Indefinitely Detained Guantánamo Prisoner Asks Review Board to Recommend His Release

29.1.14

Two days ago, I published an article looking at the outcome of the first Periodic Review Board held at Guantánamo — a much delayed review process for ascertaining whether 71 of the remaining 155 prisoners should continue to be held indefinitely without charge or trial. This process was supposed to begin three years ago, after President Obama issued an executive order authorizing the ongoing imprisonment without charge or trial of 48 prisoners, based on the recommendations, delivered in January 2010, of his inter-agency Guantánamo Review Task Force, but the first PRB didn’t take place until November 2013.

As I explained in my article, the board members recommended that the prisoner whose case was reviewed — Mahmoud al-Mujahid, a Yemeni — should be released, which is good news, as al-Mujahid was wrongly regarded as a bodyguard for Osama bin Laden, based on the unreliable testimony of a fellow prisoner. However, it means nothing unless he is released, as, with an irony that is evidently being strenuously ignored by the Obama administration, the review board’s decision to recommend him for release means only that he joins a list of 55 other Yemeni prisoners who were cleared for release by Obama’s task force four years ago, but are still held because of fears of political instability in Yemen.

As I also mentioned in that article, the second PRB, for another Yemeni, Abd al-Malik Wahab al-Rahabi, took place yesterday, January 28, and, unlike the first PRB, from which the media and observers were excluded, limited transparency was provided by the Pentagon, which made available a facility in Arlington, Virginia, where a very small section of the review board could be seen and heard, although not the testimony of al-Rahabi himself, nor anything regarded as classified by the military.

What this meant in reality, as Carol Rosenberg explained for the Miami Herald, was that al-Rahabi, one of Guantánamo’s “forever prisoners,” was “not allowed to speak in the 19-minute portion of his hearing reporters were allowed to see. Instead, his attorney, David Remes, delivered the plea for release in a prepared statement he read” while al-Rahabi sat beside him.

I’m happy to reproduce below David Remes’s statement, and a statement by the military officers assigned to represent al-Rahabi, although it remains unacceptable that we were not allowed to hear directly from al-Rahabi himself. As Andrea Prasow, senior national security counsel and advocate in Human Rights Watch’s US Program, recently told the Associated Press, “The detainee explaining why he doesn’t pose a risk, why he should go home, that seems to be the whole point of the proceeding and we won’t get to see it. I think that’s pretty outrageous.”

Al-Rahabi, it turns out, has a 13-year-old daughter, Ayesha, who he hasn’t seen since she was a baby, and, with the support of his father, who is a tailor, he hopes to study and to teach, as David Remes explained. Remes also told the review board that he and four other prisoners have drawn up a “stunningly detailed” business plan for an agricultural business they hope to establish on their release, called “Yemen Milk & Honey Farms Ltd.” to be “powered by windmills and have 100 farm houses, 10 cows, 50 lambs, 500 chickens and ’10 Honey Bee farming fruit trees, vegetables and flowers.'” According to the plan, the chairman of the project would be Abdulsalam al-Hela, who was a prominent Yemeni businessman before he was kidnapped in Egypt and sent to Guantánamo via the CIA’s network of “black sites,” and al-Rahabi would be the director. David Remes explained that the plan was conceived with Saifullah Paracha, a Pakistani businessman who was also kidnapped and sent to Guantánamo via the “black site” network.

Last year, al-Rahabi joined the prison-wide hunger strike that awakened, or reawakened the world to the plight of the Guantánamo prisoners. In March, David Remes stated that he had “vowed to fast until he got out of the prison ‘either dead or alive,'” but he is no longer a hunger striker, and yesterday, as Carol Rosenberg described it, he “looked fit and at times smiled as he sat through the first 19 minutes of his hearing silently,” and he also “wore a white prison camp uniform of a complaint prisoner.”

Nevertheless, the military continues to stand by the unreliable information contained in the classified military files released by WikiLeaks in 2011, still claiming, in a profile on the PRB website, that he was a bodyguard for Osama bin Laden. The profile, to be frank, is full of hollow but ominous-sounding innuendo, such as the following — “There are no conclusive indications that YM-037 [al-Rahabi] during his detention has maintained associations with at-large extremists — except for a former Guantanamo detainee whom has not been observed reengaging in terrorist activity.” The profile also claims that his brother-in-law, Sadeq Muhammad Said Ismail, who was released from Guantánamo in 2007, has since emerged as “a prominent extremist in Ibb,” although no evidence was provided for this claim, and it contradicts the description of Ismail provided by David Remes in his statement below. [POSTSCRIPT March 21, 2014: It seems that I was mistaken to infer that the "prominent extremist in Ibb" was Sadeq Muhammed Said Ismail, as the transcript of the hearing, released after I wrote this article, describes the relative in question as someone called "Rashad"].

The six government officials who make up the review board — from the office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and as well as the Departments of State, Defense, Homeland Security and Justice — have several weeks to make their decision, and it is to be hoped that the Pentagon will release a transcript of al-Rahabi’s statement once the government representatives and his lawyer have had the opportunity “to censor his words for national or prison security reasons — as well as for privacy requests by the prisoner,” as the Miami Herald described it.

In the meantime, it is also to be hoped that President Obama will realize how urgent it is to begin the process of freeing the Yemenis who have already been cleared for release, without further delay.

Below (with minor redactions) are the statements of al-Rahabi’s personal representatives and of David Remes:

Periodic Review Board, January 28, 2014: Abdel Malik Ahmed Abdel Wahab Al-Rahabi, ISN 37
Opening Statement of Personal Representative

Good morning ladies and gentlemen of the board, I’m Lieutenant Commander [redacted]. Major [redacted] and I are the Personal Representatives of Abdel Malik Ahmed Abdel Wahab AI Rahabi. Mr. David Remes, on my right/left, is Abdel Malik’s Private Counsel. To my right/left is our translator, (translator’s call sign). Major [redacted] and I first met with Abdel Malik on 25 July 2013, and have more than 45 hours ofdirect interaction. Over the past six months, he has demonstrated enthusiasm and desire to participate in the Periodic Review Board process. Throughout this process, Major [redacted] and I have worked closely with Abdel Malik and Mr. David Remes, to provide you with information demonstrating that Abdel Malik does not pose a significant threat to the security of the United States.

It is apparent to us that Abdel Malik desires to return home to Ibb, Yemen, and reunite with his wife, his parents, and especially with his daughter, Aisha [Ayesha], who is now 13. If transferred, he plans to teach, continue his education, and pursue a business of his own, which is outlined in the Yemeni Milk and Honey feasibility report. He also has the ability to work for his father as a tailor. The Periodic Review Board Summary also states that if he is released, he will most likely return to his family. Based upon his strong family ties, his outside employment opportunities and aspirations, his continuing education, and his compliant behavior, we believe he will most certainly return to his family. After careful review of the documents we’ve provided and hearing Abdel Malik’s comments, we are confident you will share our opinion and recommend that he be transferred.

Thank you for your time and consideration. Major [redacted] and I are happy to answer any questions you may have throughout this proceeding. We will now defer to Mr. David Remes for his opening statement.

Opening Statement of Private Counsel David H. Remes

Good morning. I’m David Remes, private counsel for Mr. Rahabi. I have been Mr. Rahabi’s lawyer since 2004. Covington & Burling is my co-counsel.

Here are the factors I urge you to consider in deciding Rahabi’s case.

Looking first to his life as a detainee, Mr. Rahabi is compliant and the camp authorities consider him trustworthy. In 2009, the authorities decided to move most of the detainees from single cell detention to communal living conditions. They tested the waters by moving a selected group of detainees to limited communal conditions, and then to full communal conditions. At each stage, Mr. Rahabi was among the first detainees they moved. When they extended communal conditions to the general detainee population, they put Mr. Rahabi in a communal cell block for the most compliant detainees.

During last year’s hunger strike, in which Mr. Rahabi participated, the authorities moved the strikers back to single cell detention. When Mr. Rahabi ended his hunger strike, they returned him to the cellblock for compliant detainees. His blockmates elected him block leader. He has worked with camp authorities to ease the tensions between camp authorities and detainees that continue to smolder.

In the years before the hunger strike, the authorities offered detainees classes. Mr. Rahabi took practical courses, in English and business, with Saifullah Paracha, who has submitted a statement on his behalf. Mr. Rahabi also took courses for personal growth. Among these were art class, which gave him a love of watercolors. We have submitted examples of his fine colorings. Finally, Mr. Rahabi is one of the principal authors of a substantial business plan for an agricultural enterprise called “Yemen Milk and Honey Farms Limited.” The report is stunningly detailed, thorough, and comprehensive. It shows the detainees’ broad knowledge of commerce, their dedication to constructive pursuits, and their awareness of the need to set returning detainees on a path to economic independence. We have submitted a copy of the report.

Looking to the life that awaits Mr. Rahabi when he returns to Yemen, Mr. Rahabi has a large and supportive family. Over three dozen relatives make the five-hour car journey from lbb to Sana’a to participate in the family calls the authorities allow detainees every two months. Needless to say, Mr. Rahabi’s parents, his wife, and his daughter, Ayesha, are present. Others include his brother-in-law Sadeq Muhammad Said Ismail, a former detainee (ISN 69), who was repatriated in June 2007. After being repatriated, Mr. lsmael returned to lbb. He married and began a family. I have met him and his son. We have submitted videos and interviews with Abdalmalik’s father, his wife, Ayesha, and Sadeq, which I conducted on January 14.

Ayesha is a beautiful girl of 13. Mr. Rahabi has not seen her since she was an infant. His face lights up at the mention of her name. He lives to see her. I spent time with Ayesha in July, when I visited lbb with a news team. She was very shy but rose to the occasion. She brought us to tears softly singing a song for her father. Ayesha writes her father long, detailed letters about her life. She sends him poems and drawings of hearts, roses, and crescent moons. She even sends her report cards and teacher commendations. We have submitted samples of these items and copies of photos showing her growing up. Her writings are heartbreaking. I call the Board’s special attention to pages 9-11.

When he returns to Yemen, Mr. Rahabi will continue his studies at university and use his education to teach. His father, Ahmed, who is a tailor, will employ him if need be. His whole family, Ayesha most of all, will keep him firmly anchored at home.

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer and film-maker. He is the co-founder of the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here — or here for the US).

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22 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    My report about the second Periodic Review Board at Guantanamo, which took place yesterday, when Abd al-Malik al-Rahabi, a Yemeni, put the case for his release. Journalists were allowed to watch his lawyer speak by video link from a facility in Virginia, but were not allowed to hear al-Rahabi himself, who is still silenced after 12 years. Mr. President, we heard you promise – again – to close Guantanamo in your State of the Union speech. Send the 56 cleared Yemenis home! Do it tomorrow!

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks to everyone who has been liking and sharing this. As I mentioned a few days ago, if you want to do more, you can call the White House and ask President Obama to send all the cleared Yemenis home without further delay. Call 202-456-1111 or 202-456-1414 or submit a comment online: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Willy Bach wrote:

    Thanks Andy, yes now that Obama has decided to use his executive powers without Congress, he should use these powers for something worthwhile like closing Guantanamo. Prepare for that day with releases of cleared prisoners – that seems very sensible and the right thing to do.

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Willy. Yes, all this talk of Obama expanding his use of executive power is interesting. He now has Congress more or less onside when it comes to releasing prisoners, so he should just get on with it, but to close Guantanamo he still needs to bring prisoners to be held/tried on the US mainland. He could do that through an executive order, but I don’t see it happening. More likely is another attempt to sway Congress this year, but with the mid-terms coming, who knows how that’s going to go? If Guantanamo’s going to close under Obama, I think it still may be in his dying days as the president, in 2015. For now, he needs to make progress by releasing cleared prisoners, and, of course, making a start on releasing the Yemenis.

  5. arcticredriver says...

    Andy, thanks again for your work in covering the heartbreaking stories of these men.

    It has been a long time since I read through all the transcripts. I took another look at al-Rahabi’s docket at the NYTimes site. It only covers his CSRT, which he attended, and his 2007 ARB hearing, which he did not attend. The NYTimes did not publish any documents from a 2005 and 2006 hearing. In theory only the captives who faced charges were exempt from having their status reviewed. I did not recall this gap. I wonder whether the NYTimes missed the documents, or whether OARDEC messed up, or whether they thought he was on the brink of being charged in 2005 and 2006.

    In his own account he said he crossed from Kandahar into Pakistan. The DoD claims he was captured crossing from Tora Bora, in Nangarhar. The DoD has not made public the reasons why it does not believe his version. Until they do so I am going to continue to regard it as a possibility that his own account is the credible version.

    I noticed that the allegations against him claimed that he attended the Khaldan camp in 1995, and that it described it as an “al qaeda camp”. I think you have published several accounts where you described your conclusion the Khaldan camp had never been an al Qaeda camp, had always been a rival camp. You described how Osama bin Laden’s jealousy lead him to pressure the individuals running the Khaldan camp to knuckle under, swear obedience to OBL, and put their camp under his control. You described how Ibn Al Sheikh Al Libi told the others at the camp how the philosophy of the Khaldan camp differed from that of al Qaeda, and how it would be better to shut the camp down.

    I recently quoted my memory of your conclusions in comments I made elsewhere.

    I think it is worth noting again that this allegation that he attended Khaldan in 1995 isn’t credible because he would then have been about 16 years old. I think it is worth noting that OBL and al Qaeda were still in Sudan in 1995 — and so presumably were any al Qaeda training camps.

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, arcticredriver. Good to hear from you, as always.
    You’re correct to note that it’s unusual that there are no unclassified summaries provided for al-Rahabi’s first and second round ARBs, as these were issued whether or not the prisoners in question agreed to take part (and, as we know, after realizing the CSRTs were shams, many didn’t take part in the ARBs). I wonder what the reason is. Even if charges were being considered (which I doubt), there should have been unclassified summaries of evidence.
    As for Abu Zubaydah and Khaldan, yes, that’s correct. I just checked out what Jason Leopold had written in his important article, “Government Recants Major Terror Claims Against High-Value Detainee Abu Zubaydah,” published in March 2010. Leopold wrote that the Justice Department, in a court filing,”agrees that Khaldan was ‘organizationally and operationally independent’ of al-Qaeda’s camps. The filing also backed off other claims made by Bush administration officials that Zubaydah knew the identities of specific individuals who trained at Khaldan and later went on to al-Qaeda-operated camps and allegedly took part in terrorist activities.”

  7. arcticredriver says...

    I have been reading observers accounts of how the unclassified portion of al Rahab’s hearing differed from a CSR Tribunal.

    I have used a link to a reference to a briefing given by a “senior DoD official”, circa 2005, who said that of the 558 CSR Tribunals held in 2004 or January 2005, exactly 37 were observed by the press. 37 out of 558 — a disappointing level of transparency.

    I came across this BBC account of attending the 61st ARB status hearing, in April 2005. The reporter said that it was the first ARB hearing to be observed by the press. Again, this was a disappointing level of transparency.

    Of course this was all before reporters were allowed to learn the captive’s name.

    We know the DoD held 14 CSR Tribunals in 2007 for the fourteen captives transferred from the CIA’s torture sites. The press were not allowed to attend these panels.

    It was my impression that many of the hearings, were technically open for reporters to attend, they were defacto closed, because it was the job of public affairs officers like frequent visitor to this site, Commander Gordon, chose not to inform reporters. I have seen no indication that reporters were invited to attend the ARB hearings held in 2006, 2007 or 2008.

    No summary of evidence, transcripts, or summaries of transcripts, or decision reports have been made public from the 2009 Guantanamo Review Task Force.

    What observers said differed between the CSRT and the PRB was:
    Scripted, al Rahab’s prepared statement was read, but he was not allowed to speak.
    Scripted, the Board members asked no questions.
    Unlike the CSRT al Rahab’s lawyer was allowed to be present. Back in 2004 lawyers were not allowed. The few captives who had been allowed to communicate with a lawyer had all been advised not to attend. Attendance at the CSRT was optional. I wonder if attendance at the PRB is optional. I think I told you how I found only 3 captives attended their 2007 ARB.
    Zak Newman of the ACLU said that unlike a CSRT the Personal Representative(s) were not invited to participate in the classified portion of the hearing. So, whatever clarification they might be able to offer to refute inconsistent or nonsensical classified allegations simply won’t happen.
    In the CSRT the Recorder was tasked to organize and deliver the allegations against the captive, and in the ARB hearings an officer with a different title had that task — although, I think you noted your found in some hearings the officer who was supposed to help the captive also indulged in a prosecutorial role. Accounts of the hearing, so far, seem to show no one present in the unclassified portion had this responsibility.

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, arcticredriver, for investigating those claims about the transparency of the tribunals and review boards at Guantanamo under President Bush. I recall that when I first read, in current articles about the PRBs, mention of journalists attending these tribunals, I couldn’t immediately recall journalists having been present at all, but I then remembered that I had read articles like the one from the BBC in 2005 that you cited. Overall, though, I would agree that there was little attention given by the media to the Bush-era tribunals and review boards, although whether that was because of obstruction on the part of the authorities or indifference on the part of the media I can’t say. I do remember that it was rather dispiriting that the reporters didn’t even get to identify the men whose fates they were monitoring.
    Of course, the main point of Bush’s reviews seems to have been to preserve the status quo by clearing few prisoners for release, something that was made clear when reports of the “do-over” tribunals first emerged, and that also emerged from Stephen Abraham’s reports of the ineptitude of the whole process, whereas I do think the PRBs are a genuine attempt to ascertain whether or not those who come before them can be released – or rather, approved for release. The major involvement of the men’s attorneys, the long hearings, the high-level nature of the board members – all indicate that they are being taken seriously.

  9. arcticredriver says...

    Here is a link to the briefing. Reporters would not know whether the captive was going to attend their Tribunal. Something like 40 percent of the captives didn’t attend their hearing. I wonder whether reporters were merely sent away, when the captive did not attend, or whether the panel went through the charade of having an unclassified session, reading out the half dozen allegations, inviting the PR to offer his paragraph of paraphrasing the captive’s story, and then dismissing the press.

    Here is the passage in question, which is an answer to whether the press would be allowed to attend the CSR Tribunals of the 14 men transferred from the CIA’s torture camps.

    SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: I’m sorry. My apologies. The ground rules for the first CSRTs back in ’04-’05 were if you were on island, generally it was for the military commissions, you were permitted. We had 37 tribunals of the 558 tribunals attended by media, of the first 558 CSRTs.

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks for the further information about the CSRTs, arcticredriver. I hadn’t seen that transcript before. How extraordinary that reporters only got to attend hearings if they happened to be on the island at the time tribunals were taking place, and they happened to ask about them. Under those circumstances it’s amazing that even 37 of the 558 tribunals were attended.
    As for what happened when the prisoners refused to attend, I would guess that those running the show went through the charade anyway. I remember Omar Deghayes telling me how ridiculous the whole process was, with review after review taking place as though the prisoners were on a conveyor belt.

  11. arcticredriver says...

    Here is a recent interview with David Remes

    One interesting thing about it is that his strategy is to avoid trying to disprove the initial allegations that Abdel Malik had been a jihadi or jihadi sympathizer in 2001, and focus instead on how much of a compliant peacemaker he had been in the camps since 2002.

    Another interesting thing is that he described how Abdel Malik had enrolled in courses at Guantanamo, including art classes, and had become a proficient painter. Two of Omar Khadr’s Guantanamo paintings have been made public. It might further humanize Abdel Malik in Mr Remes made the best of Abdel Malik’s painting public, on the wikipedia’s companion site, wikimedia commons, or elsewhere. Andy, if you have his email address would you ask him to consider asking his clients to each consider publishing one or more of their paintings? You can give him my email address, and I will help

    Cheers!

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, arcticredriver, for finding that interview, which I had missed. I hope David’s approach works. Certainly, the impression given by the PRBs to date is that they’re functioning rather like parole boards, although I wait to see real results, when prisoners cleared are actually released – especially the Yemenis.
    Publicizing the prisoners’ art always seems to me to be a good idea. Let me see if I can help.

  13. Andy Worthington says...

    Sun Beams wrote:

    Poor Ayesha :-(

  14. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes indeed, Sun Beams. It’s so horrible hearing about these fathers being separated from their children. I imagine if I’d not seen my son since he was just a year old, as he was when Guantanamo opened, and it’s really not a happy thought.

  15. Andy Worthington says...

    Sun Beams wrote:

    I can’t imagine being separated from my children either. That would be awful. And it’s especially terrible for the children because in their formative years they need the unconditional love, guidance and care that (typically) only parents can provide. Although, in our world children can be raised by a variety of different care-givers. The most important thing is the children receive love and create a bond with their care-giver. In this case, Ayesha has a father who loves her and whom she loves but cannot see because he is locked away – despite his innocence. The injustice of that is truly sad. It’s not like he moved away to another city and she can see him on weekends — he was torn away — and is locked away indefinitely! That is hard to fathom.

  16. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, I hope she understands, Sun Beams. Some children do, but others find it difficult, At school they are taunted by racists kids telling them their dad’s a terrorist, and it’s easy for them just to feel abandoned, and not to understand.

  17. arcticredriver says...

    Charlie Savage, of the NYTimes, and other reporters, have recently reported on the documents from al Rahabi’s PRB — four new documents recently having been made public
    * 3 paragraph unclassified summary The ARB allegation memos were usually 3 to 4 pages long
    * 4 page opening statement from the Personal Representatives
    * 148 page detainee written submission
    * 12 page transcript of the unclassified session, starting at 9:00 am — this is the part that was open to observers via video
    * 39 page transcript of the unclassified session, starting at 9:44 — I believe this part of the hearing was closed to observers, as observes said they were allowed to view something like 19 minutes. So what happened between 9:20 and 9:44? My guess? In Rahabi’s PRB the allegations were not made public. I think that from 9:20 to 9:44 the case officer repeated allegations. On the pages of the 2nd transcript hostile board members ask Rahabi to define his relationship with jihad and takfir — concepts not mentioned in the summary.
    * 3 paragraph prb determination

    The Periodic Review Secretariat information page describes the first 9 boards as being full boards. Rahabi’s PRB’s final determination says he will have another review in 6 months — however, given the pace at which the initial reviews have been scheduled it is hard to credit they will have finished the first reviews for the remaining 69 men by then.

    I wonder if they will call the 2nd and subsequent reviews 2ndary?

    Something else I noticed from the transcripts — Rahabi had 2 Personal Representatives, and they testified they met with him for 45 hours. 45 hours is about two orders of magnitude longer than the average amount of time OARDEC Personal Representatives and Assisting Military Officers spent talking the captives for OARDEC reviews.

    As I read through the 2nd transcript, I am struck by how hostile and unprofessional one of the Board members is on pages 4 and 5, as if he was trying to trick or trap Rahabi into making an anti-American statement that could be twisted to support the meme that he will be a risk, if released — when he had already clearly said he had no interest in jihad and takfir.

  18. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, arcticredriver, for alerting me to that. I was out all day and so missed the latest developments. I’ll look into it tomorrow.

  19. arcticredriver says...

    A third PRB hearing took place today.
    I left the following comment on the lawfare page where it was mentioned.

    It is noteworthy that he chose to forgo having any legal advice during his hearing. Maybe he thought that forgoing the advice of a lawyer would make him seem more honest.

    In the transcripts from the OARDEC hearing, when the Personal Representatives stated how long they had spent talking with the captive, prior to the hearing, it turned out most usually spent less than an hour. But al-Rahizi’s PR’s state they spent 40 hours with him, and the PRs for al-Rahibi, the previous guy, said they spent 56 hours.

    It sounds like the captives are under the impression these reviews will be less of a pro-forma dismissal than the OARDEC hearings.

    Attendance at the first OARDEC hearings, the CSR Tribunals, held in 2004, was about 60 percent. But, attendance quickly dropped off at the annual hearings held in subsequent years. OARDEC convened about 100 hearings in 2007, and the record seems to show just three captives chose to attend.

    The final noteworthy thing, to my mind at least, is that none of the three captives, so far, has chosen to challenge the allegations that were used to justify their detention in the first place — even though those allegations could be wildly contradictory, or were based on anonymous innuendo, or could have been easily refuted if only someone had taken the obvious step of checking their alibis. I wonder whether the PRs have counseled the captives that protesting their innocence will backfire. I think we see this phenomenon at parole boards, when genuinely innocent men are wrongfully convicted, they are less likely to be granted parole, because those genuinely innocent men don’t show contrition.

  20. arcticredriver says...

    Oh, yeah, there seems to be something wrong with the version of the statement from al-Rahizi’s PR. As of today, as published, it is three brief pages, but pages 2 and 3 are duplicates, making me wonder how many pages are missing.
    http://www.prs.mil/Portals/60/Documents/ISN045/140320_U_ISN045_PR_STATEMENT_PRB.pdf

  21. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, arcticredriver. As you will no doubt have seen, I have now published my thoughts on what I regard as the disgraceful decision of the Periodic Review Board to recommend the continued imprisonment of Abd al-Malik al-Rahabi, who received the 2nd PRB: http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/2014/03/21/guantanamo-where-unsubstantiated-suspicion-of-terrorism-ensures-indefinite-detention-even-after-12-years/
    I’ll be looking shortly at the 3rd PRB that you mention, of Ali Ahmad al-Razihi, although it doesn’t look hopeful, as he too was judged to be a member of the spectral “Dirty 30.”
    As for the approach taken by the prisoners during their hearings, and in their statements, I can’t say for certain, but it does seem to me that challenges to the so-called evidence have been avoided to date, with a focus instead on establishing how the men in question don’t pose a threat – an approach that sadly failed to persuade the PRB in al-Rahabi’s case.

  22. Andy Worthington says...

    I think they’ve resolved the issue, arcticredriver, although they seem to have changed all the URLs. It’s at: http://www.prs.mil/Portals/60/Documents/ISN045/140320_U_ISN045_PR_STATEMENT_PRB_UNCLASS.pdf
    And here’s the government’s position:
    http://www.prs.mil/Portals/60/Documents/ISN045/131229_U_ISN045_GOVERNMENT'S_UNCLASSIFIED_PUBLIC.pdf

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