Sketches of Guantanamo Detainees-Part I
A partial list of detainees at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, compiled from transcripts of ``enemy combatant″ hearings and arranged by country of origin. The Pentagon released more than 5,000 pages of transcripts to The Associated Press. Names appear as they are spelled in the transcripts.
_ Abdul Ahmed was accused of recruiting for the Taliban beginning in 1996, but said he was forced into service. ``They were recruiting by force all men, young and old, they were forcing to join and fight for them,″ Ahmed said. He said every tribe chose a representative to deal with the Taliban. ``I can read and write, so they chose me because I could make a list and write down the names of the people that were given to the Taliban,″ he said.
_ Haji Mohammed Akitar said he was a high-ranking military officer before the Taliban took power, and later lived in Pakistan. When the Taliban were defeated, he returned to Afghanistan to join the new government. He said he was falsely accused by government officials who held a grudge against him. The record does not state what he was accused of.
_ Mohammed Aman, from the village of Malek Khil, said he worked for the defense department as a low-ranking personnel clerk with no ties to any party. He said he was forced to work for the Taliban when they came to power. The record does not state what he was accused of.
_ Naibullah Darwaish was accused of being the Taliban-appointed police chief for Shinkai district in Afghanistan’s Zabul province. Darwaish said he fought for years with the mujahedeen against the Russians, as did the governor who appointed him, but denied that he or the governor were associated with the Taliban, al-Qaida or any terrorist group.
_ Juma Din denied being a main adviser to a leader of Hezb-e-Islami Gulhuddin, which the U.S. government calls a terrorist group linked to Osama bin Laden. Din, who was captured in a suspected al-Qaida safehouse in Pakistan, said he had no knowledge of accusations that his brother-in-law was an al-Qaida member. ``They kept me here for 2 1/2 years because of what my brother-in-law did,″ Din said.
_ Qari Esmhatulla said he was asked by Taliban officials to help them and fellow Pashto speakers in their fight against the Farsi speakers in the Northern Alliance, which teamed up with U.S.-led international forces to oust the Taliban. He was captured by the Northern Alliance. He said he never intended to fight Americans. ``I was going ... to fight the Farsi speakers, the Northern Alliance people, because of the difference between (Pashto) and Farsi speakers,″ he said.
_ Mullah Mohammed Fazi confirmed he was a minor Taliban military leader of 50-100 fighters who surrendered in 2001. ``If you think this is a crime, then every single person in Afghanistan should be in prison or bring them here. ... I never ever fought against America and I didn’t do anything wrong against them. Then why am I an enemy combatant? I could never fight against America; I don’t know why I’m here.″
_ Abdul Ghaffar of Shahawali Kot is accused of being the bodyguard of a person who killed a Red Cross worker in a March 2003 attack on a convoy. Ghaffar said he wasn’t involved. ``If I were a bodyguard there would have been evidence on me like a knife, a gun.″ He said he was a farmer and never worked with the Taliban government or kept a weapon. ``I never worked with any kind of government,″ he said. ``I’m a poor guy. I am not wealthy enough to keep a gun in my home.″ He said U.S. soldiers arrived at his house by helicopter to arrest him.
_ Haji Ghalib, who said he was a police chief under Afghan President Hamid Karzai, was suspected of collusion with the Taliban.
_ Awal Gul, an alleged Taliban member, turned himself in to the Northern Alliance in Kabul on Feb. 10, 2002. He was accused of associating with bin Laden on three occasions. Gul said he only shook hands with bin Laden and said he ran a Taliban camp in Jalalabad. ``I don’t have anything against the United States, and I don’t want the United States to have anything against me,″ he said.
_Dawd Gul denied being a member of al-Qaida or the Taliban. Gul said he helped his father raise sheep, and the Taliban drafted him into service while he was grocery shopping, tying his hands with a sheet and taking him to Kandahar, then Kabul and Narim. After he told the Taliban he did not know how to use a Kalashnikov, they gave him a job peeling potatoes, washing dishes and serving food.
_ Janat Gul ran Afghanistan’s Ariana Airline when the Taliban government was in power. Gul said the airline was not under government control and he denied it provided Taliban fighters free flights to battle the Northern Alliance. Gul said he quit his job several days after Sept. 11, 2001. ``I was released from the oppression of a government, the Taliban government,″ he said. ``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 was arrested in January 2003 in Lashkargar.
_ Mohammed Gul, a farmer and gas station owner, was suspected of links to Taliban forces and Hezb-e-Islami Gulhuddin. He was arrested with a Kalashnikov rifle near a Taliban facility. Gul denied any connections to terrorism and said he returned home from Saudi Arabia, where he had worked as a driver, to care for his sick wife. ``I don’t want to spend any more time here, not one more minute,″ he said.
_ Haji Hamidullah was accused of having ties to Hezb-e-Islami Gulhuddin. ``I was a member of this group 15 years ago. ... At that time, the Russians invaded Afghanistan, and all people joined groups fighting the Russians. When the Taliban came to power, I cut all ties″ to the group, he said. Hamidullah said he was later imprisoned by the Taliban but escaped and went to Pakistan. ``I was happy to go home when I learned the U.S. was there,″ he said. He said he was arrested in Afghanistan because he supported the return of former King Zaher Shah.
_ Abdullah Hekmat was accused of commanding the third police precinct in Mazar-e-Sharif under the Taliban and grabbing young men off the street to fight for the militant group. He said his father-in-law was in charge of the Mazar-e-Sharif precinct and he filled in for him for two months. He complained bitterly that no case had been presented against him and that he had been separated from his family for years. Justice was swifter when the Soviets occupied Afghanistan, he said: ``In the Russian time they would just kill and you wouldn’t have to worry about it.″
_ Said Amir Jan said he was minister of public benefits in the Karzai government and opposed al-Qaida and the Taliban. He said he was locked up in Kandahar for fighting against the Taliban. ``Here, I’m accused of being with al-Qaida and (Osama) bin Laden, and then at the same time, I was imprisoned by them for five years,″ he said. ``Everyday I spend here makes a bad reputation for United States.″
_ Hafizullah Shabaz Khail was accused of being a member of the Taliban and participating in military operations against the U.S. coalition. He said he was arrested in retaliation for accusing the commander of security in his district of involvement in a robbery. He said he was appointed mayor of Zormat after Karzai came to power. ``While I was mayor in Zormat, there were no problems with the Americans. I met with American commanders several times,″ he said. ``We even took pictures together.″
_ Abdullah Khan, an Afghan shopkeeper, said he was falsely identified as Khirullah Khairkhwa, the governor of Herat. ``Americans were giving an announcement that if you turn over a high-ranking Taliban member or the governor, we will give you a lot of money. That’s why they gave that Khirullah Khairkhwa name,″ he said. He was accused of being an airfield commander, but said he was only a shopkeeper. ``I have very small kids and I don’t know what my kids are doing,″ he said. The transcript notes he passed a polygraph.
_Anwar Khan, who was caught with identification documents with several names crossing the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, said he commutes between the two countries.
_ Mohabet Khan, 18, said he had been at Guantanamo since he was 16. He was captured in a military compound that allegedly fired on U.S. forces. Khan said he had been forced into service and ``when the Americans arrived, with our own will, we went with happiness. We surrendered our weapons to the Americans. ... They searched the compound, and then they came back from the compound and tied our hands behind our backs.″
_Shardar Khan, who worked as a cook, was accused of training to be part of an infantry supporting an alleged al-Qaida cell leader named Samoud. Captured at Samoud’s compound, Khan denied fighting U.S. forces. He had been detained two years.
_ Kadir Khandan, of Khost province, was accused of links to the Taliban and running a safehouse for an explosives-making cell. Khandan told the tribunal he worked for the Karzai government and opposed the Taliban. He said he was a pharmacist and that bombs were ``truly against my ideology.″ He said he was tortured by U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan: ``I was ordered to stand up 24 hours for 20 days in a row. I had blood coming out of my body and my nose for days because I was tortured so much.″ He added: ``Here in Cuba, I have been treated nice. Overall it is fine here.″
_ Sabr Lal was accused of helping al-Qaida members elude coalition forces, a charge he denies. He also was accused of helping bin Laden escape from Tora Bora, but said he was in another part of Afghanistan at the time. ``The only thing I want to tell you that is so ironic here is that I see a Talib and then I see myself here too, I am in the same spot as a Talib. I see those people on an everyday basis, they are cursing at me ... They say, ’See, you got what you deserved, you are here, too,‴ he said.
_ Abdul Matin said he returned from Pakistan in 2002 because the new government called for Afghans to help rebuild the country. He denied being a Taliban supporter or passing messages to Taliban or al-Qaida officials. ``I was a science teacher, they never wanted that kind of person,″ he said. An attached document said he was able to answer several questions demonstrating a working knowledge of science and higher mathematics. Matin said he was turned over to the Americans because he refused to pay Afghan authorities a $30,000 bribe.
_ Alif Mohammed was accused of having a satellite phone to orchestrate ambushes. He denied it, saying: ``I’m just a tinsmith.″
_ Taj Mohammed, a goat herder, was accused of being a member of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, a group with alleged al-Qaida ties. He denied it. ``I was a shepherd, and I never can even go out very much, and I was always with my goats on the mountain,″ he said. ``These are all lies about me.″
_ Wali Mohammad said he was handed over to the Americans by Pakistani intelligence agents because he would not pay a bribe. He sold clothing, exchanged currency and had other businesses but owed $1.1 million to 40 people when he was arrested Jan. 24, 2002. He denied that he was in business with the Taliban, smuggled gold for al-Qaida or facilitated transfers from accounts controlled by bin Laden to buy surface-to-air missiles. One witness, who said he had been Afghanistan’s transportation minister, said Wali Mohammad borrowed $1.5 million from the Central Bank in 1997-98 but lost it in the foreign exchange market.
_ Abdullah Mujahid said was head of security for the city of Gardez and for Paktia province when he was arrested in July 2003 and accused of attacking U.S. forces. Mujahid also was accused of associating with al-Qaida, but said he aided coalition forces.
_ Abdul Rahim Muslimdost worked as a journalist in Pakistan. U.S. authorities accused him of being a member of an Islamic militant group. He acknowledged membership, but said he joined to drive the Russians from Afghanistan, and denied serving as an al-Qaida contact in Herat province.
_ Mohammed Nasim, 55, of Warzai, said he was a poor farmer and denied commanding 25 Taliban fighters. He was detained Feb. 11, 2003.
_ Abdul Nasir was accused of being part of a group that attacked a base with Kalashnikov rifles, machine guns and a grenade launcher. Nasir said he was a student and was taken to the scene of the attack against his will. He said he went to authorities and turned over bullets and grenades he’d been forced to carry. He said he was detained at the U.S. military base at Bagram, where he was forced to stand for 10 days. ``I was not allowed to sit or sleep and they interrogated me every single day,″ he said. He was transferred to Cuba after three months.
_ Allah Nasir, also identified as Nasrullah, an ethnic Tajik, allegedly worked in Herat for al-Wafa, a charity the U.S. military says has links to al-Qaida. Nasrullah said he was a shopkeeper and never heard of al-Wafa, al-Qaida or the Taliban until he was arrested Jan. 29, 2003, and taken to Guantanamo.
_ Habib Noor, a resident of Lalmai with family in Saudi Arabia, was accused of owning a compound that harbored attackers who ambushed U.S. special forces and Afghan soldiers in Khost province. His brother allegedly joined the fighting. Noor insisted he was unaware of the ambush and spent that day in the village bazaar.
_ Haji Noorallah, an ethnic Uzbek, is accused of commanding 100 Taliban fighters along the Afghanistan-Uzbekistan border. ``My job was to take the new recruits to the Taliban. I was not a commander, and only brought the men to the Taliban. I brought 42 Taliban, not 100.″
_ Abdul Qawi, identified by the United States as Abdul Hafiz, was accused of working for a Taliban militia and involvement in two killings. He allegedly was captured with a satellite phone linked to a slaying, but said he was given the phone by a man named Abdul Hafiz and he did not know how to use it. He expressed frustration at not being able to see classified documents containing evidence against him: ``In our culture, if someone is accused of something, they are shown the evidence.″
_ Abdul Rahman, a Pashtun from Kalat, said drought and other natural disasters forced him to move to Kunduz, where he ran a shop selling candy, tea and soap. Rahman said after the U.S. bombing began, he and other merchants were detained by Abdul Rashid Dostum, now the Afghan army’s chief of staff. ``They tied us up, and we stayed there for a night without food or water,″ he said. ``I think they buried about 50 people alive into the ground. They kept on shouting and screaming, and they kept putting dirt on them.″ He denied the allegations against him, which include buying a vehicle for the Taliban and having a security force of four Taliban fighters. A member of the tribunal noted that Rahman passed a polygraph test.
_ Mahbub Rahman was accused of spying on American forces, shooting an Afghan soldier and two civilians, and being caught with two automatic rifles. He told the tribunal the shooting was in self-defense, and that he had one weapon for personal protection.
_ Mohammed Rasoul was accused of associating with the Taliban and participating in military operations against the U.S. Authorities believe he used a rocket launcher against American forces. Rasoul said he returned to Afghanistan from Pakistan to open a medical clinic. His brother, Naquibullah, a doctor who also was detained, told the tribunal they ran the clinic together.
_ Abdul Razak was minister of commerce in the Taliban government. He said the Taliban gave him a civilian job because he had no military training. He said he took up farming after the Taliban’s ouster, but was arrested months later by Afghan authorities. He was carrying a Kalashnikov rifle at the time _ as practically every Afghan man does, his legal representative said.
_ Abdul Razzaq of Kandahar, who worked for five months as a Taliban cook, allegedly was captured with a list of 24 military recruits for the Taliban. Razzaq said he was a farmer and storekeeper, and the list had the names of people he owed money to or who owed him money. He said a Taliban official had him jailed in a land dispute, and he had to work as a cook to pay his debt.
_ Gholam Ruhani of Ghazni was accused of being a driver and 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.″
_ Mohammad Said, a 26-year-old storekeeper, was arrested with his father and brother. He and his family allegedly supported al-Qaida and the Taliban. Said claimed all he did was give a few pieces of bread to travelers and did not know they were al-Qaida. ``I just provided them with food because they were strangers,″ he said.
_ Hafizullah Shah said he was a farmer from Galdon village who was arrested while walking to a bazaar. The U.S. said Shah was wearing an olive drab jacket and soldiers spotted him with a group hiding weapons. ``I was just walking in the street and I was captured,″ Shah said.
_ Said Mohammed Ali Shah, from the village of Khwaja Hassam, lived as a refugee in Iran for more than two decades after the Russian invasion. While there, he studied to become a doctor. After returning to Afghanistan, he acted as a representative for the city of Gardez in Karzai’s government; he was attending the National Assembly at the time of his capture. The record does not state what he was accused of.
_ Zahir Shah was accused of being a member of an Islamic militant group, Hezb-e-Islami, and of having automatic weapons and a grenade launcher in his house. He acknowledged having rifles, but insisted he did not fight American troops.
_ Mohammed Sharif, a native of Sheberghan, was accused of guarding a Taliban camp. He denied being a guard, and said he had been captured by the Taliban, and feared punishment and retribution against his family if he fled. He also denied any knowledge of al-Qaida.
_ Maulaui Abdul-Haq Wasseq said he was forced to join the Taliban, and during three years sometimes acted as deputy minister of intelligence to combat ``thieves and bribes.″ He also ran a guesthouse in Kabul, he said. He didn’t deny using a radio to communicate with the Taliban chief of intelligence, but said he did not take part in military operations against U.S.-led coalition forces.
_ Mohammed Yacoub, who lost his left leg in a mortar attack in Kabul, acknowledged being part of the Taliban but denied fighting U.S. forces or being a guide for foreign fighters. ``You were accusing me of joining the Taliban. ... At that time, the Taliban was the government of Afghanistan. Even if I were in Afghanistan, now I’d join the government, if any government came,″ Yacoub said.
_ Shah Zada said he was arrested in January 2003 with three others, including Abdullah Khan, who the United States believes was a Taliban spy. Zada said Khan was a dog handler. He said he was sold to the Americans by Afghans for $15,000. He said: ``If 20 years from now or even 100 years from now, if you can ever find any proof that I help the Taliban or I was involved with the Taliban, you can cut my head like you cut a bird’s head and hang it right here on the ceiling.″
_ Khan Zaman was allegedly captured with communications equipment, along with his nephew. The U.S. alleges Zaman’s relatives allowed a high-ranking Taliban member to stay at his brother’s guesthouse, and that his brother was a recruiter for Pashtun military commander Pacha Khan. U.S. forces bombed Zaman’s home in November 2001 in an attack that killed 12 family members, according to his nephew Gul Zaman, a witness at the hearing. ``We are just farmers, never worked with the Taliban and al-Qaida,″ Khan Zaman said.
_ Fethi Boucetta was absent from the hearing.
_ Boudella al Hajj, a Muslim cleric, worked with orphans in Bosnia. He is accused of being in contact with al-Qaida member Abu Zubaydah and of belonging to an Algerian militant group _ all of which he denied. He was acquitted of planning to attack the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, before being handed over to the United States.
_ Mustafa Ait Idr, an Algerian with dual Bosnian citizenship, denied plotting to attack the U.S. Embassy and also denied any connection with al-Qaida in Bosnia. ``Today is the 11th of October (2004), I think,″ he said. ``In seven more days, I will have been in this prison for three years.″ Most likely he is Mustafa Ait Idir _ one of six people arrested in Bosnia and held at Guantanamo who sued the U.S. government in April 2005. In the lawsuit, Idir claimed he was severely beaten while his hands were tied behind his back and that he later suffered a mild stroke. His attorney, Robert C. Kirsch, said all six detainees were deprived of sleep and kept nearly naked in frigid rooms.
_ Mohammed Nechle was captured in Bosnia, where he worked with orphans for the United Arab Emirates’ Red Crescent Society. After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, he was accused of planning to attack the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo and spent three months in prison in Bosnia before being acquitted and handed over to the United States. He said he was given only apples for three days when he was taken to Guantanamo, and then was not treated for his exhaustion. ``The way that this happened, the way I was brought here ... I feel that my future has been destroyed,″ he said.
_ Mohammed Abd Al Qadir was accused of belonging to an Algerian terrorist group and training at an al-Qaida camp. He lived in London but fled after being detained and then released on bail. He said he left because he feared being sent back to Algeria or going to prison. He decided to go to Afghanistan ``to immigrate, make money, and find a wife.″ He denied being involved with al-Qaida.
_ Adil Kamel Abdullah, a civilian employee with the Bahrain Defense Ministry, said he went to Afghanistan to help refugees and the poor, passing through Iran in September-October 2001. Abdullah said he did not participate in military operations against the U.S.-led coalition and turned himself in to the Pakistani military after leaving Afghanistan.
_ Al Shaike Suleiman Bin Ebrahim Bin Mohamad Bin Ali Bin Khalefah Al Kalifa. He did not testify at his hearing but submitted a letter from the administration board of the Bahrain royal family council saying he is ``an individual of the gracious royal family″ with ``a good reputation and manners.″
_ Abdel Abdulhehim, an ethnic Uighur, said he fled government persecution in China, ended up in Afghanistan and trained at Tora Bora, where he learned how to fire a Kalashnikov. The U.S. alleges the camp, which was bombed by U.S. forces, was operated by the East Turkistan Islamic Movement with funding from the Taliban and bin Laden. Abdulhehim said he went there only to learn how to fight the Chinese.
_ Akhdar Qasem Basit, an ethnic Uighur, traveled from China through Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan to reach Tora Bora. Basit said he did not know the Taliban were involved, and that he got no military training before the camp was bombed. ``After the bombing we could not stay there so we ran off in to the mountains to take shelter in caves,″ he said. The tribunal pressed Basit for details: ``Did you ever fire a weapon or help someone fire a weapon at U.S. or coalition forces?″ His response: ``That is a funny question. When we were in that place we did not see any U.S. or coalition forces against us. We did not see anyone we could fire at.″
_ Abdul Gappher, an ethnic Uighur, was accused of traveling to Afghanistan to join the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. Gappher denied that, saying he was in Afghanistan to ``get some training to fight back against the Chinese government,″ and had nothing against the United States. He said his own ``people and my own family are being tortured under the Chinese government.″ He was captured in Pakistan.
_ Arkin Mahmud, an ethnic Uighur, was captured by the Northern Alliance as a suspected Taliban fighter. He was at the Mazar-e-Sharif prison in November 2001 during a riot in which CIA officer Johnny ``Mike″ Spann was killed. He said he went to Afghanistan only to look for his brothers. ``If I am guilty they should come up with my punishment,″ he told the tribunal. ``Otherwise, do something faster to finish my case.″
_ Redouane Khalid, a French citizen of Algerian heritage, said he went to Afghanistan on July 22, 2001, because he wanted to live in a Muslim society. He is accused of traveling to a Taliban camp in Kandahar for training. According to his legal representative, he tried to return to France after hearing of the Sept. 11 attacks. He has hepatitis C and scoliosis, the representative said.
_ Feroz Ali Abbasi, who submitted written complaints that military police had sex in front of him while he was trying to pray, said repeatedly that he should be considered a prisoner of war. A U.S. Air Force colonel, whose name was blacked out, would have none of it. ``Your conduct is unacceptable and this is your absolute final warning. I do not care about international law. I do not want to hear the words international law again. We are not concerned about international law,″ the colonel said before having Abbasi removed from the hearing so the military could consider classified evidence against him.
_ Moazzam Begg refused to attend a tribunal hearing. His personal representative said Begg was tortured by FBI agents in Afghanistan and interrogated hundreds of times. Begg was transferred from Pakistan to the United States in March 2002, according to his father.