April 8, 2008

Cases

Ibrahim "Abu Mu'ath" al-Jeddawi (Ahmad Ibrahim Abu al-Hasana)

Ibrahim "Abu Mu'ath" al-Jeddawi is a Saudi who reportedly lived in Yemen.  Human Rights Watch spoke to two former detainees held by the GID who said that they communicated with him while he was detained at the GID detention facility in late 2002; al-Tabuki wrote that he saw al-Jeddawi there, too.  He was said to be approximately 32-38 years old.

In early 2002, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) placed Abu Mu'az al-Jeddawi (almost certainly the same person) on its "Seeking Information – War on Terrorism" list, calling him a known associate of a Yemeni al Qaeda cell leader.[36]  A little more than a month later, however, al-Jeddawi was removed from the list, probably because the FBI learned that he was in CIA or Jordanian custody.  Human Rights Watch has confirmed that he was transferred to GID custody sometime in the first half of 2002.[37]

Human Rights Watch's sources differ regarding where al-Jeddawi was arrested.  Both al-Tabuki and another person claim that al-Jeddawi was arrested in Yemen.  Al-Tabuki said that he was arrested less than a month after his wedding.  A third source, however, who was also held in GID custody with al-Jeddawi, believes that al-Jeddawi was arrested in Kuwait, although he was not certain about this point.  All of them agree, at any rate, that al-Jeddawi was in US custody prior to being handed over to Jordan.  And according to one source, a US agent "hit him in the head."

A summary of evidence memo used in annual status review proceedings for Abdul Rahman Mohammed Khowlan, a Saudi citizen who was held at Guantanamo from 2002 to 2006, mentions Khowlan's association with someone named "Abu Mu'ath."[38]  This may very well be the same person, and suggests that the US military may have relied on information obtained from al-Jeddawi while al-Jeddawi was in US or Jordanian custody.

One person, who told Human Rights Watch that al-Jeddawi was "famous in Afghanistan," said:

He was a really rich guy, and he lived in Yemen; he was married to a Yemeni woman.  The Yemenis arrested him and handed him over to the US.  I actually saw him in GID: we met in the bathroom thanks to the help of a nice soldier.

           

This same informant not only saw al-Jeddawi in custody in late 2002 but also communicated with al-Jeddawi's family later. He said that the family told him that al-Jeddawi was held at the GID facility for more than a year, during which time he was kept hidden from the ICRC.  Al-Jeddawi is believed to be currently incarcerated in Saudi Arabia.

Khayr al-Din al-Jaza'eri, Abu Yousef al-Jaza'eri, Abu Hassan al-Suri, Abu Bakr Saddiqi, and possible unnamed Chechen

Khayr al-Din al-Jaza'eri, Abu Yousef al-Jaza'eri, and Abu Bakr Saddiqi, all Algerians, and Abu Hassan al-Suri, a Syrian, were reportedly arrested in Georgia in 2002 and rendered by US agents to Jordan.[39]  All but Saddiqi were said to have been arrested together in April 2002; it is not clear when Saddiqi was picked up.

Al-Tabuki mentioned Khayr al-Din al-Jaza'eri in his account, saying that he was "sent to Jordan in a private jet to be interrogated by Jordanian intelligence, who sought to extract from him information about Chechen fighters. And he was threatened to be falsely tied to a terrorist conspiracy against British interests, since he was originally a British resident."  Khayr al-Din al-Jaza'eri is also mentioned in the written judgment of a high-profile French terrorism prosecution, the so-called "Chechen network" case.[40]

The current whereabouts of all four men are unknown, although it is possible that they were at some point transferred to their home countries-i.e., Algeria and Syria-for continued detention.

Several former prisoners said that one or more Chechens who had been brought to the GID detention facility by Americans were held there in 2002-2003.  One such prisoner, who was held in GID custody in late 2002, told Human Rights Watch that at least one Chechen had originally been detained in Georgia. A different former GID prisoner, who was held in 2003, said that he had seen writing on his cell wall from a prisoner who wrote that he was from Chechnya.

Abu Hamza al-Tabuki

Abu Hamza al-Tabuki, a Saudi national, was arrested in Karachi, Pakistan, in late 2001.  Two prisoners whom Human Rights Watch interviewed said that they spoke to him while he was in detention, and one of them provided Human Rights Watch an account of his stay in GID detention that al-Tabuki wrote after his release.

In his account, al-Tabuki explains that he was interrogated by US officials in Pakistan, and that the American told him that they were going to send him to a country where he could be interrogated "more freely." He reported that US interrogators thought that detention in Jordan "was more suitable for people like me because American laws tie their hands and they cannot apply the methods of the Jordanians."

Here is his description of what happened to him in GID detention in Amman:

As soon as I arrived at the prison, the money that I had was confiscated, my clothes were taken, and I was given the blue prison uniform. And from the first day, they began to interrogate me using the methods of terror and fear, torture and beating, insults and verbal abuse, and threatening to expose my private parts and rape me. I was repeatedly beaten, and insulted, along with my parents and family. Every time they took me, they blindfolded me; however, I was able to peak through the blindfold and see my interrogators, as well as many details of the prison building. As soon as I reached the torture room, the torturers began to violently beat me. They would tie my feet and beat me with a heavy stick. After which, my flesh in my feet would tear apart, they would untie the rope and order me to run across the courtyard, over saltwater. Throughout this, they would throw questions at me and demand answers to them, while kicking and beating me all over with sticks, including my sensitive parts.[41]

Al-Tabuki claimed that the point of the abuse was to obtain information, even false information:

The questions focused on Osama bin Laden and his wives and children, his location, and on members of al-Qaeda. I was shown pictures of bearded and non-bearded Yemeni, Saudi, Jordanian, and Egyptian individuals. I was asked the names of these individuals, and forced to identify them even if I didn't know them. Many times, I even made up names for them because I did not know who they were and was forced under physical duress to identify them.
They tortured me a great deal in order to make me confess to them about the American targets that al-Qaeda was planning to hit, even though I had no knowledge about that. They even forced me, through torture, to make up fictitious targets, about which they could report to the Americans. Their [American] masters would later discover that these were empty threats, and that such targets were made up under torture.[42]

A prisoner who was held with al-Tabuki in Jordan told Human Rights Watch that al-Tabuki was returned to Saudi Arabia in late 2002 or early 2003, and was released.

Ramzi bin al-Shibh

Ramzi bin al-Shibh, a Yemeni citizen, was arrested in Karachi, Pakistan, on September 11, 2002, and was held in CIA custody for several years.  Alleged to be one of the main conspirators in the September 11 attacks, he was rendered by the United States to Jordan for an unknown period.  In early September 2006, he was transferred to US military detention at Guantanamo, where he remains.  He has yet to see a lawyer or an independent monitor who could report on his experiences since his arrest.

A former detainee in Jordan gave Human Rights Watch a detailed account of being held in a cell next to al-Shibh's in late 2002, on the third floor of the GID detention facility.  The source said that he spoke with al-Shibh through the back window of his cell and sometimes through the small vent in the door of the cell.  "We could never talk for long," he said, "maybe two minutes at most."

According to this source, al-Shibh claimed that he had been arrested in Pakistan, then brought to the US air base at Bagram, in Afghanistan, then flown to Jordan via Qatar.  Al-Shibh described the flight from Bagram, saying that US officials put him in a diaper and wrapped a giant bandage around his body.

Al-Shibh reportedly said that he had been badly tortured in Jordanian custody.  The forms of abuse included electric shocks, long periods of sleep deprivation, forced nakedness, and being made to sit on sticks and bottles (a form of sexual violence).  The source did not recall al-Shibh saying anything about how the Americans treated him.

Al-Shibh reportedly claimed that he had been brought to Jordan together with two or three other prisoners.  Human Rights Watch's source said that al-Shibh was the "most important" of the group, but he did not know anything about the others, except that one or more of them may have been Egyptian.

Ali al-Hajj al-Sharqawi

Ali al-Hajj al-Sharqawi (also known as Riad al-Sharqawi or Shergawi) is a Yemeni citizen who was arrested in Karachi in mid-February 2002, and rendered by the US to Jordan soon after.  He is now held at Guantanamo.

Two former prisoners held by the GID spoke to Human Rights Watch about al-Sharqawi.[43]  In addition, while at the GID detention facility in late 2002, al-Sharqawi himself wrote a long note describing his ordeal, which another prisoner managed to smuggle out, and which was provided to Human Rights Watch.  Human Rights Watch also obtained a statement that al-Sharqawi wrote in 2006, two years after he was moved to Guantanamo.

In the 2006 statement, al-Sharqawi described his transfer to Jordan:

One evening around , all of a sudden, they took me out of my cell. They covered both my eyes and ears, and hooded me. I was also cuffed and shackled tightly, and I didn't know where they were going to take me. I was put in a car, and they played loud music. The car moved and we arrived at the airport. I was taken out of the car near an airplane. The noise of the engines was very loud. I was taken to the airplane through the back door. It was like a dark room. I was held tightly my neck forced down, and put on a chair, with guards on my left and right. The plane took off. A person came close and spoke with me very loudly in Arabic. He started questioning me. I asked him where we are going. He said God willing you'll go to your country. God save you from the Americans. Your mother is praying for you (this is a very common Arabic saying that shows ones good luck). The treatment that far was good (during the flight) excluding security matters. The aircraft landed.[44]

Like al-Tabuki, al-Sharqawi was surprised to find himself in Jordan:

I asked them where I was. I was in Sanaa? A voice answered No. You are with your Brothers in Amman (Jordan). I was being treated well so far. And I was surprised, Amman?? Why Amman? I asked. He said don't ask.
With this my two year ordeal started.  I was kidnapped, not knowing anything of my fate, with continuous torture and interrogation for the whole of two years.

A prisoner held with al-Sharqawi in GID detention told Human Rights Watch that al-Sharqawi was badly beaten by GID interrogators.  Al-Sharqawi described the interrogations, saying:

I was being interrogated all the time, in the evening and in the day. I was shown thousands of photos, and I really mean thousands, I am not exaggerating .... And in between all this you have the torture, the abuse, the cursing, humiliation. They had threatened me with being sexually abused and electrocuted. I was told that if I wanted to leave with permanent disability both mental and physical, that that could be arranged. They said they had all the facilities of Jordan to achieve that. I was told that I had to talk, I had to tell them everything.

Al-Sharqawi was held in GID detention for nearly two years.  Flight records obtained by Human Rights Watch indicate that a Boeing 737, registration number N313P, linked to the CIA and other prisoner transports, traveled from Amman to Kabul on January 8, 2004, the date that al-Sharqawi claims that he was flown from Jordan to Kabul.[45]  Al-Sharqawi told his lawyers about what happened on that trip.  Their notes of his account state:

He was taken to the airport in a black hood that came down to his shirt. When [he and the Americans] arrived at the airport, they cut his clothes off, searched his anus and gave him diapers, shorts, a sleeveless shirt and plastic handcuffs.  He stood in the room for an hour in handcuffs tied to the walls.  They took pictures of him.  Then they came for him, tied his feet together and tied his hands together. One other man was thrown into a luggage cart, and Shergawi was picked up like a sack and thrown on top of him.  Then they carried him like a sack and threw him into the plane.  Two men were already in the plane, and they were American.[46]
Upon arrival in Kabul, he was brought to a CIA proxy prison, with Afghan guards, where he stayed for about a month and a half.  Next he was transferred to the US military detention facility at Bagram air base, and in September 2004 he was transferred to Guantanamo, where he remains.  He claims that once, at Guantanamo, a chief interrogator warned him that if he did not cooperate he would be returned to Jordan.[47]

Hassan bin Attash

Hassan bin Attash (whom Jordanian former detainees remember as Hassan ba Attash) is a Yemeni born in Saudi Arabia.  He is the younger brother of Walid bin Attash, an alleged Al Qaeda operative who spent more than three years in secret CIA custody before being transferred to Guantanamo in 2006.  The younger bin Attash was approximately 17 years old on September 11, 2002, when he was arrested in Karachi, Pakistan, in a raid that resulted in the arrest of Ramzi bin al-Shibh and several other Yemenis.

Bin Attash has told his lawyers that during a four-day period after his arrest he was held in a Karachi jail, where he was hit and kicked repeatedly while being questioned by Pakistani and American interrogators.  After three nights there, he was transferred to a US-run facility in Kabul, Afghanistan, which he and other prisoners know as the "Dark Prison."

Bin Attash claims that after three days in Afghanistan the UStransferred him to Jordan.  He has told his lawyers that while in GID custody in Jordan, he was subject to severe torture by Jordanian interrogators, including sleep deprivation; being slapped in the face and ears; being beaten on his feet with large sticks and being forced to run on his bare feet afterwards.[48]

He has described his torture in detail to his lawyers, who summarized it as follows:

The main method of torture was carried out in the courtyard of the basement by masked guards dressed in black.  The guards would tie a prisoner's legs together and hang them from the ceiling by their feet.  They would then beat the prisoners on their toes with large sticks.  (After repeated blows, Attash noted that his feet would become numb to the pain.)  The guards would then pour hot water on the feet of the prisoners to bring back the feeling.  On some occasions this water was salty; on others the salt water was icy.  Attash was also occasionally forced to run on his bare feet after these beatings.[49]

A Jordanian who was detained with bin Attash remembered his mistreatment.[50] He said that bin Attash, like al-Sharqawi, was beaten more severely than him or most other prisoners.  Also, he recalled, "the guards didn't allow ba Attash [bin Attash] to sleep.  The guards would look in on him through the small window in his cell door.  If they saw that his eyes were closed, they'd wake him up by slapping his face or spraying water on him."

A habeas petition filed in US federal court summarizes the treatment bin Attash endured:

On information and belief, Mr. Attash was seized in 2002 from his home in Karachi, Pakistan, when he was 17 years old .... [In September 2002], he was transferred by U.S.  authorities to Jordan, where he was imprisoned for sixteen months and suffered abuse and torture at the hands of his captors. During his imprisonment in Jordan, Mr. Attash was, for a period of three months, tortured for twelve hours per day.[51]

Bin Attash says that he was returned from Jordan to Afghanistan in January 2004, almost certainly on the same flight as Sharqawi.  His lawyer has related his account of the trip:

On approximately January 7, 2004, Attash was taken from the Jordan Intelligence to the airport (trip took less than one hour) where he was met by CIA officers who were dressed in black, and were wearing black masks with forehead flashlights.  Attash was then flown back to Kabul.[52]

In September 2004 he was flown from Afghanistan to Guantanamo, where he remains in custody.

Khais (or Qais)

One former prisoner told Human Rights Watch that in early 2003 he was briefly held in a GID cell near a Kurd named Khais.  Khais was said to be in his twenties, and was from Halabja, in the Kurdish region of Iraq.[53]  The person said that Khais may have been arrested in Yemen and delivered to Jordan by US agents.

Unnamed Libyan (probably Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi)

Another former prisoner detained at the GID facility in 2004 and 2005 claims that a guard spoke of a Libyan prisoner who had been rendered by the Americans. The rendered prisoner was reportedly held on the very top floor of the GID facility, away from all the other prisoners.  Human Rights Watch's source said that the guard said that:

They were hiding some Libyan guy who had been handed over by the Americans to be interrogated.  They didn't want the ICRC to know about him.  And they didn't want the Libyan to know where he was.  So they chose dark-skinned guards, and they put the guards in green trousers and yellow shirts, so the Libyan thought he was in Africa. 

The source said that the Libyan figured out where he was, however, after one of the Jordanian officers accidentally spoke in front of him.

           

The source thought the prisoner's name was Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi, but he was not certain.  Human Rights Watch has learned through other sources that al-Libi (who the United States rendered to Egypt for a time as well) believes that he was held in Jordan for a couple of months.[54]

Unnamed Tunisian

Another former detainee, who was held by the GID in 2004, told Human Rights Watch that he was held in a cell adjoining that of a Tunisian prisoner who had been delivered to Jordan by US authorities.  The Tunisian was said to have been unhappy because he had been in custody for a long time: "He complained that he had spent four months in GID, and before that three months in an American prison in Iraq."

The Tunisian reportedly said that he had been detained in northern Iraq by the Peshmerga (Kurdish militants), who handed him over to US authorities.[55]  He said that he had been a mujahid (fighter) for five years.  GID interrogators had reportedly showed him photos of other mujahideen whom he did not know. "They said that if he didn't confess they'd send him to Guantanamo or Tunisia," the former detainee told Human Rights Watch.

The former detainee said that he only saw the Tunisian once, through the vent in his cell door.  He described the Tunisian as short, slim, balding, and in his early thirties.  The Tunisian reportedly said that his father was dead, and that he was his mother's only source of support.

Jamil Qasim Saeed Mohammed

Jamil Qasim Saeed Mohammed, a Yemeni student who lived in Karachi, Pakistan, was reportedly flown to Jordan on a CIA-linked Gulfstream jet, registration number N379P, in the early morning hours of October 23, 2001.[56]  Someone who witnessed the scene at the Karachi airport reported that Mohammed was shackled and blindfolded.  He said that the plane arrived from Amman and started flying back there at

A Pakistani journalist quoted a source at the Karachi airport saying: "The entire operation was so mysterious that all persons involved in the operation, including US troops, were wearing masks."[57] He also claimed that a masked person filmed the operation.

Jamil Qasim Saeed Mohammed has not been seen or heard from since.

Mohamedou Ould Slahi

Mohamedou Ould Slahi is a 37-year-old Mauritanian citizen who voluntarily submitted himself for questioning by the Mauritanian authorities in September 2001 and again in November 2001.  In the report of the US National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (the 9/11 Commission), Slahi is described as "a significant al Qaeda operative," but these allegations have never been tested in court.  Although he has acknowledged fighting in Afghanistan in the early 1990s, he claims that he broke all relations with al Qaeda in 1992.

Arrested and transferred to US custody in November 2001, Slahi has been detained without trial ever since.  He has said that he was flown to Jordan on approximately November28, 2001, and that he was held in custody there for eight months.  He claims that during that time he was hit in the face and slammed against a concrete wall many times by Jordanian interrogators, and that he sometimes heard crying and moaning, presumably from other prisoners.  What happened to him in Jordan, he later said, was "beyond description."[58]  He has said that he confessed to involvement in the 2000 plot to blow up US airports, because "in Jordan they made me crazy to admit I had something to do with it.  Because there was so much pressure and mistreatment, I admitted to this."[59]

Slahi claims that he was flown from Jordan to Afghanistan on July 19, 2002. This is consistent with flight information from a known CIA detainee transport plane, registration number N379P, which flew from Amman to Kabul on that date.  On the day he was transferred, he later explained, "they stripped me naked like my mom bore me, and they put new clothes on me."[60] 

I was in chains, a very bad suit, I had lost so much weight in Jordan that I was like a ghost ... the Americans [had me put] on a diaper but psychologically I couldn't [urinate] in the diaper.  I tried to convince myself that it was okay but I couldn't and I was exploding.[61]

After spending three weeks in US military custody at Bagram air base, Slahi was transferred to Guantánamo on August 4, 2002.  He is still there now.

Jamal al-Mar'i

Jamal al-Mar'i, a Yemeni who is currently being held at Guantanamo, was arrested at his home in Karachi, Pakistan, on September 23, 2001.[62]  The arrest was carried out by a joint Pakistani-US team of operatives.  Upon his arrest, he was taken to a Pakistani jail where he was held for approximately a month.  While held at this facility, al-Mar'i claims that he was interrogated two or three times during a single week by US personnel, who he believes were intelligence agents.  In late October 2001, al-Mar'i was rendered to Jordan, where he was held in the custody of the GID. 

Al-Mar'i, like other rendered prisoners, has said that he was hidden from the ICRC during their regular visits to the facility, generally in the basement.  During one of the ICRC's visits, however, al-Mar'i was "not taken into the basement and was discovered by the ICRC."  Unlike other rendered prisoners, al-Mar'i has not claimed that he was tortured while in GID custody.

Al-Mar'i has told his lawyers that he was imprisoned for four months in Jordan. In mid-2002, he was taken to Guantanamo, where he remains.

[36] The FBI posted the names of 17 suspected terrorists to the list on February 11, 2002.  By late March 2002, his name had been removed from the list.  See http://www.fbi.gov/terrorinfo/terrorismsi.htm.  Arabic names can be transcribed into Latin script in several different ways, leading.

[37] Abu Hamza al-Tabuki remembered that Abu Mu'ath was mostly held in cell number 87, on the third floor of the GID detention facility.  Al-Tabuki account, p. 3.  He also said Abu Mu'ath's real name was Ahmad Ibrahim Abu al-Hasana.

[38] The memo states: "The detainee was recruited in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia [sometime before August 2001], by Abu Mua'th, who gave the detainee an airline ticket to Karachi, Pakistan, 3000 Saudi Riyals ($799 USD) and a passport."  Department of Defense, Office for the Administrative Review of the Detention of Enemy Combatants at US Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, "Unclassified Summary of Evidence for Administrative Review Board in the Case of Khowlan, Abdul Rahman Mohammed Hussein," June 29, 2005.  The summary of evidence memo used in Khowlan's case the following year omits the name of Abu Mu'ath, but identifies him as "a Saudi in his early 30s," which corresponds to al-Jeddawi's description.  Department of Defense, Office for the Administrative Review of the Detention of Enemy Combatants at US Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, "Unclassified Summary of Evidence for Administrative Review Board in the Case of Al Khawlan, Abd al Rahman Muhammad Husayn," May 2, 2006.

[39] Human Rights Watch does not has any information about who arrested them.  Another Algerian who was picked up in Georgia in April 2002, however, who is now held at Guantanamo, claims that he and two others were abducted by the "Mafia" and handed over to American officials for a "brief case full of money."  Transcript of Combatant Status Review Tribunal hearing, Soufian Abar Huwari, ISN 1016, Set 21, pp. 1663-64.

[40] Verdict, Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris, case of Marbak Lebik Benhamed et autres, June 14, 2006, p. 88.

[41] Al-Tabuki account.

[42] Ibid.

[43] He is also mentioned in al-Tabuki's account.

[44] Undated statement of Shergawi [Sharqawi] Ali Al-Haj, p. 1 (copy on file at Human Rights Watch).

[45] Al-Sharqawi told his lawyers that he was taken out of his cell at 11 p.m. on January 7, 2004, put in a car, and handed over to the Americans.  He was placed on an airplane to Kabul later that same night.  Al-Sharqawi lawyers' notes, p. 11.

[46] Ibid.  As discussed below, the other prisoner he was transferred with was Hassan bin Attash.

[47] Shergawi statement, p. 10.

[48] Memorandum from Brent Starks, June 14, 2006.

[49] Ibid.

[50] Abu Hamza al-Tabuki, who was also held with bin Attash, said that he was rendered to Jordan by the Americans for interrogation.  He remembered that bin Attash was held in cell number 85, on the third floor of the GID detention facility.  Al-Tabuki account, p. 4.

[51] Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, Attash v. Bush, Case No. 05-CV-1592, August 9, 2005, p. 4.

[52] Memorandum from Brent Starks, June 14, 2006.

[53] Al-Tabuki also claimed that there were Kurds in GID detention whom the Americans had handed over to the GID.

[54]Human Rights Watch interview, London, March 18, 2007.

[55]Human Rights Watch has also interviewed a Jordanian with a similar story.  He claims that he was arrested in the Kurdish area of Iraq by Kurdish forces in January 2004, handed over to US forces, and held for 38 days in US custody in Baghdad.  Then he was flown to Jordan on a small plane and transferred to GID custody.  Human Rights Watch interview, Amman, October 23, 2007.

[56] Stephen Grey, Ghost Plane: The True Story of the CIA Torture Program (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2006), p. 272.

[57] Masood Anwar, "Mystery Man Handed over to U.S. Troops in Karachi," The News International (Pakistan), October 26, 2001.

[58] Mohamedou Ould Slahi, Annual Review Board transcript, Set 8, undated, p. 203.

[59] Mohamedou Ould Slahi, summarized transcript of Combatant Status Review Tribunal, undated, p. 32.

[60] Mohamedou Ould Slahi, Annual Review Board transcript, Set 8, undated, p. 203.

[61] Ibid.

[62] Al-Mar'i's registration number at Guantanamo is 577.  According to weight records kept by the US military and made public as a result of Freedom of Information Act litigation, al-Mar'i entered Guantanamo on approximately May 1, 2002.