Background Briefing

Executive Summary

On September 6, 2006, President George W. Bush revealed that the United States runs a system of secret detention in the “War on Terror,” but he did not disclose how many individuals were secretly detained.  While only the U.S. government knows exactly who remains missing, Off the Record provides the most comprehensive list of these individuals, who are believed to have been subject to an enforced disappearance for which the United State s bears responsibility.

Based on research by six major human rights groups—Amnesty International, Cageprisoners, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at NYU School of Law, Human Rights Watch and Reprieve—Off the Record identifies individuals believed to have been held at some point by the United States in secret sites, all of whom remain missing.

Off the Record provides new information about detainees already identified as “disappeared” (for example, Ali Abdul-Hamid al-Fakhiri, commonly known as Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi) and names four missing detainees for the first time.  It reveals the extent to which the United States illegally uses “proxy detention” to empty its secret sites and demonstrates that far from targeting the “worst of the worst,” the system sweeps up low-level detainees and even involves the detention of the wives and children of the “disappeared,” in violation of their human rights.  Off the Record also documents allegations concerning the treatment of detainees while in secret detention, including torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.  The briefing paper reports on the following individuals:

Individuals whose detention by the United States has been officially acknowledged and whose fate and whereabouts remain unknown:

  1. Hassan Ghul
  2. Ali Abd al-Rahman al-Faqasi al-Ghamdi (Abu Bakr al Azdi)
  3. Ali Abdul-Hamid al-Fakhiri (Ali Abd-al-Hamid al-Fakhiri, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi)

Individuals about whom there is strong evidence, including witness testimony, of secret detention by the United States and whose fate and whereabouts remain unknown:

  1. Mustafa Setmariam Nasar (Abu Musab al-Suri, Umar Abd al-Hakim)

   5.&6. Two, possibly three, Somalis* [Names Unknown] (one of whom is either Shoeab as-Somali or Rethwan as-Somali)

  1. Mohammed Naeem Noor Khan (Abu Talha, Talaha)
  2. Abdul Basit
  3. Adnan [Last Name Unknown]
  4. Hudaifa
  5. Mohammed [Last Name Unknown] (Mohammed al-Afghani)
  6. Khalid al-Zawahiri
  7. Ayoub al-Libi
  8. Abu Naseem
  9. Suleiman Abdalla Salim (Suleiman Abdalla, Suleiman Abdalla Salim Hemed, Suleiman Ahmed Hemed Salim, Issa Tanzania)
  10. Yassir al-Jazeeri (Yasser al-Jaziri, Abu Yasir al-Jaziri, Abu Yassir Al Jazeeri, Yasser al-Jazeeri)
  11. Mohammed Omar Abdel-Rahman (Asadallah)
  12. Majid [Last Name Unknown] (Adnan al-Libi, Abu Yasser)*
  13. Hassan [Last Name Unknown] (Raba’i)*
  14. [First Name Unknown] al-Mahdi-Jawdeh (Abu Ayoub, Ayoub al-Libi)*
  15. Khaled al-Sharif (Abu Hazem)*   

Individuals about whom there is some evidence of secret detention by the United States and whose fate and whereabouts remain unknown:

  1. Osama bin Yousaf (Usama Bin Yussaf, Usama bin Yusuf, Usamah bin-Yusuf)
  2. Osama Nazir
  3. Sharif al-Masri (Abd-al-Sattar Sharif al-Masri)
  4. Qari Saifullah Akhtar (Amir Harkat-ul-Ansar Qari Saifullah)
  5. Mustafa Mohammed Fadhil (Moustafa Ali Elbishy, Hussein, Hassan Ali, Khalid, Abu Jihad)
  6. Musaab Aruchi (Mosabir Aroochi, Masoob Aroochi, Abu Mosa'ab al-Balochi, Abu Mosa'ab Aroochi, Musaad Aruchi, al-Baluchi)
  7. Ibad Al Yaquti al Sheikh al Sufiyan
  8. Walid bin Azmi
  9. Amir Hussein Abdullah al-Misri (Fazal Mohammad Abdullah al-Misri)
  10. Safwan al-Hasham (Haffan al-Hasham)
  11. Jawad al-Bashar
  12. Aafia Siddiqui
  13. Saif al Islam el Masry
  14. Sheikh Ahmed Salim
  15. Retha al-Tunisi
  16. Anas al-Libi (Anas al-Sabai, Nazih al-Raghie, Nazih Abdul Hamed al-Raghie)
  17. [First Name Unknown] al-Rubaia
  18. Speen Ghul

* Individuals publicly identified as missing for the first time by human rights groups are indicated by an asterisk.  Note that while the detention of two Somali nationals has been previously reported, the possibility that a third Somali national was held in a secret U.S. detention facility has not been explicitly stated.