Mahnut Bahtiyar

Bahtiyar Mahnut

Bahtiyar Mahnut (born January 18, 1976) is a citizen of China, held in extrajudicial detention in the United States Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, in Cuba. His Guantanamo detainee ID number is 277. The Department of Defense reports that Mahnut was born on January 18 1976, in Ghulja, China.

Mahnut is one of approximately two dozen detainees from the Uighur ethnic group.

Identity

Captive 277 was identified inconsistently on official Department of Defense documents:

The memo listed the following allegations against him:

a Detainee is a member of Al Qaida.
#detainee was in a Uighur training camp in Tora Bora from June 2001 to November 2001, and left the camp after the United States air campaign began.
#Detainee was trained on the Kalashnikov rifle and tactics.
#Detainee is a member of the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM).
#The Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement is an Islamic extremist movement linked to Al Qaeda.
#Detainee was arrested with Arabs as a Pakistan mosque.

Transcript

Mahnut chose to participate in his Combatant Status Review Tribunal. His Tribunal convened on 23 October 2004 and 27 October 2004.

On March 3 2006, in response to a court order from Jed Rakoff the Department of Defense published an eighteen page summarized transcript from his Combatant Status Review Tribunal.

Witness requests

According to the study entitled, No-hearing hearings, Mahnut was an example of a captive whose witness rrequests were arbitrarily denied:

Personal Representative's comments on ISN 277's Tribunal

Personal Representative were asked if they wanted to comment on their captives' Tribunals. Captive 277's Personal Representative was one of the very few who did comment.

He or she was critical of the President of Tribunal panel 12 for refusing to hear all of his witnesses, and for cutting off the testimony of one of the witnesses they had allowed.

The President justified cutting off the witness based on the assertion that the witnesses were never allowed to make unsolicited comments.

Commander Karen M Gibbs, the military lawyer who provided a legal sufficiency review, noted that the Tribunal President had not offered a justification for refusing to allow the testiomny of captive 277's witnesses. But, in the end, Commander Gibbs concluded that the witnesses would not have made a difference to the conclusion the Tribunal drew.

Bahtiyar Mahnut is a 28-year-old Chinese citizen who is an ethnic Uighur from Ghalga, China of China. Mahnut left China in May 2001 with the goal of reaching a western democracy (America) to live a better life. He was last interviewed at the end of 2002. He had disciplinary action on 4 March 2003 for participating in a riot in which he threw water, milk, food, body fluids, and feces on guards. Sabit is suspected as being a probable member of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM). He is suspected of having received training in an ETIM training camp in Afghanistan.

The information paper also identified him as "Sadir Sabit".

Bahtiyar Mahnut v. George W. Bush

A writ of habeas corpus, Bahtiyar Mahnut v. George W. Bush, was submitted on Bahtiyar Mahnut's behalf. In response, on 20 September 2005 the Department of Defense released 39 pages of unclassified documents related to his Combatant Status Review Tribunal.

He appeared before Tribunal panel 12. His Tribunal President disputed that he had denied captive 277 due process.

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.

Summary of Evidence memo

A Summary of Evidence memo was prepared for Bahtiyar Mahnut's Administrative Review Board, on 23 August 2005. The memo listed factors for and against his continued detention.

The following primary factors favor continued detention:

a. Commitment
#The detainee stayed in a Uighur guesthouse in Jalalabad, Afghanistan.
#The detainee, along with a group of Uighurs and Arabs, fled Afghanistan when the United States began bombing the Tora Bora Mountain area.

b. Training
The detainee received military training on the Kalishnikov rifle at a Uighur training camp in the Tora Bora Mountains of Afghanistan.

c. Connections/Associations
#The detainee attended a camp run by the Eastern Turkestan Organization (ETO).
#Hassan Mashum , the leader of the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Party , visited the detainee's training camp in Afghanistan while the detainee was there. While at the camp, Mashum lead prayer and gave a speech about the conditions of the Uighurs in China and the lack of funding at the training camp.
#Maksud aligned his organization with Usama Bin Laden (UBL) and it is now considered part of al Qaida. Since 2000, its core has been located at an al Qaida camp near Tora Bora. The fighters, under the authority of UBL, are considered a combat sub-unit of the Taliban.
#The Secretary of State has designated The Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement ETIM as Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). ETIM is a small Islamic extremist group based in China's western Xinjiang Province. ETIM is one of the most militant of the ethnic Uighur separatist groups pursuing an independent "Eastern Turkistan." ETIM is suspected of having received training and financial assistance from al Qaida.
#ETIM reportedly has financial support and direction from Usama Bin Laden, recruiting within Eastern China and shipping recruits to training camps in Afghanistan. These recruits then return to China to conduct terrorist activities and extend their influence. Training includes religious extremist theory, terrorism, explosives, and assassination. Some training camps also include the manufacturing of weapons, ammunitions, and explosive devices.

'''d. Other Relevant Data
#Pakistani authorities apprehended the detainee in late December 2001. At the time, he identified himself as an Afghan named Sadir Sabit, born in 1975 in Mazar-e-Sharif . He was detained with a Kalishnikove and 1,000 Pakistani rupees. He was serving with the Taliban in Mazar-e-Sharif until forced out by the Northern Alliance. He fled to Kabul, then Jalalabad, then Tora Bora, and finally Pakistan.
#The detainee is wanted by the Chinese police.
#The detainee has requested political asylum in the United States, and is certain that if returned to China, or any country influenced by China, he will be tortured and most likely executed.

The following primary factors favor release or transfer:

a. The detainee stated he never fired a weapon at any person or aircraft while at the Tora Bora training camp.
b. According to the detainee, the Uighurs consider themselves an ally of the United States, and would not associate with terrorist organizations, especially those that target the United States.
c. The detainee asserted that ETO has no financial, logistical, operational, or philosophical connection to al Qaida, the Taliban, or any other Muslim extremist group.
d. The detainee stated that he had never heard of al Qaida until he heard of it from the Americans.
e. The detainee has no plans to return to Afghanistan or China to reunite with groups involved in fighting or to commit terrorist acts. He added that he has never fought against the United States and has no plans to fight against the United States in the future.

Transcript

Mahnut chose to participate in his Administrative Review Board hearing. In the Spring of 2006, in response to a court order from Jed Rakoff the Department of Defense published a thirteen page summarized transcript from his Administrative Review Board.

Enemy Combatant election form

Captive 277's Assisting Military Officer met with him for a pre-hearing interview for 79 minutes on 25 August 2005, and again on 29 August 2005. He opted out of attending his Board hearing during the first interview, but changed his mind and chose to attend during his second. His Assisting Military Officer recorded on his Enemy Combatant election form that "The detainee remained polite and attentive throughout the interview." During the 25 August 2005 the form recorded:

The form recorded he changed his mind about attending his hearing, after thinking about it, because he was innocent of being an enemy combatant. He was also concerned that he wasn't getting any mail from home, and that camp authorities were not allowing him to have a cell near his brother.

Response to the factors

  • Captive 277 described the guesthouse as "just a little room...a little house, and that he stayed there just one night."
  • Captive 277 described chaos after the USA's unexpected bombing of their construction camp. He described wandering in the mountain passes for a month, and then seeing a group of Arab refugees, with an Afghan guide, and decided to follow them.
  • Captive 277 confirmed that Hassan Maksum visited the camp once, while he was there. He confirmed that Maksum was a leader in a Uyghur independence movement. He disputed that the group Maksum lead was the East Turkistan Islamic Movement. He said Maksum was the leader of the Freedom Movement Party.
  • Captive 277 was very skeptical that Maksum would have ties to al Qaeda because the Uyghurs were counting on American support for their independence movement.
  • Captive 277 said he didn't understand why Osama bin Laden was opposed to the USA.
  • Captive 277 speculated that the Uyghur independence groups were listed on the State Department's list of Terrorist organizations because officials had mistakenly taken Chinese allegations about the organizations at face value.
  • Captive 277 explained that the allegation that he had been in Mazari Sharif, and fought in Mazari Sharif was due to his initially telling the Pakistani authorities he was an Afghan, from Mazari Sharif. He and his companions were sure that Pakistani authorities would return them to China if they knew they were Chinese citizens. He clarified that not only hadn't he fought in Mazari Sharif, he had never been to Mazari Sharif.
  • Captive 277 confirmed that the Uyghur organization that ran the camp had no financial, logistical, operational, or philosophical connection to al Qaida, the Taliban, or any other Muslim extremist group.
  • Captive 277 confirmed he first heard about al Qaeda during his interrogations.

Response to Board questioning

  • Captive 277 said he left China hoping to eventually immigrate to a freer country.
  • Captive 277 said he saw his brother in Kandahar. He said he learned during one brief meeting they were allowed that his brother had traveled to Afghanistan to look for him.
  • Captive 277 indicated that his brother was also present in Guantanamo, in camp two.
  • Captive 277 clarified that he and his fellow Uyghurs had not been able to have any conversations with the Arab refugees they followed, because none of them spoke Arabic.

Board recommendations

In early September 2007 the Department of Defense released two heavily redacted memos, from his Board, to Gordon England, the Designated Civilian Official. The Board's recommendation was unanimous The Board's recommendation was redacted. England authorized his transfer on 27 December 2005.

His Board considered intelligence assessments prepared by the CIA, the FBI, the office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs, and the Department of State. ` Where the "Index to Transfer and Release Decision for Guantanamo Detainees" said the first page of the seven page "Classified Record of Proceedings and basis of Administrative Review Board recommendation for ISN 277" should have begun contained a duplicate of the first page for Guantanamo captive 246. The first half of the first page of these memos was generally the only unredacted portion, and thus gave the only clues to why the Board made its recommendation.

References

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