Details of Some Guantanamo Hearings
Details from transcripts of ``enemy combatant″ hearings involving Guantanamo detainees:
_ Hafizullah Shah, from the village of Galdon in Afghanistan, was being held based on classified evidence he was not allowed to see. The farmer said he was walking to a bazaar when he was arrested. The United States said Shah was wearing an olive green jacket and was seen by soldiers with a group caching weapons. ``I was just walking in the street and I was captured,″ Shah said. ``The next thing I found out is that I am sitting here″ in Guantanamo Bay.
_ Mohammed Barak Salem Al-Qurbi, of Saudi Arabia, was identified as an al-Qaida operative by one of Osama bin Laden’s bodyguards, according to the U.S. military tribunal. His passport shows he spent time in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates in 2001. The tribunal said he used a trick to hide his stay in Afghanistan. Al-Qurbi also was alleged to be an operative linked to the suicide bombing of the USS Cole, which killed 17 sailors on Oct. 12, 2000, in Yemen, and to have managed a hostel for the extremist Islamic Taliban movement.
_ Abdur Sayed Rahman, of Pakistan, identified himself as a poor chicken farmer. The United States alleged he was in the Taliban, either as a military judge or deputy foreign minister. It emerged during the hearing that the deputy minister is Abdur Zahid Rahman, a near homonym of the detainee. Police searched Abdur Sayed Rahman’s home in Pakistan in the fall of 2001 and arrested him. ``An American told me I was wrongfully taken and that in a couple of days I’d be freed,″ Rahman said. ``I never saw that American again and I’m still here.″
_ Zakirjan Asam traveled from Tajikistan to Afghanistan in the spring of 2001. He was accused of being a member of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, which allegedly has ties to the Taliban. Asam said he came to Afghanistan as a refugee and was turned over to U.S. forces because he could not afford to pay a bribe.
_ Salih Uyar, 24 at the time of his tribunal hearing, traveled to Afghanistan from Turkey in 2000. He was accused of living with a known al-Qaida member for two months just before raids began in Kabul, Afghanistan, and of associating with Turkish radical religious groups. At the time of his capture, he had a Casio watch _ a model that authorities say was used in bombings. ``If it’s a crime to carry this watch, your own military personnel also carry this watch, too,″ Uyar told the military tribunal. ``Does that mean that they’re just terrorists as well?″ Uyar also went to Syria but said his purpose was to study Arabic.
_ Abdalaziz Kareem Salim Al Noofayee, 27 or 28, originally from Saudi Arabia, said he was a student of Arabic, English and physics in the city of Taif who left school at 19 and sold vegetables. He traveled to Pakistan sometime in 2001, saying he went for inexpensive medical treatments for a bad back, and was arrested March 2002 by police in a raid in Faisalabad, Pakistan. He told the tribunal he had been at Guantanamo for three years. He is accused of attending a terrorist training camp in 1997 and of being ``captured with a Casio F-91W watch, known to be used by members of al-Qaida.″ He responded by saying that ``the watch I had is like the watch even some of the guards here have. So does that mean they are Taliban and al-Qaida?″
_ Janat Gul ran Afghanistan’s Ariana Airline when the Taliban government was in power. Gul, who previously had owned a shop and a mill, said he only took the job to avoid being forced to go to combat for the Taliban. He said the airline was not under government control and denied it provided Taliban fighters free flights to battle the Northern Alliance in the north. Gul said he quit his job several days after Sept. 11. ``I was released from the oppression of a government, the Taliban government. I came out of the darkness into the light. ... I had left my job; even before the Americans came I was in my own house and in my own land,″ he said. He was arrested in January 2003 in Lashkargar, Afghanistan.
_ Abdul Majid Muhammad, an Iranian identified as a ``watchman″ for the Taliban who went on patrols and acted as a guard. He says he was a poor well-digger in Iran who occasionally bought and sold opium and hashish. He was arrested twice in Iran. He said he went to Afghanistan after Sept. 11, 2001, because he wanted to get rich quick trading drugs, not to join the Taliban or fight Americans. ``My plan was to get rich then put it behind me and leave it aside,″ he said. He says he was picked up by the Northern Alliance near the city of Ghazni.
_ Abdul Aziz Sa’ad Alfaldi. Transcript says one family name is missing. The detainee says his arrest may have been a case of mistaken identity. The Saudi national is accused of being an enemy combatant and fighting coalition forces in Afghanistan. He denied fighting or having any ties to al-Qaida. He said he went to Afghanistan to talk his brother into coming back to Saudi Arabia, not to fight.
_ Hani Abdul Muslih al Shulan, from Yemen. U.S. officials allege he supported the Taliban and was found with a Casio watch. Accused of being in Tora Bora during U.S. air campaign. He said he was just passing through Tora Bora on his way to Pakistan. He said he did not receive military training and was a student who went to Afghanistan to find a job and save money. He found work as a chef’s assistant north of Kabul, he said.
_ Assem Matruq Mohammad Al Aasami, a sometime restaurant worker who says he traveled from Pakistan to Saudi Arabia and then Afghanistan to find work, not fight a holy war. He acknowledged that he did attend an al-Qaida-linked training camp, but said he did not realize what kind of camp it was. He said he was in the camp when the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks took place. He is accused of being an enemy combatant.
_ Gholam Ruhani, ``about 26″ years old, from Ghazni, Afghanistan, was accused of being a driver and a clerk for the Taliban Intelligence Service. ``The Taliban law was that young people had to join the Taliban,″ he said. ``I had to join, but protested several times that I had an old father and I wanted to go back to my family. ... If I had not cooperated with the Taliban Intelligence service member, I would have been sent to the front lines. I was afraid I would be killed.″ He complained about the delays at Guantanamo. ``My complaint is whether guilty or not, (my case) is supposed to go to a tribunal or court at the time of capture. I’ve been here three years and I’m going through the process now.″
_ Mohammed Rasoul, an Afghan who had lived in Pakistan for 25 years, returned to Afghanistan in September 2001. He was accused of associating with the Taliban and participating in military operations against the United States. Authorities believe he used a rocket launcher against U.S. forces. Rasoul said his reason for returning to Afghanistan was to open a medical clinic. His brother, Naquibullah, a doctor who was also detained, told the tribunal that they operated the clinic together.
_ Taj Mohammed, an Afghan goat herd, was accused of being a member of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, a group alleged to have ties with al-Qaida. He denied involvement with the group. ``I was a shepherd,″ he said. ``These are all lies about me.″
_ Yunis Abdurrahman Shokuri, a Moroccan, was involved in starting a house for young Moroccans in Afghanistan. Authorities accused him of obtaining AK-47 rifles from the Taliban. He said they had an AK-47 for protection but didn’t fight anyone. The house was closed after Sept. 11 and he left for Pakistan, where he was arrested. He’s also accused of helping form the Moroccan Islamic Fighting Group and associating with a former Afghan-Arab linked to an al-Qaida sleeper cell in Morocco. He said he never heard of the group and did not know anyone from al-Qaida. He told the tribunal that the U.S. government, in its search for terrorists, was arbitrarily rounding up people of Arabic descent.
_ Abdullah Mujahid, an Afghan, said he was head of security for the city of Gardez and the Paktia province in post-Taliban Afghanistan when he was arrested in July 2003 and accused of an attack on U.S. forces in Gardez. Mujahid was also accused of associating with al-Qaida. He said he had actually aided coalition forces. ``I invited them to come to Gardez, and I even rented the camp that they are in right now ... And, instead of appreciation, or thankfulness, they punish me, and I get sent to Cuba.″
_ Fahed Abdullah Ahmad Ghazi, from Yemen, accused of being an al-Qaida fighter who trained at al-Farouq camp in Afghanistan and was later chosen to go to Tora Bora and become one of Osama Bin Laden’s bodyguards. ``I was not in Tora Bora by choice,″ he said. ``I had no knowledge of how to get out of Afghanistan. The only choice I had was to listen to the people who led me from one place to another.″ He said he went to Afghanistan not to join the jihad but to escape problems in Yemen and received weapons training for self-defense. ``It would have been impossible for Osama bin Laden to trust a 17-year-old with only nine days of training to become a trusted bodyguard,″ he said.