Bensayah Belkecem

Sabir Mahfouz Lahmar

Sabir Mahfouz Lahmar is an Bosnian citizen, currently held in extrajudicial detention in the United States Guantanamo Bay detainment camps, in Cuba. His Guantanamo Internee Security Number is 10002. The Department of Defense reports that he was born on May 22 1969, in Constantin, Algeria.

Combatant Status Review Tribunal

Initially the Bush administration asserted that they could withhold all the protections of the Geneva Conventions to captives from the war on terror. This policy was challenged before the Judicial branch. Critics argued that the USA could not evade its obligation to conduct competent tribunals to determine whether captives are, or are not, entitled to the protections of prisoner of war status.

Subsequently the Department of Defense instituted the [[Combatant Status Review Tribunals. The Tribunals, however, were not authorized to determine whether the captives were lawful combatants -- rather they were merely empowered to make a recommendation as to whether the captive had previously been correctly determined to match the Bush administration's definition of an enemy combatant.

Lahmar chose to participate in his Combatant Status Review Tribunal.


The unclassified allegations he had to answer were:

'a. The detainee is associated with al Qaida:
#The detainee is associated with a known al Qaida facilitator.
#Bensayah Belkecem, alias Mejd is the apparent leader of the Algerian cell and has a direct link to Usama Bin Laden.
#Bensayah Belkecem made phone calls to Abu Zubaydah, a senior aide to Usama Bin Laden, who was in charge of screening recruits for al Qaida training camps in Afghanistan.
#The detainee and Bensayah Belkecem were arrested on suspicion of being linked with international terrorism.
#The detainee had charges filed against him by the Bosnia-Herzegovina govt for International Terrorism.
#The detainee was arrested in October 01 under suspicion of planning to attack the American Embassy in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina.
#The detainee advocated attacking U.S. forces and supported the Fatwa issued by Usama Bin Laden.
#The detainee is a member of the Algerian Armed Islamic Group and attempted to assume leadership in the organization in November 2000.
#The Algerian Armed Islamic Group is listed as a terrorist organization in the United States Department of Homeland Security Terrorist Organization Reference Guide.
#The detainee applied for a visa in Sarajevo for travel to Afghanistan on 27 September 2001.
#''The detainee was jailed in late 1997, for robbing a U.S. Citizen.


Lahmar's testimony before the Tribunal was acrimonious.

He said he was arrested in his own home, in Sarajevo, not on the battlefield. The documents released by his review Tribunal confirm that.

He said that he was told that the reason for his arrest was involvement in a plot to bomb the American Embassy in Sarajevo. The documents released by his review Tribunal confirm that.

He said that although the ostensible reason for his arrest was the bomb plot his interrogators refused to interrogate him over that plot. He said he was told that if he could supply useful information he would be released.

Lahmar ridiculed the claim that he had any tie to the individual whose name was redacted in the public copy of the allegations against him.

Lahmar seems to be saying that he was detained, and whisked to Guantanamo, not for anything he did, or planned, not for any ties he might have had to terrorism, or terrorists, but because the Americans believe he knows things about other Arabs living in Bosnia who do have ties to terrorism.

Basing their determination on classified evidence the Tribunal determined that Lahmar had been appropriately classified as an "enemy combatant".

Administrative Review Board hearing

Detainees who were determined to have been properly classified as "enemy combatants" were scheduled to have their dossier reviewed at annual Administrative Review Board hearings. The Administrative Review Boards weren't authorized to review whether a detainee qualified for POW status, and they weren't authorized to review whether a detainee should have been classified as an "enemy combatant".

They were authorized to consider whether a detainee should continue to be detained by the United States, because they continued to pose a threat -- or whether they could safely be repatriated to the custody of their home country, or whether they could be set free.

Lahmar chose to participate in his Administrative Review Board hearing.


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