As Steven Aftergood reported, Syrian Gitmo detainee Abdulhadi Omer Mahmoud Faraj has challenged the government’s inane policy prohibiting detainee attorneys from refuting the claims made in Gitmo files. The motion argues that letting the claims go unrebutted jeopardizes any chance Faraj might have for repatriation or resettlement, and even endangers his family in Syria.
Abu Zubaydah’s Evidence
One problem, the motion argues, is the allegations in his Gitmo file come from, “unreliable claims made by individuals under conditions that amount to coercion, if not torture.” Faraj’s Gitmo file includes the following claims:
- In a 2002 CIA report, Abdurahman Khadr (Omar’s brother, who was then working as a CIA informant) said the Syrian guesthouse in Kabul at which Faraj stayed conducted document forgery
- In a 2002 CIA report, Abu Zubaydah said he helped fund the Syrian guesthouse
- In a 2002, 2003, and 2005 CIA reports, Abu Zubaydah said one person at the guesthouse was an expert forger, another was a bomber with ties to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and a third met with him in 2001; only the third, Maasoum Abdah Mouhammad, is among the group of 4-5 Syrians with whom Faraj allegedly had the closest ties, and he was transferred to Bulgaria in 2010
- Mohammed Basardah, notorious for falsely implicating a large number of detainees, claimed that another of the Syrians Faraj had ties with was fighting with him at Tora Bora
In other words, many of the claims against Faraj constitute claims made by the two most unreliable Gitmo witnesses–and another who was then on the CIA payroll–implicating others associated with Faraj. Most of those claims were minimized or ignored in Faraj’s most recent Administrative Review Board.
Syrian Military Intelligence Evidence
The motion discusses the other problem with his Gitmo file more obliquely, with a reference to Syrian human rights violations, including its dubious allegations that opposition figures are Islamic extremists.
According to Human Rights Watch, “Syrian security services regularly arrest men suspected of Islamist affiliation or sympathies” and torture them to obtain confessions.
Given the current violent response by the Syrian government to pro-democracy protesters, the unchallenged narrative depicting Mr. Faraj as a “terrorist” only increases the risk of harm to him and his family.
But the Gitmo file clearly reveals the problem: some of the key allegations against Faraj come from two CIA reports, dating to 2001, recording claims passed on by Syrian Military Intelligence.
Syrian authorities dismantled terrorist cells in Damascus and Hamah, SY in 2000, arresting fifteen members of the cells while some cell members, including SY-327, escaped. The Syrian Military Intelligence (SMI) stated that those who escaped were believed to have fled to Afghanistan.