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Guantánamo Kid: The True Story of Mohammed El-Gharani

Words by Jérôme Tubiana

Art by Alexandre Franc

Paperback with flaps, 168 pp, $24.99

Saudi Arabia offers few prospects for the bright young Mohammed El-Gharani. With roots in Chad, Mohammed is treated like a second-class citizen. His access to healthcare and education are restricted; nor can he make the most of his entrepreneurial spirit. At the age of 14, having scraped together some money as a street trader, Mohammed seizes an opportunity to study in Pakistan.

One Friday in Karachi, Mohammed is detained during a raid on his local mosque. After being beaten and interrogated, he is sold to the American government by Pakistani forces as a member of Al-Qaida with links to Osama Bin Laden. Mohammed has heard of neither. Under the custody of the US Army, he is flown first to Kandahar and then to Guantánamo Bay. In this landmark work of graphic non-fiction, Jérôme Tubiana and Alexandre Franc tell the eye-opening, heart-wrenching story of one of the Bay’s youngest detainees.

Written in collaboration with Mohammed El-Gharani, Guantánamo Kid reflects as closely as possible his memories and experiences of life in the camp.

This book is endorsed by Amnesty International.


Alexandre Franc


Born in 1973, Alexandre Franc grew up in Lyon. Since 2007, he has published over a dozen graphic novels, sometimes as a solo creator (Victor et l'Ourours from Actes Sud – l'An 2), sometimes as an artist (Mai 68. Histoire d’un Printemps, with Arnaud Bureau, Berg International), sometimes as a writer (Les Satellites, with Claire de Gastold, Gallimard) and sometimes in collaboration with a writer (Cher Régis Debray, Futuropolis). He is also an illustrator for youth periodicals, educational books and the communications industry. He lives in Paris with his wife and their two children.

Jérôme Tubiana


Jérôme Tubiana is a journalist and researcher. He has contributed to National Geographic and Foreign Affairs, among other publications. He first met Mohammed El-Gharani in N’Djamena in 2011, two years after his release from Guantánamo Bay. They met every afternoon for two weeks, after which Tubiana turned their conversations into a diary piece for the London Review of Books.

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Reviews

"This is an astounding account of human endurance and faith against overwhelming odds and terrible injustice"
— Publishers Weekly
"With the Trump administration signing an executive order to keep the prison open indefinitely in 2018, it is more important than ever to read stories like Guantánamo Kid"
— Amnesty International UK
"Mohammed El-Gharani knows all about the horrors of Guantánamo, as a child subjected to torture by the US authorities and held in the prison for eight years. And yet far too many people still don’t know about Guantánamo’s long and abusive history, and one main reason is that no footage or photos of any of the torture and abuse has ever surfaced. Overcoming this critical lack of images, Jérôme Tubiana, a journalist who spent time with Mohammed after his release in 2010, hearing his story, has worked with the talented comic artist Alexandre Franc to bring his ordeal to life in a graphic novel that deserves to be read as widely as possible, as, in page after page of harrowing memories, Mohammed tells his story with wit, endurance and unbreakable spirit."
— Andy Worthington (campaigner, journalist and author of The Guantánamo Files)
"Mohammed El-Gharani was just 14 when he was kidnapped and rendered to Guantánamo Bay, the location of some of the worst human rights abuses of our age. There, he was detained without charge or trial, facing brutal torture, isolation and mistreatment. The US accused him of having been an Al-Qaeda mastermind at the tender age of 6 in a country he had never visited, and his story exposes the cruel absurdity of the US' Guantánamo project and the faulty ‘intelligence’ it was built on. Yet, despite all this, his is a story of survival in even the darkest of times. Guantánamo Kid is a book everyone should read – an innovative, visually stunning way of telling an important story. And a powerful way to remind us that the Guantánamo story is one that is still being played out to this day as 40 men continue to languish in the prison, watching the months and years pass by with no access to justice and very little hope for freedom."
— Clive Stafford-Smith, founder of Reprieve and Mohammed El-Gharani's lawyer
"An utterly compelling story about human resilience"
— The National
"Engagingly written by Jerome Tubiana and illustrated with verve and imagination by Alexandre Franc, the book potently visualises what words alone never can... Highly recommended"
— The Morning Star
"Tubiana and Franc have created a powerful book that brings attention to the humanity of people who are accused as terrorists and relays the importance of what happens to such people in these times"
— PopMatters