-paying permanent resident. In the mid-1980s he moved back to Pakistan, where he founded additional businesses. One of these was an import-export business, established with an American partner, which acted as a buying agent for large American retail companies. He also set up a television production company, Universal Broadcasting. In addition, Saifullah founded multiple charities, and was the chairman of an NGO called the Council of Welfare Organizations.

Capture and Detention

In the mayhem after 9/11, both Saifullah and his son, Uzair, were caught up in America’s post-9/11 frenzy. The U.S. demanded that the Pakistani Government of General Pervez Musharraf turn Saif over as a terrorist, but the government refused as there was no evidence of his wrongdoing. In July 2003, Saifullah was lured by his business partner to Thailand where he was abducted, and put on a rendition plane to the U.S.-run Bagram prison in Afghanistan. Missing without a trace, his wife and family spent an agonizing month not knowing where or why Saifullah had gone. Saifullah was tortured at Bagram for more than a year, held in solitary confinement. In September 2004, he was put on a plane to Guantánamo Bay, where he has been held, without charge or trial, ever since. The plane that rendered him had stopped in Prestwick, Scotland, en-route to collecting him and a number of other prisoners, including Ahmed and Abdul Rabbani. We have worked with the Scottish police in their investigation of this crime, but the UK government in Westminster has thwarted Scottish efforts. Uzair, meanwhile, was convicted in Federal court. In early 2020, Uzair’s conviction was overturned, because the prosecution had relied on false statements from prisoners who had been tortured. Uzair refused to plead guilty for his release, and the U.S. government eventually dismissed all charges and repatriated him to Lahore, where he lives with his family

Life at Guantánamo

In August 2021, Saifullah had his 74th birthday in his prison cell at Guantánamo. He is known to be a very compliant and model prisoner, a calming influence able to relate to the American guards, and who is respected by the younger prisoners. However, since being in U.S. custody, his health has deteriorated precipitously and he now suffers from a host of medical problems, some natural for an aging man and others related to the abuse he has suffered during his torture and detention.

Continuing Ill Health

Saifullah’s ongoing health issues include diabetes mellitus, coronary artery disease, angina pectoris, cardiac diastolic dysfunction, hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol), diverticulosis, allergic rhinitis, gout, and gastroesophageal reflux disease. Saifullah has survived three heart attacks, the third of which occurred in 2020 in Guantánamo. Guantánamo lacks proper medical facilities to provide adequate treatment for these conditions.

Cleared for Release

Saifullah was cleared for release to Pakistan by the Periodic Review Board on May 18th, 2021. He is therefore eligible to return to Pakistan at any time, and we are working to this end.

Latest News