Yakoub Mohammed

Amir Yakoub Mohammed Al Amir Mahmoud

Yakoub Mohammed is a citizen of Sudan, who was held in extrajudicial detention in the United States Guantanamo Bay detention camps, in Cuba. His Guantanamo Internee Security Number is 720. The Department of Defense reports Mohammed was born on May 9 1971, in Omdurman, Sudan.

Identity

Guantanamo captive was named inconsistently on the two official lists the Department of Defense released:

  • He was named as Yakoub Mohammed on the official list released on April 20 2006.
  • He was named as Amir Yakoub Mohammed Al Amir Mahmoud on the official list released on May 15 2006.

Background

The allegations against Yakoub contain two different, incompatible accounts of his capture.

Yakoub acknowledged fighting in Afghanistan, in 1991, to fight against Afghanistan's Soviet occupiers. He acknowledged traveling to Pakistan in February 2002, with the thought that he would cross into Afghanistan. He testified that, when he arrived in Pakistan, and learned more about the situation in Afghanistan, he realized that Afghanistan didn't need his help.

One of the accounts of his capture was that he and three other Arabs donned burqas, the all-encompassing women's garment, and were captured at the border. The other account was that he was arrested in Peshawar. Yakoub testified he was captured in Peshawar, during a routine sweep looking for Arabs.

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 Mohammed Yakoub's Combatant Status Review Tribunal, on 30 September 2004. The memo listed the following allegations against him:

a The detainee is associated with al Qaida.
#Detainee traveled to Afghanistan in 1991 to fight the jihad against the Russianss.
#Detainee traveled to Pakistan in February 2002 to fight the jihad against the Americans in Afghanistan.
#The detainee enlisted the aide of a non-governmental organization (NGO) that assists foreign Arabs infiltrate Afghanistan to fight in the jihad against the United States.
#Detainee was arrested in a car in the Bara area of Peshawar.

Transcript

Mohammed 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 seven page summarized transcript from his Combatant Status Review Tribunal.

Testimony

Mohammed acknowledged fighting against the Russians in 1991. He pointed out that he was using weapons supplied to the fighters by the United States.

He acknowledged when he traveled to Pakistan he had considered crossing the border to fight. But he said that when he arrived in Pakistan, and was able to get a better idea of the situation was in Afghanistan, he decided that Afghani muslims didn't need his help.

He acknowledged that he was captured in Peshawar. He said that the Pakistani authorities were indiscriminately arresting all Arabs.

In answer to questions from the Tribunal members Mohamed said:

  • His 1991 training had been in Kanort. It was run by an Afghani group, called al Da'wa.
  • He left Afghanistan in 1996.
  • The group that were his hosts in Pakistan was the gawa wasa center.

Administrative Review Board hearings

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.

First annual Administrative Review Board

A Summary of Evidence memo was prepared for Mohammed Yakoub's first annual Administrative Review Board, on 29 June 2005. The memo listed factors for and against his continued detention.

The following primary factors favor continued detention:

a. Commitment
#At the age of 19, the detainee took an interest in participating in jihad against the Russians in Afghanistan after listening to a presentation at a local mosque on the activities of the Afghanistan organization Jama'at al Dawa al Quran Wa Sunnah led by Shaykh Jamil al-Rahmani.
#Jamaat 'ud Dawa Il al Quran (JDQ) is a known militant religious group, oriented toward radical Islam, specifically the Salafi/Wahabi movements.
#When the detainee arrived in Pakistan, on his way to Afghanistan for jihad, he stayed in Peshawar, at the Bayt Dhiyafa Al-Mujahid (aka Mujahid Guest House) run by the JDQ organization.
#The detainee fought in the region where Konar province borders with Nangahar province, Afghanistan.
#The detainee also traveled to Afghanistan to fight in the battle of Jalabad .
#In late 1993, the detainee served on the front lines in Kashmir, traveling there in response to the fatwa issued by Sheikh al-Baz, which directed Muslims to travel to Kashmir to fight against India.
#In February 2002, the detainee voluntarily went to Afghanistan to fight jihad against the occupiers of Afghanistan to include the Americans.
#The detainee stayed with other Arabs at several Markez Al-Daa'wa Wal Arshad (MDI) guesthouses in Pakistan awaiting transportation to Afghanistan.
#Due to the fact that false documentation could not be procured, the detainee dressed in women's clothing with full head covering in an attempt to illegally cross the Afghan-Pakistan border.

b. Training
The detainee trained at a JDQ training camp outside of Assad-Abad, Afghanistan, on the use of AK-47s, M16s, RPGs, 82-mm mortar and an old piece of Soviet artillery.

c. Connections/Associations
#En route to Afghanistan for jihad, the detainee visited a mosque in India where he misrepresented himself as someone interested in volunteer service with the Tabligh in Pakistan. With this cover, he was able to secure a visa from the Pakistani Embassy.
#The Jama'at Tablighi (JT) is a Pakistan-based Islamic missionary organization believed to be used as a cover for action by Islamic extremists.
#The detainee lived at the JDQ training camp out of Assad-Abad for approximately one year after fighting jihad against the Russians, working with Abu Ekhlas Al-Masri.
#Abu Ehhlas is known to be a terrorist tied to al Qaida who specializes in the construction of remote control explosives devices and the poisoning of foods.
#In 1993, the detainee began to study the "Salafayeen" teachings and joined the Pakistani MDI in their jihad to retake Kashmir from Indian control.
#The Pakistani NGO Jama'at Al-Dawa Wa Al-Irshat (JDI), formerly known as Markez Al-Dawa Wa Al-Irshat (MDI), is dedicated to converting people to Islam and to supporting the Islamic jihad in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
#JDI is currently known to help foreign Arabs exfiltrate and infiltrate Afghanistan in support of the jihad against the United States. JDI also supplied money, weapons and clothes to Mujahideen in Kashmir, Pakistan.
#The detainee states that MDI is the same organization as Lushker Al-Tayeba .
#The Secretary of State has designated the Lashkhar-e-Tayyiba (LT) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). The LT is the armed wing of the Pakistan-based religious organization, Markaz-ud-Dawa-wal-irshad (MDI), a Sunni anti-United States missionary organization.

d. Other Relevant Data
On 19 March 2002, Pakistani authorities detained four foreigners (including the detainee) and two Pakistanis on the border of the Kurram Tribal Agency, apparently en route to Afghanistan.

The following primary factors favor release or transfer:

a. Detainee's behavior has generally been cooperative and non aggressive. He has several failures to comply and one instance of making a weapon out of altered prayer beads.
b. The detainee never made it to Afghanistan to fight against the Americans, as he was captured in Pakistan with other Arab jihadists prior to arrival in Afghanistan.
c. The detainee claims he only went to Jihad in Afghanistan because of media reports stating Americans were taking away land from Muslims.
d. The detainee has denied any connection with al Qaida or any other terrorist group.

Second annual Administrative Review Board

A Summary of Evidence memo was prepared for Mohammed Yakoub's second annual Administrative Review Board, on 14 April 2006. The memo listed factors for and against his continued detention.

The following primary factors favor continued detention:

a. Commitment
#The detainee stated that when he was in Afghanistan the first time in 1991 for the jihad against the Russians, he belonged to a group called Jamaat al Dawa al Quran Wa Sumnah .
#In March 1991 the detainee received airline tickets to go fight in the jihad against the Russians in Afghanistan. The detainee traveled from Khartoum Sudan to Nairobi, Kenya. The detainee then traveled from Nairobi to Bombay, India. From Bombay, the detainee traveled to Delhi, India. From India, the detainee traveled to Lahore, Pakistan. From a guest house he traveled to a village called Bajour, Pakistan. From Bajour, the detainee was taken with 10 other individuals by pickup trucsk to the capital of Konar, Afghanistan where he received military training.
#Along his route, the detainee traveled to the Bayt Dhiyafa al Mujahid guest house which was run and operated by the Jamaat al Dawa al Quran Wa Sunnah organization.
#The Jamaat al Dawa al Quran is a militatn religious group. Its university is oriented toward radical Islam, specifically the Salafi/Wahabi movements. In approximately 1997, the training camp was moved to Kashmir where it is being run by the Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, a radical wing of Markaz a Dawa, which has significant interest in the Kashmir issue.
#The Lashkar-e-Tayyiba is the armed wing of the Pakistan-based religious organization Markaz-ud-Dawa-wal-irshad , a Sunni anti-United States missionary organization formed in 1989. The Lashkar-e-Tayyiba is one of the three largest and best trained groups fighting in Kashmir against India.
#The detainee was sent to the front lines to fight the Afghan Communist government for six months.
#In 1993 the detainee began to associate more with members from Markaz-ud-Dawa-wal-irshad, which had historical ties to the local Jamaat al Dawa al Quran Wa Sunnah organization. The detainee joined Markaz-ud-Dawa-wal-irshad in their jihad to retake Kashmir from Indian control.
#In February 2002 the detainee traveled from Khartoum, Sudan to Damascus, Syria. After three days, the detainee traveled through Doha, Qatar to Lahore, Pakistan. The detainee then went to Peshawar, Pakistan.
#The detainee claims he went to Afghanistan to fight jihad against the occupiers of Afghanistan to include the Americans. The detainee claims he believed the heavy influence by the media that stated the Americans were trying to tak the land away from the Muslims.

b. Training
#After two days at a guest house, the detainee departed in a mini-bus with some 25 other Arabs to the Afghan border and the Jamaat al Dawa al Quran Wa Sunnahin military training camp. For one month, the detainee trained on the use of Kalashnikov rifles, M-16 rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, 82-mm mortars, and an old piece of Soviet artillery.
#The detainee was given limited classes on the T-54 tank; however he was not able to operate the tank.

c. Connections/Associations
#The detainee found the details of how to join Jamaat al Dawa al Quran Wa Sunnah from a Sudani vetern Mujahedin.
#The detainee was a member of the Jamaat al Dawa al Quran Wa Sunnah non-governmental organization from 1991 to 1996.
#En route to Afghanistan fro jihad, the detainee visited a mosque in India where he misrepresented himself as someone interested in volunteer service with the Jamaat Tablighi in Pakistan. With this cover, he was able to secure a visa from the Pakistani Embassy.
#Jamaat Tablighi is a Pakistan-based Islamic missionary organization used as a cover to mask travel and activities of terrorists, including members of al Qaida.
#After leaving the front lines in 1991, the detainee met Abu Ikhlas al Masri. The detainee worked with al Masri for approximately one year. In early 1994, the detainee spent approximately two additional years with Abu Ikhlas al Masri.
#Abu Ikhlas al Masri was identified as a close aide to al Qaida organization leader Usama bin Laden. Al Masri trained Arabs, Pakistanis, Chechnyans, and other newcomers at the camps in Paktia, Konduz, Nangahar, and Rujar. Al Masri is believe to be one of the most skilled experts at making bombs and explosive devices and the author of a number of military books.
#Abu Ikhlas al Masri ran an insurgent base in the Konar Province, Afghanistan.
#Abu Ihkhas al Masri is an Egyptian extremist wanted for the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.
#A facilitator in Sudan obtained Pakistani visas and airline tickets for the detainee and a friend. The facilitator gave 1500 United States Dollars to the detainee fro travel and expenses.
#The detainee moved around with other individuals for a month in Peshawar. They spent time in five different houses. From the last house the detianee and three individuals left in a group. The driver of the vehicle made the detainee wear a burqa to facilitate travel and because of the detainee's dark skin.
#The detainee identified one of the individuals he was captured with at the Afghan/Pakistan border. The detainee said the other person was traveling to Afghanistan to fight the jihad.

'''d. Other Relevant Data
#The four people with the detainee were loaded into a mini-bus. Due to the fact that false documentation could not be procured, the Arabs were instructed to dress in women's clothing with full head covering. At the final checkpoint, the group encountered a female Pakistani military officer. When the disguised Arab men were required to lower their head coverings for the female officer, the Arab men were discovered and detained.
#A foreign government service indicated that on 19 March 2002 the detainee and three other foreigners were detained on the border as they attempted to possibly enter Afghanistan. The foreign government service officer said he suspects the four are connected with al Qaida.
#The detainee was identified as the person with the idea to go to Bara, Pakistan. The detainee procured the burqas and brought the driver of the hired car who then drove the four out of Bara.
#The detainee was transformed to United States custody in Kandahar, Afghanistan after approximately eight weeks in Pakistan custody.

The following primary factors favor release or transfer:

a. The detainee said he detested the events of 11 September 2001. He mentioned that a true Muslim would never act or have participated in this kind of terrible act.
b. The detainee denied having any knowledge of the attacks in the United States prior to their execution on 11 September 2001. He also denied knowledge of any rumors or plans of future attacks on the United States or United States interests.
c. Upon release, the detainee desires to return to his home in Sudan. The detainee stated he would have to start from the bottom and look for a job in anything that he could find.
d. The detainee bears no grudge against America and claims he was rash in his decision to go to Afghanistan for jihad in 2002. He claims he did not realize the United States was fighting in conjuction with the Northern Alliance to punish the Taliban for harboring terrorists like Usama bin Laden. The detainee has no tolerance for Usama bin Laden and people that kill innocents and spread fear behind Islam.
e. The detainee stated that he does not have a direct relationship with the Taliban.
f. The detainee denied any involvement with al Qaida or any other terrorist group.

Repatriation

A Sudanese captive identified as "Yacoub al-Amir", two other Sudanese, a Moroccan, and five Afghan captives were repatriated to the custody of their home countries on May 1 2008. The identity of the five Afghan repatriates was not made public. The other two Sudanese men were Sami Al Hajj and Walid Ali. The Sudanese captive was Saïd Boujaâdia. Amnesty International reports that the nine repatriates were the first captives to be repatriated in 2008.

References

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