Nasrullah (Guantanamo detainee 951)

Nasrullah (Guantanamo detainee 951)

Allah Nasir (also transliterated as Nasrullah) is an Afghan held in extrajudicial detention in the United States Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, in Cuba. Nasrullah's detainee ID number is 951. The Department of Defense estimated he was born in 1947 in Zalakha, Afghanistan.

Nasrullah is from Afghanistan's Tajik community,

According to the Associated Press the allegations against Nasrullah, in his Combatant Status Review Tribunal, Nasir worked, in Herat, for Al Wafa. Al Wafa is a charity that American intelligence officials believe was a front group that raised funds to support terrorism.

Nasrullah said he was a shopkeeper and never heard of al-Wafa, al-Qaida or the Taliban until he was arrested January 29, 2003, and taken to Guantanamo.

Identity

In his transcript Allah Nasir explains that he is really known as Nasrullah. There are two other Guantanamo captives known as Nasrullah, and Naserullah. It is not remarkable for Afghans, or citizens of the countries north of Afghanistan, to bear just a single name — they don't have separate first-names and surnames. On the official list of captives whose enemy combatant status was reviewed by a Combatant Status Review Tribunal, released on April 20 2006, 18 captives had the field for their first name replaced with the acronym "FNU" — that is, "First Name Unkown". And additional 6 name had the field for their last name filled with the acronym "LNU" — that is, "Last Name Unknown". Some of those names which bore an FNU or a LNU on one list were, broken into two halves on the other list, so that the captives were represented having both a first name and a last name. Captive 951's name is broken into two halves on both official lists.

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 a 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.

Summary of Evidence memo

A Summary of Evidence memo was prepared for Allah Nasir's Combatant Status Review Tribunal, on 5 January 2005. The memo listed the following allegations against him:

'a. The detainee is associated with the Taliban or al-Qaida.
#The detainee worked at the Al Wafa office in Herat, Afghanistan.
#The non-governmental organization "Wafa" reportedly is believed to possibly be a terrorist organization and may have had connections to Usama Bin Laden and Afghan Mujahidin.
#The detainee attended a dinner in which Abdullah Khan was present.
#Abdullah Khan had the alias of Kheirullah .
#Kheirullah was a Taliban commander at the airfields of Bagram, Shindand and Kandahar.
#The detainee worked as an intelligence agent for Kheirullah .
#Abu Faysal (former director of the Herat Wafa office) sent the detainee to Herat with money to be used for weapons and supplies.
#The detainee was to travel from Lebanon to Abidjan (sic) to assist in a planned attack against the Abidjan Embassy.
#The detainee was injured in the bombing of the Kandahar Wafa office.
#The detainee was involved in plotting attacks against United States and/or Coalition Forces.
#The detainee was captured by United States Forces on 29 January 2003 in Balandi , Afghanistan.

Transcript

Nasrullah chose to participate in his Combatant Status Review Tribunal. On March 3 2006, in response to a court order from Jed Rakoff the Department of Defense published a ten page summarized transcripts from his Combatant Status Review Tribunal.

Witness request

Nasrullah requested a witness, an "off-Island witness". The Tribunal sent requests for the Department of State, to request the Washington embassy of the witnesse's country, to request its civil service to try to locate his witness. As with every other "off-Island witness", this process failed, and no reply was received from this request. The two requests were sent on December 29 2004 and January 10 2005. His Tribunal was convened on January 14 2005.

Nasrullah was informed that his witness was ruled "not reasonably available".

Response to the allegations

Nasrullah said he had never been to Herat, and had never heard of Al Wafa or Al Qaeda before he was captured by the Americans. He said he didn't know anyone named Kheirullah or Abdullah Khan or Abu Faysal. He laughed when the allegation that he was a spy was read out.

Nasrullah acknowledged he had been injured during a bombing attack -- but it was during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

Nasrullah said he had nothing to do with planning attacks.

Nasrullah acknowledged being captured in Balandi, but his captors were locals, not Americans.

Nasrullah said that he and his entire family clapped with joy when the Americans overthrew the Taliban: "I was so happy about the Americans coming. From 1 to 1000, I am a 1000 times happy. My kids are going to school now. They came and brought a lot of aid to the village; tea, sugar, and food. We were very happy about the Americans arriving."

Nasrullah said he had known Haji Shahzada all his life. He felt he could definitively state that Shahzada had no ties to the Taliban. Shahzada was captured earlier the night he was captured.

Shahzada's testimony

Nasrullah's childhood friend Shahzada was not allowed to testify in person. The Office for the Administrative Review of Detained Enemy Combatants (OARDEC) changed its policy during the course of the Tribunal, disallowing captives to have their witnesses testify in person, if they were not housed in the same camp as the captive. Nasrullah's Personal Representative took a statement from Shahzada, on January 8 2005.

Nasrullah's Personal Representative asked Shahzada seven questions.

  • Shahzada confirmed he and Nasrullah were from neighboring villages, and he had known Nasrullah all his life.
  • Shahzada confirmed Nasrullah had never been involved with the Taliban or al Qaeda.
  • Shahzada testified that, to the best of his knowledge, Nasrullah had never been to the Province of Herat.
  • When asked if he knew whether Nasrullah had ever worked for Al Wafa Shahzada said he didn't know what Al Wafa was.
  • Shahzada testified that Nasrullah supported himself and his family by farming a few acres he owned, and by running a butcher shop.
  • When asked if Nasrullah was ever injured by a bomb, Shahzada testified he believed Nasrullah was once near enough to an exploding bomb to be covered by dirt, but he wasn't seriously hurt.

The sixth question Shahzada was asked concerned "Kheirullah":

Personal Representative: Do you know if Nasrullah was involved with Kheirullah in any way?
Shahzada: No he was not because Khirullah was the Governor of Herat.

When the three men were denounced their denunciators centered their denunciations around allegations that an Uzbek merchant from a northern province, named Abdullah Khan, who was staying with Shahzada, was really the Khirullah Khairkhwa, the Governor of the Province of Herat.

During his own Combatant Status Review Tribunal Shahzada had described meeting Abdullah Khan decades earlier, prior to the Taliban's regime, how he had met him again, when he visited the north for the first time since Hamid Karzai's administration had brought Peace, and that he had invited Khan to stay with him.

Shahzada, and Abdullah Khan, two of the other men he was captured with, both stated that they believed they were all falsely denounced, so their denunciators could receive a bounty.

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.

Nasrullah chose to participate in his Administrative Review Board hearing.

The following primary factors favor continued detention:

'a. Commitment
#Abu Faysal, former director of the Herat Wafa office, sent the detainee to Herat, Afghanistan with money.
#According to a foreign government service, the non-governmental organization "Wafa" was believed to have connections to Osama Bin Laden and Afghan Mujahideen.
#The detainee was to travel from Lebanon to Abidjan (sic) to assist in a planned attack against an Embassy.

'b. Training
#The detainee served two years in the Afghan military during King Zair Shah's rule. He claims he only received basic military training, except for the Kalashnikov.
#The detainee said he was assigned to a transportation unit where he received driver's training and was responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the vehicles.

'c. Connections/Associations
#The detainee is a representative in his local village and an assistant to Sher Agha.
#Sher Agha is a powerful Hizb-I Islami Gulbuddin commander from the time of the jihad against the Soviets.
#Hizb-I Islami Gulbuddin has staged small attacks in its attempt to force U.S. troops to withdraw from Afghanistan, overthrow the Afghan Transitional Administration and establish a fundamentalist state.
#Haji Shah Zada had a dinner at his house the night prior to his arrest. He met an old acquaintance, Abdullah Khan, and asked him to his house for dinner.
#Shah Zada also invited Nasrullah, also known as Gano, to the dinner.
#Gano and Nasorllah Hussain are aliases of the detainee.
#Abdullah Khan, aka Kheirullah, was visiting Haji Shah Zada . Abdullah Khan was the individual that contacts said was a former commander at Bagram, Shindand, and Kandahar, Afghanistan airfields.
#Contacts said the detainee worked as an intelligence agent for Kheirullah.
#Soldiers arrested the detainee, Zada and two others at Zada's house.

'd. Other Relevant Data
*The detainee has harassed guards verbally and non-verbally and occasionally has failed to obey rules.

The following factors favor release or transfer:

*The detainee advised he and other men never talked about doing harm to the Americans during the card game the night before his arrest.

Testimony

Nasrullah denied knowing Abu Faysal. He denied traveling to Herat. He said he had traveled as far as Kandahar, and during his Army service he traveled to Kabul.

Nasrullah said that Sher Agha was the local representative to the Loya Jirga which chose Hamid Karzai as President. He has known Agha for forty years. His wife is a cousin of Agha's. He said Agha has no ties to any political parties or organizations. He said Agha's responsibilities as representative to the Loya Jirga did not require him having an assistant.

Nasrullah acknowledged having dinner at his friend Shahzada's house the night before his arrest. He said that the custom among Afghans precluded asking questions of a host's other guests about their background. So he knew nothing about the other guests.

Nasrullah acknowledged that his nickname was Gano. Hussain was his father's name.

Nasrullah denied ever being uncooperative.

Two letters from Sher Agha were provided as testimonials of Nasrullah's innocence.

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 recommendations were unanimous. The Board's actual recommendations were redacted. However the Board's conclusion that Nasrullah continued to represent a threat to the USA was not redacted.

The Board relied on intelligence assessments from the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs, the FBI, the CIA, and the State Department.

Identity of Kheirullah

Abdullah Khan, the other guest who intelligence officials claimed was also known as "Kheirullah" faced the allegation during his own Tribunal that he was really Khirullah Khairkhwa, the former governor of the Province of Herat. Strangely, the real Khairkhwa was also a detainee at Guantanamo. He had been appointed governor of Herat even though he wasn't a member of the Taliban. Prior to being appointed governor he had been a newsreader, and had been called on to read the Taliban's press releases for international TV.

References

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