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Jamil Abdul Atif al-Banna
Arabic: جميل عبد اللطيف البنّاء
Al-Banna profile.png
al-Banna in 2008
Born May 28, 1952 (1952-05-28) (age 57)
- Born in Jericho, West Bank[1]
Jordan - Jordanian citizen
United Kingdom - refugee status in the United Kingdom
Detained at Guantanamo Bay camp
ISN 905
Alleged to be a member of Flag of Jihad.svg al-Qaeda
Spouse Sabah El-Banna - December 8, 1964 (1964-12-08) (age 45)[1]
Children El-Banna is a father of five:[1][2][3]
Anas - December 17, 1996 (1996-12-17) (age 13)
Mohamed - December 22, 1997 (1997-12-22) (age 12)
Abdulrahman - May 10, 1999 (1999-05-10) (age 10)
Badeah - February 11, 2001 (2001-02-11) (age 8)
Mariam - April 13, 2003 (2003-04-13) (age 6)

Jamil al-Banna (Arabic: جميل عبد اللطيف البنّاء‎, Ǧamīl ʿAbdu 'l-Laṭīf al-Bannāʾ) is a Jordanian with refugee status in the United Kingdom who had been living in north-west London[4]. He is currently on bailed release in the United Kingdom[5] following his release from extrajudicial detention in the United States in the Guantanamo Bay detainment camps, in Cuba.[6]

Al-Banna's Guantanamo Internment Serial Number was 905. The Department of Defense reports that al-Banna was born on May 28, 1952, in Jericho, [sic] Turkey [sic]. His wife is quoted as saying that Jamil is not from Jericho, Turkey but was born in Jericho, West Bank

Jamil El Banna was captured in Gambia in November 2002 and was transferred to the United Kingdom on December 19, 2007.[7]

Contents

Jamil al-Banna's capture in Gambia

Jamil and Bisher al-Rawi travelled to Gambia to meet a shipment of machine parts to be used to set up an edible oil factory owned by Basher's brother. They arrived in Gambia on November 7, 2002. He was captured by the Gambian National Intelligence Agency on arrival at Banjul airport in Gambia on November 8, 2002, purportedly on suspicion of alleged links to al-Qaeda. At first they were under a kind of unofficial house arrest. They were not formally charged with any crimes under Gambian law. They were told that they would be released when their machinery had been checked to make sure it wasn't something that could be used for terrorism.

They weren't detained in a Gambian jail, but rather in a CIA snatch team safe house, provided by American security officials, guarded by Gambians, but interrogated by Americans.

In late December, 2002 [1] the decision was made to take them from Gambia. The team that arrived to do that wore black uniforms, their faces covered by black balaklavas. They cut their clothes from their bodies, when they bound them for transportation.. They were illegally "rendered" to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, where he was imprisoned underground in total darkness for weeks.[8]. Once in the main portion of the airbase prison, he met Moazzam Begg whose bookshop he had visited in England.[9] Nicknamed "Kenny Rogers", he once entertained American guards by singing half a verse Coward of the County.[9] In March 2003 Jamil and Basher al-Rawi were transferred to Guantanamo Bay.[10]

Allegations of torture

Jamil's lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, quoted in an article in The Guardian, said Jamil was a participant in both the hunger strike that ended when the camp authorities made promises on July 28, 2005, and a second that started on August 8.[11] Smith said that Jamil told him that one of the reasons for the second hunger strike was that guards were still searching through the prisoner's copies of the Qur'an by hand.

An article in The Times repeated Jamil's claim that his American interrogators told him that MI5 had colluded in Jamil's extraordinary rendition.[12] The lawyers of Guantanamo Bay detainees have to hand in all their notes. They are all classified. The lawyers are only allowed to examine their notes in a single secure location outside Washington DC. The Times describes how a section of Stafford Smith's notes were recently declassified:

"In Cuba one interrogator is alleged to have told al-Banna: 'Why are you angry at America? It is your government, Britain, the MI5, who called the CIA and told them you and Bisher were in Gambia and to come and get you. Britain gave everything to us. Britain sold you out to the CIA.'”

The Times repeats Jamil's claim that he was offered $10 million, and a US passport, if he would testify against Abu Qatada. According to The Times:

"When he refused, an interrogator told him: 'I am going to London . . . I am going to fuck your wife. Your wife is going to be my bitch. Maybe you’ll never see your children again.'"

Combatant Status Review

The George W. Bush administration asserted that the protections of the Geneva Conventions could be withheld from captives in the "War on Terror."[13] Critics argued the Conventions obliged the United States to conduct competent tribunals to determine the status of prisoners. Subsequently, the US Department of Defense instituted Combatant Status Review Tribunals, to determine whether the captives met the new definition of an "enemy combatant."

The CSRTs are not bound by the rules of evidence that would apply in civilian court, and the government’s evidence is presumed to be “genuine and accurate.”[14] From July 2004 through March 2005, a CSRT was convened to make a determination whether each captive had been correctly classified as an "enemy combatant". Jamil al-Banna was among the two-thirds of prisoners who chose to participate in tribunal hearings.[15]

A Summary of Evidence memo was prepared for the tribunal, listing the alleged facts that led to his detention. His memo accused him of the following:

[16]

a. The detainee is a member of al-Qaida:
  1. Abu Qutada is a known al-Qaida operative arrested in the United Kingdom as a danger to national security.
  2. Detainee visited Abu Qatada while Qatada was in hiding from the British police.
  3. Detainee has been indicted by a Spanish National High Court Judge for membership in a terrorist organization.
  4. Detainee was arrested in Gambia, while attempting to board an airplane with equipment that resembled a homemade electronic device.

The Tribunal President struck from the record an allegation that Jamil had helped transmit some money to a charity. The record is not clear why the Tribunal President struck this allegation.

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Jamil al-Banna's relationship with Abu Qatada

Jamil admitted knowing Abu Qatada for over nine years, prior to the attack on September 11, 2001. They had lived in the same neighbourhood. And their wives had given birth to children at the same time. Abu Qatada had lead prayers at the mosque he attended. And they were both refugees from Jordan. But they weren't close.

Jamil admitted driving Abu Qatada's wife and children to visit him, after British authorities had announced he was going to be arrested. He did so at the request of his friend Basher al-Rawi.

Jamil al-Banna's Spanish indictment

Jamil, was indicted by Spanish "superjudge" Baltasar Garzón. But he claimed that he had no idea why.

Arrest for traveling with homemade electronics

Jamil corrected the Tribunal's "home-made electronics" allegation on several points.

  • The arrest was in England, not Gambia.
  • The device was carried by his friend, Basher al-Rawi, not himself.
  • British authorities determined that the device was not modified, but was just what Basher said it was, a mundane battery charger.

Personal Representative's concluding statement

Personal Representative's were invited to append their comments to Tribunal's determinations. Almost all Personal Representatives declined to make a comment. Abdul Latif El Banna's Personal Representative did comment, asking:

  • "What did Detainee do in Gambia that required the United States (rather than the United Kingdom or even Gambia) to take him in to custody?"
  • "Since the United Kingdom is a very strong coalition partner, not a disinterested party, it is doubtful that they are unable to prosecute actions that take place on their sovereign soil."

Contact with his family

El-Banna is a father of five.[2] His youngest daughter was born after his capture.

Dear Sir Tony Blair, I am a boy called Anas Jamil El-Banna. I am 7 years old. Me and my four brothers are writing to you this letter from my heart because I miss my father. I am wishing that you can help me and my father. I am always asking mother, Where is my father, when will he come back? And my mother says I don't know.

Now I have started to know that my father is in prison in a place called Cuba and I don't know the reason why and I don't know where is Cuba. I hope that you can help me because I miss my father. Every night I think of my dad and I cry in a very low voice so that my mother doesn't hear, and I dream that he is coming home and gives me a big, big hug.

Every Eid I wait for my father to come back. I hope to God that you can help me to bring my daddy back to me. I don't want anything, I just want my daddy please.

Please Mr Blair can you bring my daddy back to me on this Eid. I wish you a happy life with your children in your house. Love Anas - 7 years old, Mohamed - 6 years, Abdulrahman - 4 years, Badeah - 3 years, Mariam - 9 months

 
— Anas Jamil El-Banna writing to Tony Blair to free his father

A November 1, 2006 article in the Willesden & Brent Times reported that el-Banna was allowed a phone call to his wife on October 19, 2006.[17] It is unusual for detainees to be allowed a phone call to their family. This phone call was el-Banna's first. It is not known why this concession was made, although el-Banna's MP, Sarah Teather, had previously made representations to US authorities asking for some contact to be allowed.

According to el-Banna' wife:[17]

He told me that when the prison guards led him away from his camp, he thought he was going to be interrogated again. He didn't even know he was going to speak to me, so hearing my voice was a complete shock to him.
 
— Mrs al-Banna

Bisher al-Rawi's release

On Thursday March 29, 2007, UK Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett announced that the UK Government had negotiated the return from Guantanamo of al-Banna's traveling companion, Bisher al-Rawi's.[18][19] According to the Associated Press Beckett issued a statement to Parliament which said:

We have now agreed with the U.S. authorities that Mr. al-Rawi will be returned to the U.K. shortly, as soon as the practical arrangements have been made, This decision follows extensive discussions to address the security implications of Mr. Al-Rawi's return.
 

Beckett's announcement didn't say anything about al-Banna, or the other remaining former UK residents who remain held in Guantanamo.[19] Jamil's case has caused controversy within the UK as the British Government refuses to make representations on his behalf, due to his not having attained British citizenship before his imprisonment.[20] All the British nationals imprisoned at Guantanamo were freed before September 2004, following British Government representations.

Release

On August 7, 2007 the United Kingdom government requested the release of Jamil al-Banna and four other men who had been legal British residents without being British citizens.[21 ] The UK government warned that the negotiations might take months.

Jamil al-Banna was released from Guantanemo Bay on 18 November 2007 and flown back to Britain.[22][23] On his return, he was detained under port and border controls and questioned. On 19 November he was arrested under a Spanish extradition warrant. On 20 December he was released on bail of £50,000, part of which was put up by actress Vanessa Redgrave; conditions of his bail include observing a curfew and wearing an electronic tag.

On his return, El-Banna and Omar Deghayes were arrested and questioned, before appearing in court on a Spanish extradition warrant.[22][23] He was freed on bail on 20 December, conditions of which include obeying a curfew and wearing an electronic tag.

On Thursday March 6, 2008 Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon dropped the extradition request on humanitarian grounds.[23] Garzon based his decision on a medical examination made public on February 12, 2008. The report said El Banna suffered from: "post-traumatic stress syndrome, severe depression and suicidal tendencies. Garzon ruled the two men's mental health had deteriorated so badly it would be cruel to prosecute them.

Torture claims investigation

On April 29, 2009, that Spanish investigating magistrate Baltazar Garzon initiated a formal investigation into whether confessions from Ikassrien, and three other former Guantanamo captives were the result of the use of abusive interrogation techniques.[24][25][26] Al Banna and the other three men: Hamed Abderrahman Ahmed, Lahcen Ikassrien, and Omar Deghayes, had previously faced charges in Spanish courts, based on confessions they made while in US custody. Their charges had been dropped based on their claims that their confessions were false and were the result of abusive interrogation techniques.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d The Guardian (2007). "Sabah el-Banna - Profile". The Guardian. http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/sabah_elbanna/profile.html. Retrieved 2007-08-02.  
  2. ^ a b Profile: 'Forgotten' Cuba detainees, BBC, October 5, 2006
  3. ^ Amensty (Public – May 2004 AI Index:AMR 51/072/2004). "USA: Who are the Guantnamo detainees?". sundaytelegraph. http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGAMR510722004?open&of=ENG-2AM. Retrieved 2007-08-02.  
  4. ^ BBC News (25 January 2005). "UK's 'forgotten' Cuba detainees". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4205989.stm. Retrieved 2007-08-22.  
  5. ^ BBC NEWS | UK | Guantanamo detainees out on bail
  6. ^ list of prisoners (.pdf), US Department of Defense, May 15, 2006
  7. ^ http://projects.nytimes.com/guantanamo/detainees/905-jamil-el-banna
  8. ^ Brent Mickum (January 12, 2005). [http "Tortured, humiliated and crying out for some justice"]. The Guardian. http. Retrieved 2007-08-02.  
  9. ^ a b Begg, Moazzam, "Enemy Combatant", 2006
  10. ^ Daily Mail (09:20am on 29th July 2007). "Iraqi tells of CIA 'torture flight'". Daily Mail. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=471586&in_page_id=1770. Retrieved 2007-08-02.  
  11. ^ Hunger strikers pledge to die in Guantánamo, The Guardian, September 9, 2005
  12. ^ MI5 colluded with CIA over suspects sent to torture jails, The Times, December 18, 2005
  13. ^ "Q&A: What next for Guantanamo prisoners?". BBC News. 2002-01-21. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/1773140.stm. Retrieved 2008-11-24.   mirror
  14. ^ Elsea, Jennifer K. (July 20, 2005). "Detainees at Guantanamo Bay: Report for Congress" (PDF). Congressional Research Service. http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RS22173.pdf. Retrieved 2007-11-10.  
  15. ^ OARDEC, Index to Transcripts of Detainee Testimony and Documents Submitted by Detainees at Combatant Status Review Tribunals Held at Guantanamo Between July 2004 and March 2005, September 4, 2007
  16. ^ Documents (.pdf) from Jamil al-Banna's Combatant Status Review Tribunal - mirror - pages 94-107 (.pdf)
  17. ^ a b Guantanamo phone call, Willesden & Brent Times, November 1, 2006
  18. ^ Robert DeVries (March 29, 2007). "UK resident to be released from Guantanamo". The Jurist. http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/paperchase/2007/03/uk-resident-to-be-released-from.php. Retrieved March 31, 2007.  
  19. ^ a b Tariq Panja (March 29, 2007). "Briton to Be Freed From Guantanamo". Associated Press. http://apnews.myway.com/article/20070329/D8O5V8UO1.html. Retrieved March 31, 2007.  
  20. ^ UK's 'forgotten' Cuba detainees, BBC, January 25, 2005
  21. ^ David Stringer (August 7, 2007). "UK asks US to release 5 from Guantanamo". Houston Chronicle. http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/world/5034407.html. Retrieved 2007-08-07.  
  22. ^ a b "Guantanamo detainees out on bail". BBC News. December 20, 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7153146.stm. Retrieved 2008-03-06.  
  23. ^ a b c Daniel Woolls (March 6, 2008). "Spain: Ex-detainees too damaged for trial". Miami Herald. http://www.miamiherald.com/news/breaking_dade/story/446518.html. Retrieved 2008-03-06.  
  24. ^ Giles Tremblett (2009-04-29). "Spanish court opens investigation of Guantánamo torture allegations". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2009-04-29. http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.guardian.co.uk%2Fworld%2F2009%2Fapr%2F29%2Fspain-court-guantanamo-detainees-torture&date=2009-04-29.  
  25. ^ "Spanish judge opens probe into Guantanamo torture". Agence France Presse. 2009-04-29. Archived from the original on 2009-04-29. http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2Fhostednews%2Fafp%2Farticle%2FALeqM5iAI5j8L_T9-ohjwCcZOXPT7Bf95g&date=2009-04-29.  
  26. ^ Gerald Warner (2009-04-29). "Spanish judge uses memos released by Barack Obama to pursue Bush officials". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 2009-04-29. http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Fblogs.telegraph.co.uk%2Fgerald_warner%2Fblog%2F2009%2F04%2F29%2Fspanish_judge_uses_memos_released_by_barack_obama_to_pursue_bush_officials&date=2009-04-29.  

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