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Mohamed el Gharani
Born 1986 (age 23–24)
Medina, Saudi Arabia
Detained at Guantanamo
ISN 269
Charge(s) No charge
Status Repatriated

Mohamed el Gharani is a citizen of Chad who was held for seven years in the United States Guantanamo Bay detention camps, in Cuba.[1] [2] [3]

His Guantanamo Internment Serial Number was 269. El Qarani is a native of Saudi Arabia[4] and American intelligence analysts estimate he was born in 1986, in Medina, Saudi Arabia.[5]

On June 15, 2005 Human Rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith identified Al Qarani as one of a dozen teenage boys held in the adult portion of the prison.[6] According to Smith Al Qarani was born in November 1987.

On May 28, 2006 The Independent said Al Qarani was accused of plotting with Abu Qatada, in London, in 1999 – when he was a 12 year old, living with his parents, in Saudi Arabia.[7]

On January 14, 2009 U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon ordered the release of Al Qarani because the evidence that he was an enemy combatant was mostly limited to statements from two other detainees whose credibility had been called into question by US government staff.[1]



Mohamed el Gharani's name was not spelled consistently by the US Department of Defense:

Yousef Abkir Salih Al Qarani on the Summary of Evidence memo prepared for his Combatant Status Review Tribunal, on 26 October 2004. [8] Muhammad Hamid Al Qarani on the Summary of Evidence memo prepared for his first and second annual Administrative Review Board, on 27 September 2005 and 29 May 2006, and on the two official lists, published in the Spring of 2006.[5] [9] [10][11] Muhammad Hamid (Yousef Akbir Salih) Al Qarani on four official lists of names published in September 2007.[12 ][13 ][14][15 ]

Combatant Status Review

Initially the Bush administration asserted they could withhold the protections of the Geneva Conventions from captives in the "War on Terror", while critics argued the Conventions obligated the United States to conduct competent tribunals to determine the status of prisoners.[16] Subsequently, the US Department of Defense instituted Combatant Status Review Tribunals, to determine whether the captives met the new definition of an "enemy combatant".

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".[17]


Summary of Evidence memo

A Summary of Evidence memo was prepared for Yousef Abkir Salih Al Qarani's Combatant Status Review Tribunal, on 26 October 2004. [8][18 ] The memo listed the following allegations against him:

a. The detainee is a member of al Qaida and the Taliban:
  1. The detainee traveled to Pakistan in late 2001 on a fake passport.
  2. The detainee has been associated with al Qaeda members.
  3. The detainee is identified as a member of the Bahrain Defense Organization.
  4. The detainee is a low level al Qaida fighter.
b. The detainee participated in military operations against the U.S. and its Coalition partners.
  1. The detainee was recruited for military training at the al Farouq training camp.
  2. The detainee received military training, including use of AK-47's.
  3. The detainee reportedly may have fought against U.S. and coalition troops in Tora Bora.


Al Qarani chose to dictate a statement for his Combatant Status Review Tribunal.[19 ] On March 3, 2006, in response to a court order from Jed Rakoff the Department of Defense published a Summarized transcript from his Combatant Status Review Tribunal.[20]

Missing evidence

Al Qarani had requested his Personal Representative to present his student visa as evidence to his Tribunal that he had traveled to Pakistan to study computers and had never traveled to Afghanistan. His Personal Representative told the Tribunal he had been unable to locate Al Qarani's passport and evidence in the evidence locker.

The Tribunal briefly recessed, to consider this development, and when it reconvened the President announced:

“It was determined that this Visa like his passport would also be under a false name and therefor is truly irrelevant to the proceedings at this time. The Tribunal has determined that the document is irrelevant and we will not pursue anything further in trying to locate it.”

Al Qarani's statement

Al Qarani's Personal Representative told the Tribunal Al Qarani asked him to present the evidence on his behalf.

Al Qarani's Personal Representative did not mention Al Qarani's youth.

Al Qarani had acknowledged acquiring a false passport:

“I actually did leave Pakistan in late 2000 and in doing so I had to obtain a fake passport. The reason is because I was born in Saudi Arabia but my family was from Chad. I had to go to the Chad Embassy to find out if I could obtain a passport. They allowed me to get one under a different name; which made the passport fake.”

Al Qarani had denied having any contact with Al Qaeda or the Taliban.

Al Qarani had stated he was caught in Karachi, Pakistan and sold to the Americans for $5,000. He said he was not a fighter. He denied ever having been to any training camps.

Initially Al Qarani’s Personal Representative told his Tribunal that Al Qarani was captured in Saudi Arabia, after September 11, 2000, when he went to the Police Station to report that he had lost his passport.

The Tribunal President confirmed a note on Al Qarani detainee election form that his Personal Representative had not mentioned:

“the detainee requested to have the airport confirm that he left Saudi only once. That was a month to a month and a half prior to 9/11 to go to Jeddah and then Karachi. Truly that is not relevant to what we are talking about and there is no way to confirm that obviously without his passport. We just wanted to address that since it is on the Detainee Election Form.”

The Tribunal reconvened, twice, to correct errors the Personal Representative made.

  1. Al Qarani had traveled to Pakistan in late 2001, not 2000.
  2. Al Qarani was not arrested in Saudi Arabia. He was arrested in Pakistan, “amongst Arabic and Saudi people.”

Administrative Review Board

Captives whose CSRT labelled them "enemy combatants" were scheduled for annual Administrative Review Board hearings. These hearings were designed to judge whether the captive still posed a threat if repatriated to their home country.[21]

First annual Administrative Review Board

A Summary of Evidence memo was prepared for Muhammad Hamid Al Qarani's first annual Administrative Review Board, on 27 September 2005. [9] The memo listed factors for and against his continued detention.

The following primary factors favor continued detention

a. Commitment
  1. On approximatly June 13, 2001, the detainee departed Medina, Saudi Arabia, where his family lived and traveled to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and then on to Karachi, Pakistan.
  2. The detainee paid 500 Saudi riyals for a fraudulent passport with a false date of birth. The name on the passport is Youself Abkir Saleh. This passport was supposed to allow the detainee to stay in Pakistan for five to six months.
  3. The detainee was seen in the al Ansar guesthouse, in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
  4. The detainee traveled with a large group of people from al Farouq to Kandahar, Afghanistan.
  5. The detainee was given a forged document that indicated that he had finished training at al Farouq. This document enabled the detainee to accompany a group to Towr Khom.
  6. The detainee was in Tora Bora for two and a half months. Prior to his capture there, the detainee created a cover story that he was a humanitarian relief worker.
  7. The detainee was arrested with a specific model casio watch that is given to graduates of al Farouq.
b. Training
The detainee received only very basic training, mostly learning how to use the AK-47.
c. Connections/Associations
  1. After arriving in Pakistan, the detainee took a taxi to the nearest hotel and met two men who introduced themselves to the detainee after they heard him speaking Arabic in the lobby. The men's names were Mu'ath, from Pakistan, and al Habre, from Saudi Arabia. The detainee shared a room with these two men.
  2. The detainee's name was found on an Arabic-language computer file that listed contact points and telephone numbers for al Qaida Mujahadeen in Pakistan. According to the file, these Mujahadeen were among a group who had come to Afghanistan in December 2001 but who had not completed their training and therefore were not ready to fight in the war.
  3. the detainee's name and phone number were found on a computer file named "asra.doc." The information on this file was associated with a senior al Qaida member.
  4. On 20 July 2002, the detainee's name was identified on the Alneda Internet site as aprt of a group of Taliban and al Qaida fighters who were captured by Pakistani forces.
  5. The detainee's name was on an e-mailed copy of a list of Arabs incarcerated in Pakistan.
  6. The detainee's name and phone number were found on material in the pockets of two Saudi citizens detained by a foreign government service on 26 June 2001 at the Bahrain International Airport. The two Saudis admitted they were al Qaida trained and traveling on behalf of Usama bin Laden to carry out suicide missions in Saudi Arabia.
  7. The detainee was identifed as belonging to a London, United Kingdom cell led by Abu Qatada al Masri, circa 1998.
d. Other Relevant Data
  1. Approximately five months after arriving in Pakistan, the detainee lost his passport. The detainee said the passport and some money fell out of his pants pocket.
  2. The detainee accused a foreign government service of electrically shocking him and he accused U.S. troops of beating him. The detainee was then shown a photograph of himself taken by American troops in Kandahar and asked to identify any bruises or evidence of beating. The detainee then admitted to lying about the beatings.

The following primary factors favor release or transfer

a. The detainee denied attending any training camp, receiving any weapons training or receiving any other training.
b. The detainee stated that he never entered Afghanistan.

Second annual Administrative Review Board

A Summary of Evidence memo was prepared for Muhammad Hamid Al Qarani's second annual Administrative Review Board, on 29 May 2006. [10] The memo listed factors for and against his continued detention.

The following primary factors favor continued detention

a. Commitment
  1. The detainee wanted to leave Saudi Arabia because there were no opportunities available to him there. He heard that he could learn about computers and English in Pakistan.
  2. The detainee paid 500 Saudi Riyals at the Chad Embassy in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, for a fraudulent passport that incorrectly stated his name and birth date. He then obtained a five to six month visa to Pakistan at the Pakistan Embassy.
  3. The detainee flew from his home in Medina, Saudi Arabia to Karachi, Pakistan, via Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He paid for his trip using money he saved over four to five years selling prayer mats and beads. He arrived in Pakistan with 8,000 to 10,000 Saudi Riyals.
  4. The detainee met two men, at a hotel in Karachi, Pakistan, and also shared a room with them.
  5. One man agreed to help the detainee register for computer and English courses, but was unable to locate any schools accepting new students. The man suggested that the three do missionary work while they waited for school vacancies, and the detainee agreed.
  6. Approximately five months after arriving in Pakistan, the detainee lost his passport. He went to a police station to report the loss and was arrested.
  7. After approximately one month, the detainee was turned over to the Americans at Kandahar, Afghanistan.
b. Connections/Associations
  1. The detainee's name was found on a list of 78 incarcerated al Qaida associates on a computer recovered from a suspected al Qaida safe house in Islamabad, Pakistan.
  2. The detainee's name was found on a list of 68 probably al Qaida members incarcerated in Pakistan. This handwritten letter was recovered with other materials linked to al Qaida.
  3. The detainee's name was found on a list of Mujahedin that had come to Afghanistan in December 2001 that was seized from an al Qaida safehouse in Pakistan.
  4. The detainee's name and telephone number were listed on a chart of captured Mujahedin found on a computer connected to a known al Qaida operative.
  5. The detainee's name was found in a handwritten phone directory taken from two individuals who admitted to being involved in alleged al Qaida sponsored suicide operations.
  6. A veteran jihadista with multiple al Qaida associations saw the detainee in the al Ansar guest house in Kandahar, Afghanistan. A member of the London al Qaida cell mentioned that the detainee was also associated with that cell.
  7. The detainee is known to have ridden in a pickup truck from Knowst, Afghanistan to the Afghan-Pakistan border.
  8. A senior al Qaida operative commented that the detainee had traveled to Afghanistan after 11 September 2001 and had received basic training, mainly usage of the Kalashnikov rifle.
The detainee is know to have traveled from the al Farouq training camp to Kandahar, Afghanistan and on to Kabul, Afghanistan. The detainee was also seen at Tora Bora, Afghanistan.
c. Other Relevant Data
  1. The detainee claims that after he was arrested, he was found, electrically shocked, placed in a dark room, blindfolded, and beaten. The police drove the detainee to several different prisons in Karachi, Pakistan for approximately on month. He was beaten at each prison.
  2. The detainee admitted lying about having been beaten.
  3. A large discrepancy was discovered between the amount of money the detainee had when he arrived in Pakistan, his claimed earnings, and the cost of his trip. When confronted with the discrepancy, the detainee was unable to explain it, refused to acknowledge it, and became very angry.
  4. The detainee was captured with the same Casio watch as those given to graduates of the al Farouq training camp.

The following primary factors favor release or transfer

a. The detainee claims to have had no weapons training.
b. The detainee believes that Usama bin Laden is not a good muslim because he killed innocent people in the attacks on America.
c. The detainee stated that he had never heard of al Qaida until an American soldier mentioned it. He claims he has never had any type of military training and does not know how to fire any type of weapon.
d. The detainee claims that he does not know of anyone who issued a fatwa to carry out a jihad against America or American interests, nor does he know anyone who participated in the attacks on America.
e. The detainee indicated that he never traveled to Afghanistan and did not interact with anyone connected with al Qaida.

Boston Globe investigations

On July 14, 2006 the Boston Globe reported on investigations they made to test the credibility of the allegations against Guantanamo detainees.[22] Al Gharani was one of the detainees whom they profiled.[23]

The Globe reported that Al Gharani was alleged to have been part of a cell, in London, lead by Abu Qatada, "circa 1998" – when Al Gharani was 11 or 12 years old.[23] According to the Globe:

"Chito Peppler, a Pentagon spokesman, said the date referred to when 'Abu Qatada became active.' He maintained that it was possible that Gharani had been a part of the cell before his arrest at 14."

Al Gharani's lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith pointed out that Al Gharani had never traveled to England.[23]

Smith also offered an example of how allegations arose against Al Gharani due to the DoD's lack of qualified translators.[23] In Al Gharani's dialect of Arabic 'zalati' is a tomato. In his translator's dialect of Arabic 'zalati' meant money. His translator asked Al Gharani where he would go to get money, back home, and Al Gharani dutifully listed all the grocery stalls where he could buy tomatoes.

Questioning over the June 10th 2006 suicides

The Department of Defense reported, on June 10, 2006, that three detainees committed suicide.

The camp commander, Admiral Harry Harris, called the suicides, "an act of asymetrial warfare". One reaction of the camp authorities to the suicide was to seize all their papers, even their confidential communication with their lawyers. Leaks from the camp authorities fueled rumors that the camp authorities had reason to believe that detainee's lawyers had actively conspired with the detainees in arranging the suicides. The camp authorities claimed that one of the suicide notes was written on stationary that the camp authorities made available to detainee's lawyers.

The Washington Post reports that the lawyer camp authorities have focussed their suspicion on was Clive Stafford Smith.[24] Stafford Smith reports that his client Mohammed el-Gharani, one of the youngest of the Guantanamo detainees, has been interrogated, at length, trying to establish a tie between him and the suicides.[25] In a letter to the Associated Press Stafford Smith wrote:

"The interrogator said I told my clients to kill themselves, and word was passed to the three men who did commit suicide."

According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Stafford Smith claims: "...soldiers have threatened to move el-Gharani to Camp 5, a maximum-security facility, if he does not implicate Stafford Smith in the suicides.".[25]

Historian Andy Worthington, reporting on April 25, 2008, in the Lebanon Daily Star, described abuse Al Qaranhi reports experiencing.[26] The abuse Al Qaranhi reports include:

  • sleep deprivation;
  • having a cigarette extinguished on his body;
  • having freezing cold water thrown on him;
  • being suspended by his arms, with his feet hanging free from the floor, for extended periods of time;
  • having a soldier hold his penis in his hand, hold a pair of scissors, and threaten to cut it off.

Writ of habeas corpus

On January 14, 2009 US District Court Judge Richard Leon ordered Al Qarani's released.[27][28] Leon dismissed all the US allegations that Al Garani had been observed in Afghanistan, because there was no evidence to support them—other than denunciations from two other captives—captives whose credibility he questioned.

First phone call home

Camp one Guantanamo has a lounge, albeit with shackles, from which certain captives are allowed to make a phone call.

Mohamed el Gharani was among those who was granted access to telephone privileges.

Muhammad Al Qarani was allowed his first phone call home on April 16, 2009.[29] But instead, he phoned former captive, recently released Al Jazeera journalist Sami Al Hajj.[30] He told Al Hajj that conditions had worsened after the election of United States President Barack Obama. Al Qarani was repatriated less than two months after the call, on June 13, 2009.[31]


On June 11, 2009 the Department of Justice reported that they had repatriated an Iraqi captive and a Chadian captive from Guantanamo to their home countries.[32]

Andy Worthington, the author of The Guantanamo Files, reported that he was still not free after his repatriation, that he being held by Chadian security forces, who described his Chadian detention as a formality.[33 ][34]

Reuters reports that Commander Jeffrey Gordon continued to insist that Al Garani was older than he claimed.[35]

The BBC reports that after his repatriation Al Garani has not been able to receive any official identity documents, because Chad officials are not sure he is actually a citizen.[36] They report that since Al Garani grew up in Saudi Arabia he is unable to speak to any other Chadians in their local language.


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^,1518,619195,00.html
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b OARDEC (May 15, 2006). "List of Individuals Detained by the Department of Defense at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba from January 2002 through May 15, 2006" (PDF). United States Department of Defense. Retrieved 2007-09-29.  
  6. ^ Clive Stafford Smith (2005-06-15). "Kids of Guantanamo". Reprieve via Cageprisoners. Archived from the original on 2009-08-06. Retrieved 2009-08-06.  
  7. ^ The children of Guantanamo Bay, The Independent, May 28, 2006
  8. ^ a b OARDEC (26 October 2004). "Summary of Evidence for Combatant Status Review Tribunal – Al Qarani, Yousef Abkir Salih (published September 2007)". United States Department of Defense. p. page 8. Retrieved 2008-04-25.  
  9. ^ a b OARDEC (27 September 2005). "Unclassified Summary of Evidence for Administrative Review Board in the case of Muhammad Hamid Al Qarani". United States Department of Defense. pp. pages 46-48. Retrieved 2008-04-25.  
  10. ^ a b OARDEC (29 May 2006). "Unclassified Summary of Evidence for Administrative Review Board in the case of Al Qarani, Muhammad Hamid". United States Department of Defense. pp. pages 42-44. Retrieved 2008-04-25.  
  11. ^ OARDEC (April 20, 2006). "List of detainee who went through complete CSRT process" (PDF). United States Department of Defense. Retrieved 2007-09-29.  
  12. ^ OARDEC (July 17, 2007). "Index for Combatant Status Review Board unclassified summaries of evidence" (PDF). United States Department of Defense. Retrieved 2007-09-29.  
  13. ^ OARDEC (September 4, 2007). "Index for testimony" (PDF). United States Department of Defense. Retrieved 2007-09-29.  
  14. ^ OARDEC (August 9, 2007). "Index to Summaries of Detention-Release Factors for ARB Round One" (PDF). United States Department of Defense. Retrieved 2007-09-29.  
  15. ^ OARDEC (July 17, 2007). "Index of Summaries of Detention-Release Factors for ARB Round Two" (PDF). United States Department of Defense. Retrieved 2007-09-29.  
  16. ^ "Q&A: What next for Guantanamo prisoners?". BBC News. 2002-01-21. Retrieved 2008-11-24.   mirror
  17. ^ 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
  18. ^ OARDEC (26 October 2004). "Summary of Evidence for Combatant Status Review Tribunal – name redacted (published March 2005)". United States Department of Defense. p. page 80. Retrieved 2008-04-25.  
  19. ^ OARDEC (date redacted). "Summarized Statement". United States Department of Defense. pp. pages 4-7. Retrieved 2008-04-25.  
  20. ^ "US releases Guantanamo files". The Age. April 4, 2006. Retrieved 2008-03-15.  
  21. ^ Book, Spc. Timothy. The Wire (JTF-GTMO Public Affairs Office), "Review process unprecedented", March 10, 2006
  22. ^ Guantanamo accusations questioned after review turns up basic errors, The Jurist, July 14, 2006
  23. ^ a b c d Factual errors cited in cases against detainees: Lawyers demand new trial system at Guantanamo, Boston Globe, July 14, 2006
  24. ^ Group Denounces U.S. Over Gitmo Suicides, Washington Post, September 28, 2006
  25. ^ a b Lawyer for detainees speaks on suicides, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, September 25, 2006
  26. ^ Andy Worthington (April 25, 2008). "When Guantanamo held children". Dailty Star. Retrieved 2008-04-25.  
  27. ^ "US must free Guantanamo detainee". BBC News. 2009-01-14. Retrieved 2009-01-16.  
  28. ^ "Judge orders release of Guantanamo detainee from Chad". Agence France Presse. 2009-01-15. Retrieved 2009-01-16.  
  29. ^ "'Nothing changed' at Guantanamo". The Australian. 2009-04-16.,25197,25340979-12335,00.html. Retrieved 2009-06-26.  
  30. ^ "New Guantanamo abuse claims". Al Jazeera. 2009-05-22. Retrieved 2009-06-26.  
  31. ^ "US transfers Guantanamo detainees". Al Jazeera. 2009-06-13. Retrieved 2009-06-26.  
  32. ^ "United States Transfers Two Guantanamo Detainees to Foreign Nations". United States Department of Justice. 2009-06-11. Archived from the original on 2009-06-11. Retrieved 2009-06-11.  
  33. ^ Andy Worthington (2009-06-11). "Guantánamo’s Youngest Prisoner Released To Chad". Archived from the original on 2009-06-12.  
  34. ^ "Two Guantanamo detainees sent to Iraq, Chad". Briebart. 2009-06-11. Archived from the original on 2009-09-29. Retrieved 2009-06-11.  
  35. ^ Luke Baker (2009-06-11). "U.S. frees Guantanamo detainee seized when a teenager". Reuters. Archived from the original on 2009-06-11.  
  36. ^ "Guantanamo man left in Chad limbo". BBC News. 2009-07-01. Retrieved 2009-07-01.  

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