Penitent Pakistani Seeks Release from Guantánamo, as Two Yemenis and a Moroccan are Approved for Release and an Algerian’s Request is Denied


Pakistani prisoner Abdul Rahim Ghulam Rabbani, in a photo from Guantanamo included in the classified military files released by WikiLeaks in 2011.On July 7, a Periodic Review Board took place for Abdul Rahim Ghulam Rabbani (also identified for the PRB as Abdul Rabbani Abu Rahmah), a Pakistani prisoner at Guantánamo (born in Saudi Arabia) who was seized in Karachi, Pakistan on September 9, 2002 and held and tortured in CIA “black sites” for two years, before arriving at Guantánamo with nine other allegedly “medium-value detainees” in September 2004. He was seized with his younger brother, Ahmad (aka Mohammed), who is awaiting a date for his PRB, and who, last year, sought assistance from the Pakistani government in a submission to the Pakistani courts.

The PRBs were set up in 2013 to review the cases of all the men not already approved for release or facing trials. These men were described by the government task force that reviewed their cases in 2009 as “too dangerous to release,” despite a lack of evidence against them, or were recommended for prosecution, until the basis for prosecution largely collapsed. The PRBs have been functioning like parole boards, with the men in question — 64 in total — having to establish, to the satisfaction of the board members, made up of representatives of the Departments of State, Defense, Justice and Homeland Security, as well as the office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that they show remorse for their previous actions, that they bear no ill-will towards the US, that they have no associations with anyone regarded as being involved in terrorism, and that they have plans in place for their life after Guantánamo, preferably with the support of family members.

Around the time of Abdul Rahim Ghulam Rabbani’s PRB, which is discussed at length below, four decisions were also taken relating to prisoners whose reviews had already taken place, when three men were approved for release, and one had his request to be released turned down. These decisions meant that, of the 52 prisoners whose cases had been reviewed, 27 have been approved for release, 13 have had their ongoing imprisonment recommended, and 12 decisions have yet to be made. 11 more reviews have yet to take place (and one took place last week, which I’ll be writing about soon). See here for my definitive Periodic Review Board list on the website of the Close Guantánamo campaign that I co-founded with the US attorney Tom Wilner, and that I have been running since 2012.

Four recent decisions — three recommendations for release and one for ongoing detention

On July 6, Muhammed Rajab Sadiq Abu Ghanim (ISN 44), a Yemeni reviewed on May 17, was approved for release. I wrote about his review in an article entitled, Periodic Review Board at Guantánamo for Yemeni Subjected to Long-Term Sleep Deprivation in Prison’s Early Years.

Decisions by the review boards must be unanimous, with the board members starting that, by consensus, they have “determined that continued law of war detention of the detainee does not remain necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the security of the United States.”

In the final determination in Ghanim’s case, the board members “considered [his] improved behavior in detention since mid-2013, [his] relative forthrightness with the Board regarding his activities prior to detention, to include fighting in Afghanistan with the Taliban, and [his] comprehension of and remorse for the effects of his actions on others.” The board members “also noted [his] candor and detail provided … regarding his change in mindset while in detention, [his] efforts to expose himself to other cultures while in detention, and [his] decision to take advantage of educational opportunities while in detention.”

In conclusion, the board recommended “transfer to preferably a Gulf country with reintegration support, the capacity to implement robust security measures, and the ability to keep the detainee productively engaged.”

On July 11, two more prisoners were approved for release. The first, Shawqi Awad Balzuhair (ISN 838), another Yemeni, had his case reviewed on May 31, as I wrote about here. He is one of six men initially regarded as members of an al-Qaeda cell in Karachi, but the government eventually walked back from that claim. Two of the six have already been recommended for release, and three others are awaiting the results of their reviews. In their final determination, the board members stated that they had “considered that [his] degree of involvement and significance in extremist activities has been reassessed to be that of a low-level fighter,” and had “also noted [his] lack of expression of support for extremist ideologies, [his] compliance record at Guantánamo, and [his] lack of ongoing extremist ties.”

The third man to be recommended for release was Abdul Latif Nasir (ISN 244), the last Moroccan in the prison, whose review took place on June 7, which I wrote about here. in their final determination, the board members noted that, although they had determined that continued law of war detention was no longer necessary, they also recognized that he “presents some level of threat in light of his past activities, skills, and associations,” although they also “found that in light of the factors and conditions of transfer identified below, the threat [he] presents can be adequately mitigated.” Those conditions, essentially, involved a recommendation for “transfer only to Morocco.”

The board members also noted that they had “considered [his] candid responses to the Board’s questions regarding his reasons for going to Afghanistan and activities while there,” and “also noted that [he] has multiple avenues for support upon transfer, to include a well-established family with a willingness and ability to provide him with housing, realistic employment opportunities, and economic support.” Finally, the board members noted that they “considered [his] renunciation of violence, that [he] has committed a low number of disciplinary infractions while in detention, [his] efforts to educate himself while at Guantánamo through classes and self-study, and that [he] has had no contact with individuals involved in terrorism-related activities outside of Guantánamo.”

The man whose detention was upheld was Saeed Bakhouche (ISN 685), an Algerian seized in a house raid in Faisalabad, Pakistan in March 2002 with the alleged “high-value detainee” Abu Zubaydah. I wrote about his case at the time of his review, on May 24, when I noted the US authorities’ longstanding problems identifying who he is, in an article entitled, The Man They Don’t Know: Saeed Bakhouche, an Algerian, Faces a Periodic Review Board at Guantánamo.

Nevertheless, Bakhouche, also identified as Abdel Razak Ali or Said Bakush, failed to ask his lawyer to attend his review, even though the presence of and contributions of the prisoners’ lawyers often help to frame their responses in a way that is helpful to the board members, and he clearly failed to make a good impression. In their final determination, the board members, having stated that, by consensus, they had “determined that continued law of war detention of the detainee remains necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the security of the United States,” explained that they had “considered [his] elevated threat profile as evidenced by his prior roles in Afghanistan and prior associations, [his] insistence that he’s had no change in mindset, insufficient information presented to assess [his] intent, and contradictory and implausible Information provided by [him] regarding his travel to Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as his activities while there.” The board members also noted that “there was no indication of any support network to help [him] upon his transfer and uncertainty as to whether [he] can implement his plans for the future.”

The board members encourages him “to be open and candid” in future communications with the board. They also stated that they would welcome “information on family or other social support available“ to him, and “look[ed] forward to reviewing [his] file in six months. Specifically, the board members noted that they were “interested in receiving information from the Government of Algeria regarding its plans for him upon repatriation and reintegration support it could provide.”

Abdul Rahim Ghulam Rabbani’s Periodic Review Board

At his Periodic Review Board on June 7, Abdul Rahim Ghulam Rabbani expressed profound regrets for his past activities, which I discuss below, as well as posting transcripts of statements made by his legal and military representatives, who added important information not covered by the US authorities — in particular, his limited education and limited educational abilities, and his profound sense of remorse at having become involved with al-Qaeda, which he did only to support his family. I hope that this augurs well for the result of his review, as it seems clear to me that there is no reason for him to continue to be held.

In a brief description of him at his review, Courthouse News explained how he “could be seen on the monitor at the Pentagon, which aired the hearing via closed-circuit from Guantánamo, with a long, dark beard and wearing a long-sleeved white shirt and a white prayer hat.”

In my book The Guantánamo Files, published in 2007, I explained how, according to the 9/11 Commission Report, the elder brother was “an ‘al-Qaeda member who worked closely with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed [the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks] in Karachi, and assisted many of the 9/11 hijackers,’ specifically by providing them with a safe house in 2000, after their training in Afghanistan and before they flew out to the United States.”

I added that these allegations “were reiterated in the brothers’ tribunals at Guantánamo: Mohammed was presented as a junior partner, accused of being ‘a senior al-Qaeda operative’, who knew Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and met Osama bin Laden on six or seven occasions, and who also moved mujahideen between Afghanistan and Pakistan and ran ‘an al-Qaeda guest house’ with his brother, whereas Abdul Rahim was presented as a full-blown member of al-Qaeda, who acted as a facilitator for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed for three years, and was ‘a well-known Karachi-based al-Qaeda facilitator who had transported many al-Qaeda members from safe houses to the Karachi apartment.’”

It was also alleged that “he ‘operated or resided at six al-Qaeda safe houses in Karachi with a senior al-Qaeda lieutenant,’ and that he was a member of an al-Qaeda cell planning car bomb attacks against US forces.” I also added, in a passage that I still find significant, “While there seems little doubt that the two men ran a safe house in Karachi, a Pakistani intelligence official cast doubt on the extent of their involvement with terrorism in October 2006. Speaking about the Pakistani prisoners in Guantánamo, he mentioned the brothers, saying, ‘Although they have served for Khalid Sheikh as his employees, they were not linked with al-Qaeda.’”

In its unclassified summary for the PRB, the US government contradicted the Pakistani intelligence official’s assessment, describing Rabbani (ISN 1460), who is 46 or 47 years old, as “an al-Qa’ida facilitator who worked directly for al-Qa’ida external operations chief Khalid Shaykh Muhammad (KU-I 0024) from around 1999 until his arrest in September 2002,” whose “primary role was to run al-Qa’ida safehouses in Karachi, Pakistan, and to assist Muhammad in transporting and housing al-Qa’ ida fighters, equipment, documents, and money.” After 9/11, the summary continued, he “played a prominent role in moving fighters from Afghanistan to Pakistan and housed several key al-Qa’ida figures in Karachi, including the al-Qa’ida media committee.”

The summary also suggested that “[h]is access to Muhammad and other senior al-Qa’ida members probably positioned [him] to play a support role in al-Qa’ida operations, including 9/11, Karachi-based attack plotting, and possibly the al-Qa’ida anthrax program, although we judge that [he] most likely did not have specific insight into al-Qa’ida operational plans.” This certainly seems to exaggerate Rabbani’s role, as I find it inconceivable that he would have been informed in advance of the 9/11 attacks, and the notion that he knew anything about an anthrax plot is also extremely tenuous, as is revealed by the authorities’ use of the word “possibly.” Furthermore, his representatives’ explanation of his limited education, and his inability to understand complex issues (as discussed below) decisively add to the notion that the US government’s claims bear no relation to the reality of Mr. Rabbani’s position as a lowly provider of transport and accommodation for al-Qaeda.

The summary, however, also ran through his involvement with al-Qaeda, claiming that his “extremist activity began around late 1998 when his brother, Mohammed Ahmed Ghulam Rabbani (PK-1461), recruited him to go to Afghanistan,” and adding that he “traveled from Karachi, Pakistan, to Afghanistan and attended Khaldan camp near Khowst for basic weapons training but was kicked out after a short period for smoking.”

After this ignominious start, which, it seems to me, only serves to reveals a man who lacked commitment to any militant causes (and inadvertantly confirming, as his lawyers state below, that he only became involved with al-Qaeda for money), the summary noted that he “returned to Karachi, where he first met Muhammad and started his work as a facilitator,” adding, “He started out as a cook in Karachi-based safehouses, transported fighters between Pakistan and Afghanistan, and moved equipment for Muhammad. As a part of his duties before 9/11, [he] frequently acquired equipment for the al-Qa’ida media committee, which was then housed in Kandahar, Afghanistan.”

Turning to his time at Guantánamo, the summary noted that he “has been mostly compliant with the guard force,” which is helpful for prisoners seeking release, but that he “is extremely vocal about camp dynamics and very sensitive to changes in his living situation.” On intelligence, it was stated that he “has exhibited varying levels of cooperation with interrogators and provided most information of value shortly after his arrest in September 2002,” and that he “gave insights into his experience as a facilitator and his interactions with senior al-Qa’ida members.”

It was also stated that he “has not admitted to being aware of al-Qa’ida attack plotting details, either because he really was ignorant of them or because he is attempting to mask his involvement in anything beyond facilitation activities.” As mentioned above, I strongly suspect that the former explanation rather than the latter is accurate, as al-Qaeda leaders had no reason to include a Pakistani facilitator in their plans.

Moving on to considerations of his eligibility for release, the summary noted that comments he has made “suggest anti-American sentiment, most likely due to his extended detainment, and that he may have an extremist mindset.” In contrast, however, and much more significantly, to my mind, it was noted that he “has indicated that he has non-extremist plans post-detention, including reuniting with his wife and sons and getting a job, such as a taxi driver or working in a shop.”

It was also noted that, although he “had access to a broad network of terrorist contacts, given his close association with Muhammad and his experience as an al-Qa’ida facilitator, many of his contacts have been detained or killed.” It was also noted, significantly, that he “has had no known contact with at-large terrorists during his time in detention,” although the US authorities inferred from this that it made it “difficult to assess if [he] would have a clear avenue for reengagement after release.” It was also noted — again, with significance — that his “immediate family has no known ties to terrorism.”

In contrast, as noted briefly above, Rabbani’s personal representatives (military officers assigned to help prisoners prepare for their PRBs) and his attorney, Agnieszka Fryszman, provided a far more sympathetic portrait of Rabbani as “a simple man,” who is “not well educated,” and who, moreover, is thoroughly remorseful for his actions assisting al-Qaeda members, which he did solely to support his family. As Fryszman stated, he “has never been an ideologue or jihadist,” and, in ten years of meeting with him, “he has never once — not even a single time — expressed any anger or animus towards the United States or towards any American citizen.” It was also noted that he has been well-behaved at Guantánamo, that “he sweeps up and cleans his block,” and that he “stays away from conflict,” and also that there is a plan for his release co-ordinated with his very supportive family members, either in Pakistan or in Saudi Arabia.

The opening statements are below:

Periodic Review Board Initial Hearing, 7 July 2016
Abdul Rabbani Abu Rahmah, ISN 1460
Personal Representative Opening Statement

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the Board. We are the Personal Representatives (PRs) for ISN 1460, Mr. Abdul Rahim Mawlana Ghulam Rabbani, and will be assisting Mr. Rabbani with his case this morning.

Abdul Rahim has maintained a positive attitude and cooperated in the Periodic Review process since his initial notification and has participated in all scheduled meetings. We have been surprised by his candid answers to all of our questions. He does not paint a rosy picture of his past and has told us of specific past decisions and actions that resulted in legal issues. He strikes us as a simple person with minimal education. Due to his inability to read or write well, a fellow detainee agreed to write his statement for him. Because of this, we believe his personal statement may not appear as open or candid, but we believe Abdul Rahim’s responses to Board questions may provide more insight into his pre-detention activities. While he does have some difficulty understanding abstract questions, he mentioned he will do his best to answer your questions completely.

Though he completed elementary school, he was unable to pursue more formal education. To support himself, he found work driving taxis, leading tours, coached Arkan Sport Football Club, a Karachi minor league soccer team, as well as buying and selling merchandise as a young adult. These low-income positions, however, did not sustain his wife and children in the late 1990s, so Abdul Rahim began working for Al Qaida. He located housing and arranged transportation for their fighters to provide for his family prior to his capture and detention. At the time, he did not fully understand the effects of his actions and prioritized family support, care, and feeding. Abdul Rahim quickly realized during his time in Guantánamo, though, that Al Qaida is a terrorist organization and that it was wrong to aid their fighters as a housing and transportation facilitator.

Abdul Rahim often thinks of reuniting with and how to resume supporting his wife and two teenage sons after his transfer from Guantánamo Bay. He has been a quiet, compliant detainee preferring to spend his time watching soccer and reading the Quran. He is open to transfer to any Arabic-speaking country in the Gulf region, but prefers Saudi Arabia to Pakistan due to the deteriorating security and safety situation in that country, and is willing to participate in any rehabilitation or reintegration program required for transfer. Abdul Rahim is an avid soccer player and sports fan. He encourages his sons to train in martial arts to help them focus, exercise, and learn discipline. Abdul mentioned the possibility of becoming a small business owner running a martial arts studio or return to taxi driving. Based on the outpouring of family statements of support from both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, they are more than ready to provide for him whenever he is transferred, and to help him find honest work possibly in carpentry or as a private chauffeur, or any other trade. Additionally, his PC and Reprieve agree to help him adjust to life after his transfer.

We are confident that Abdul Rahim’s desire to pursue a peaceful way of life, to raise his sons as good citizens, and to dissuade them from joining extremist groups if transferred from Guantánamo Bay, is genuine. The support from his family and Reprieve will help him return to society as a productive citizen, and to reject Al Qaida or any other terrorist organization in the future. Based on everything we have seen and heard during our meetings, as well as the statements from his family and his PC, we do not believe that Abdul Rahim is a continuing significant threat to the United States.

Thank you for your time and attention and we look forward to answering any questions you may have during this Board.

Periodic Review Board Initial Hearing, 7 July 2016
Abdul Rabbani Abu Rahmah
Private Counsel Opening Statement

Good Morning. My name is Agnieszka Fryszman and I am one of the private counsel for Abdul Rabbani. I spent the start of my career working for the United States government. I am now in private practice and focus primarily on representing victims of human trafficking and other human rights abuses, including representing victims of terror attacks.

Thank you for the opportunity to assist Mr. Rabbani in this review process.

I have represented Mr. Rabbani since 2005 and have had many meetings with him over that time.

In my statement I will focus on four things that I will summarize and then turn to in more detail:

1. Consistently over the 10 years that we have met with him, Mr. Rabbani has accepted the reason for his incarceration here. He has acknowledged responsibility for his mistakes and his conduct.

2. Mr. Rabbani has never been an ideologue or jihadist. Over the 10 years that we have met with him, he has never once — not even a single time — expressed any anger or animus towards the United States or towards any American citizen.

3. During his time at Guantánamo, Mr. Rabbani has kept himself busy with simple pursuits — he sweeps up and cleans his block, for example — and stays away from conflict.

4. There is a plan in place to support Mr. Rabbani. lf he is approved for transfer, he will have housing, job opportunities and be supported by his family as well as receive NGO support, including from the Life After Guantánamo Project, as demonstrated by the stack of letters we have submitted.

I believe Mr. Rabbani squarely fits the criteria this panel has used when evaluating detainees for successful repatriation.

Mr. Rabbani is a simple man. He is not well educated. When he is nervous or uncomfortable, it is easy to tell. This hearing is undoubtedly stressful for him. You will probably not see his humor or gentle nature in this setting. You will see that he sometimes struggles with comprehension and abstract questions.

Nonetheless, as Mr. Rabbani recently said to me, “I have had a lot of time to think about the mistakes I made.”

As my co-counsel John Holland explains in his statement, which you have in your packet, Mr. Rabbani was an indigent Arabic-speaking, off-and-on taxi driver in Karachi when he was hired for a steady, relatively well-paid job: to provide labor for Khalid Sheik Mohammed. He performed tasks as directed and was paid a salary.

That is a job he certainly regrets taking.

In his own words: “I found myself in a hole. I don’t want to find myself in a hole again. I was an idiot.” He has also said, “at the end of the day, I deserve what happened to me. I hope you will forgive me and allow me to turn a new page.”

Mr. Rabbani did not act for ideological or hate filled reasons. During the entire ten years we have represented him, he has never expressed to us any anti-American sentiment. He has never expressed to us any anger or intent to harm anyone. He’s even said he appreciates the prison management and thinks they are doing a good job.

He has always treated me and all of the lawyers on his team with the utmost respect and courtesy, whether they are men, women, Christians or Jews. He asks after our families and shares information on folk remedies for health problems. He has a gentle sense of humor.

During his time at Guantánamo, Mr. Rabbani has most recently occupied himself by cleaning his cell block. He cleans the block twice a week, including the showers and sometimes the rooms. He brings food in and takes food out. The guards provide him with trash bags, soap, and cleaning supplies.

He does this to have something constructive to do. My understanding is that he has been a compliant detainee and that he follows the rules. He’s told me that he avoids conflict and does not want to be around detainees who cause trouble.

For example, his brother is here at Guantánamo and is a hunger striker. Abdul tried to talk his brother out of hunger striking.

That is how he will be if and when he is returned home.

He knows that he is no longer young and he has matured while here. Mr. Rabbani is acutely aware of the time he has lost with his family, his wife and his sons. He is aware that he has lost that time as a consequence of his own actions.

He has, however, stayed in contact with his family via the skype and telephone calls provided by the ICRC. They are a close family and are eager to have him back. Mr. Rabbani is eager to return home, to live with his children, and to raise them with his wife. He’d like to coach them in soccer and wants the boys to learn computer skills. He is determined to help them build a good life.

Mr. Rabbani’s wife owns her home in Karachi, Pakistan. She and her family are prepared to support Mr. Rabbani when he returns. Her father and brothers live nearby, and have held steady working class jobs as carpenters. They are prepared to provide training and job opportunities to Mr. Rabbani. None of these family members have ties to extremists.

For example, Mr. Rabbani ‘s father-in-law writes that he and his sons are in a position to help Abdul with his return to normal life and will do all they can to support him. The father taught his sons carpentry, still has many connections in the trade and will assist Abdul in promptly finding steady work, as he did with his own sons. Five declarations from relatives and neighbors in Karachi, all people prepared to assist with Mr. Rabbani’s repatriation, have been submitted to you.

Mr. Rabbani also has family in Saudi Arabia. His family in Medina is stable and middle class. They all have their own apartments and steady jobs, or have retired from steady jobs. For example, his sister’s four children are all college educated, including a daughter who is a computer programmer and a son who has a PhD. The brothers have held steady employment as private chauffeurs for over 30 years. The family in Medina is prepared to provide Mr. Rabbani and his family an apartment, substantial support, and a job as a driver. None of these family members have ties to extremists. Indeed, to the contrary, the family stated that “If any family member were so inclined — and they are not — the family would report him to the Ministry of lnterior immediately.”

As the family wrote in their declaration, “we are prepared to bring Abdul home to Medina, have him close to us where our families can provide a positive example and a source of stability, and ensure that he is provided the support he will need.”

Mr. Rabbani’s simple skills — driving, cooking — are easily transferable. The Reprieve Life After Guantánamo Project believes he is well situated to find work in these areas and is prepared to support him as he does so. Two declarations from the Life After Guantánamo Project are in your packet.

Mr. Rabbani would prefer to make a clean break with the past, and not return to Pakistan. He’d prefer to go to Saudi Arabia, if possible, and have his wife and children join him there. Finally, wherever he is transferred, Mr. Rabbani is willing to agree to appropriate security measures, and to participate in a rehabilitation program.

I’d like to close with Mr. Rabbani’s own words: “I have had a lot of time to think about the mistakes I made. I didn’t know anything about politics until I got myself into trouble. I found myself in a big hole. At the end of the day, I deserve what happened to me. I hope you will forgive me and allow me to turn a new page.”

Thank you for your consideration.

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer, film-maker and singer-songwriter (the lead singer and main songwriter for the London-based band The Four Fathers, whose debut album ‘Love and War’ and EP ‘Fighting Injustice’ are available here to download or on CD via Bandcamp). He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign (and the Countdown to Close Guantánamo initiative, launched in January 2016), the co-director of We Stand With Shaker, which called for the release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison (finally freed on October 30, 2015), and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by the University of Chicago Press in the US, and available from Amazon, including a Kindle edition — 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).

To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to Andy’s RSS feed — and he can also be found on Facebook (and here), Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Also see the six-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, and The Complete Guantánamo Files, an ongoing, 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011. Also see the definitive Guantánamo habeas list, the full military commissions list, and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.

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12 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here’s my latest article looking at the recent Periodic Review Board for ‪Guantanamo‬ prisoner Abdul Rahim Ghulam Rabbani, a Pakistani of limited education who helped al-Qaeda with transport and accommodation in Karachi, but did so only to support his family. It is to be hoped that the board will recommend his release, as they have, in the last two weeks, wth three other men – two Yemenis and the last Moroccan in the prison. Just one other man – an Algerian – has had his ongoing imprisonment approved in this period, and the current results from the PRBs are: 27 men approved for release, 13 recommended for ongoing detention, a 67% success rate for the prisoners.

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Marc Damien Rhodes-Taylor wrote:

    good luck to him fingers crossed!

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Marc. Yes, I think releasing him would be appropriate. He’s spent 14 years imprisoned for driving and sorting out accommodation for terrorists, which he did because a job was offered and he needed the money. He only had the most basic education, and he appears to be genuinely remorseful for what he did.

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Marc Damien Rhodes-Taylor wrote:

    seems quite right then.

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, I think so, Marc. The board might decide he’s lying, but I can’t see a good reason for that.

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Now updated – my definitive Periodic Review Board list on the Close Guantanamo website:

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Joyce McCloy wrote:

    Hey Andy is Mohamedou Ould Slahi going to get released?

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    I’m hopeful, Joyce, but we’ve had no announcement yet. It could be anytime soon.

  9. Martin says...

    Mohamedou Ould Slahi has been APPROVED for transfer. So has the last insignificant Afghan Abdul Zahir. Congratulations Mr. Worthington. I told you the PRB was fair. Out of all the detainees, Slahi and Tariq Sawah were clearly the most remorseful and rehabilitated detainees. Even a prison guard said he would welcome Slahi into his home as a guest. I hope he’s sent home by Christmas. Saifullah Paracha didn’t show remorse. He came across as lacking empathy in his written statement which didn’t help. It made him look like a sociopath. Rabbani showing remorse does help but I don’t know if the board will look past his connections to KSM.

    Anyway, I believe the last detainees to be approved for transfer will be Musab al-Mudwani, Hayil al-Maythali and possibly Ravil Mingazov though I am concerned about how the latter “has discussed returning to the fight with Russia.” The PRB is clearly deadlocked on Said Nishir, Jabran Qahtani and Sufyian Barhoumi so a review committee will decide their fate.

    All the high value detainees will get their hearings next month but I doubt they will get out. I’m surprised Hassan Bin Attash, Haji Wali Mohammed, and Mohammed Rabbani will be last instead of the HVDs.

    Muhammad Rahim (ISN 10029) 8/2/2016
    Guleed Hassan Ahmed (ISN 10023) 8/4/2016
    Mohd Farik bin Amin (ISN 10021) 8/9/2016
    Bashir bin Lap (ISN 10022) 8/11/2016
    Mustafa Faraj Muhammad Masud al-Jadid al-Uzaybi (ISN 10017) 8/16/2016
    Encep Nurjaman Hambali (ISN 10019) 8/18/2016
    Zayn al-Ibidin Muhammed Husayn (ISN 10016) 8/23/2016

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Martin. I wrote an article last night about Slahi, but finished it too late to post, so it went up today on the Close Guantanamo website – also with information about Abdul Zahir being approved for release, and the new review dates that have been set:
    It will be up here tomorrow.
    I also think a few more men will be approved for release, but as usual we’ll have to wait and see.

  11. Martin says...

    Well, Rabbani was denied approval for transfer. They didn’t buy his claim of remorse. They noted lack of candor and no proof of change of mindset. His brother will probably meet the same fate. At this point, only Omar Rammah may be approved for transfer. The rest are too dangerous

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks for the update, Martin. I’m on holiday, so not keeping up with the news. Back on the 20th.
    So this makes 32 men approved for release and 17 denied.

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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The Battle of the Beanfield book cover

The Battle of the Beanfield

Stonehenge: Celebration & Subversion book cover

Stonehenge: Celebration & Subversion

Outside The Law DVD cover

Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo


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