Mohammed al-Asadi

Mohammed al-Asadi

Mohammed Ahmed Ali Al Asadi is a citizen of Yemen, held in extrajudicial detention in the United States Guantanamo Bay detainment camps, in Cuba. Al Asadi's Guantanamo detainee ID number is 198. The Department of Defense reports that Al Asadi was born on July 1 1979, in Sana'a, Yemen.

Combatant Status Review Tribunal

Initially, the Bush administration asserted that it could withhold all the protections of the Geneva Conventions to captives from the War on Terrorism. This policy was challenged before the judicial branch. Critics argued that the US could not evade its obligation to convene a competent tribunal to determine whether captives are, or are not, entitled to the protections of prisoner of war status.

Subsequently the Department of Defense instituted 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.

Summary of Evidence memo

A Summary of Evidence memo was prepared for Mohammed Ahmed Ali Al Asadi's Combatant Status Review Tribunal, on 7 October 2004. The memo listed the following allegations against him:

#The detainee traveled to Afghanistan in March 2001 to fight the jihad.
#The detainee stayed at Taliban safe houses.
#The detainee's travel to Afghanistan was arranged by the Taliban.
#The detainee stayed at the Taliban embassy in Pakistan.
#The detainee was issued a Kalashnikov at the "AMR" center..
#The detainee was a guard at the "AMR" center for the Taliban.
#The detainee was in Afghanistan during the U.S. bombing campaign.
#The detainee fled to the Tora Bora Mountains in December 2001.
#The detainee, along with a large group of Arabs who had fled Afghanistan, was arrested by the police in Pakistan.

Transcript

Al Asadi chose to participate in his Combatant Status Review Tribunal.

Testimony

When Al Asadi was invited to make an opening statement he told his tribunal he did have statements and evidence he could offer, but, if the tribunal was going to consider classified evidence and allegations that would be withheld from him, he felt it was pointless to try to defend himself. However, he had no objection to his Personal Representative reading from his notes from his earlier interviews with him.

When each allegation was read out his translator offered the same translation for his response to each allegation: "I don't have any response."

The tribunal's president offered Al Asadi another opportunity to make a statement on his own behalf after the allegations had been read out. Al Asadi repeated that he felt defending himself was pointless, because of the classified evidence that would be withheld from him. But he had no objection to his Personal Representative reading from his notes.

Testimony from Al Asadi's interview with his Personal Representative

Al Asadi's Personal Representative first pointed out that Al Asadi had been courteous and helpful during his interviews. He then repeated Al Asadi's assertions to him that he had never fought against either US forces or the Northern Alliance, and that Al Asadi believed that the dates of his travel confirmed his story that he did not travel to Afghanistan to fight Americans. He traveled to Afghanistan four months prior to the attacks of September 11, 2001. The Personal Representative suggested that Al Asadi thought the Tribunal could confirm the dates of his travel from his passport, but had to confess that Al Asadi's passport could not be found.

Al Asadi had confirmed to him that he was present at the "AMR" center, but he was never a guard there.

Al Asadi's Tribunal tried to clarify what the "AMR" center was. Al Asadi's Personal Representative said he asked the Recorder for Al Asadi's Tribunal. One of the Recorder's responsibilities is to go through the Al Asadi's classified file and compose the list of allegations. Even though he had read Al Asadi's classified file he didn't know what the "AMR" center was. Al Asadi's Personal Representative said that when he asked Al Asadi, their translator suggested it was not the "AMR" center but the "Omer center".

Several other detainees faced the allegation that they had stayed at the "Omar Saif Center".

Mohammed Ahmed Ali Al-Asadi v. George W. Bush

A writ of habeas corpus,Mohammed Ahmed Ali Al-Asadi v. George W. Bush, was submitted on Mohammed Ahmed Ali Al-Asadi's behalf, on 11 October 2006. In response, on 11 October 2006, the Department of Defense released 21 pages of unclassified documents related to his Combatant Status Review Tribunal.

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 Mohammed Ahmed Ali Al Asadi's Administrative Review Board, on 19 April 2005. The memo listed factors for and against his continued detention.

The following primary factors favor continued detention:

a. Commitment
#The detainee traveled to Afghanistan in March 2001 to fight the Jihad.
#The detainee was a guard at the "AMR" Center for the Taliban.
#There were six rooms at the AMR Center House. One of the rooms was used exclusively for weapons storage.
#The detainee was in Afghanistan during the U.S. bombing campaign.
#For about a month and a half, the detainee fought with a group, consisting mostly of Pakistanis, that was associated with the Taliban.

b. Connection/Associations
#The detainee stayed at Taliban safe houses.
#The detainee's travel to Afghanistan was arranged by the Taliban.
#While at the Taliban embassy in Pakistan the detainee told Taliban officials that he was there for the Jihad.
#The detainee's immediate supervisor worked for Salam.
#Salam was one of the leaders at the Kabul front during the fighting with the Northern Alliance. Salam was also in charge of mine clearing operations.

c. Intent
The detainee was issued a Kalashnikov at the "AMR" center.

d. Other Relevant Data
#The detainee, along with a large group of Arabs who had fled Afghanistan, was arrested by the police in Pakistan.
#The detainee admits he had handled weapons and was experienced with a Kalashnikov.
#During capture, the detainee had in his possession a Casio F-91W Watch.
#The Casio F-91 W has been used in bombings that have been linked to al Qaida and radical Islamic terrorist improvised explosive devices.

The following primary factor favor release or transfer:

The detainee denied being a member of al Qaida. The detainee claimed not to know that the Taliban were fighting against the Northern Alliance/Americans. The detainee also claimed not to know what a Taliban was prior to his capture.

Transcript

A two page transcript of Al Asadi's Administrative Review Board hearing was released. The transcript doesn't explicitly say that Al Asadi chose not to attend his hearing. It does say that Al Asadi had worked with his Assisting Military Officer to prepare a statement for his Board. Al Asadi's statement was not released with the transcript of his hearing.

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 release on August 5 2005.

Repatriation and release

Yemen's President, Ali Abdullah Saleh, demanded the release of the remaining Yemenis held in Guantanamo on December 23 2006. The Yemen Observer identified Al Asadi, Esam Hamid al-Jaefi and Ali Hussain al-Tais as three of the six Yemeni who had been repatriated the previous week.

Al Asadi said he was the first of the six men to be released because there were no charges or evidence against him. Yemen's President, Ali Abdullah Saleh, said the men would be released as soon as Yemeni authorities had cleared them. Al Asadi was asked to sign an undertaking promising to refrain from armed activity. Al Asadi announced: "Now, I'm going to start a normal life, to find a job, to get married, and generally settle down,"

Reports of a new hunger strike

Asadi reported that the Guantanamo captives had initiated a new hunger strike in early December 2006. According to the Gulf News Asadi listed the following triggers for the hunger strike:

  • "The brothers in Guantanamo detention have agreed to hold this hunger strike mainly because of harassment while praying or while reading the Quran."
  • "The soldiers interrupt the brothers from time to time even while praying, they inspect the Quran, they inspect their private organs, only to create psychological pressure on them,"
  • ''"They take the blankets at dawn when it's extremely cold."

References

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