||The neutrality of this article needs to be checked. This article is largely or entirely based on text from public domain United States government sources. This article may express the point of view of the United States government or may contain an unbalanced critical assessment. (September 2012)|
|Born||(estimated) 1980 (age 32–33)
|Arrested||July 20, 2002
Miland Village, Ismail Khiel District, Khowst Province, Afghanistan
|Alternate name||Obaydullah, Baidullah Bertola Obaidullah|
|Charge(s)||Charged on September 9, 2008
All charges dismissed on June 7, 2011
Obaidullah (born c. 1980) is a citizen of Afghanistan and one of many Afghan detainees currently held in extrajudicial detention in the United States Guantanamo Bay detention camp, in Cuba. He was captured as an Enemy combatant on July 20, 2002 and as of April 18, 2013, he has been held at Guantánamo for 10 years six months. Obaidullah's Guantanamo Internment Serial Number is 762. American intelligence analysts estimate that Obaidullah was born in 1980 in Khowst, Afghanistan.
- 1 Capture and Detention
- 2 Combatant Status Review
- 3 First annual Administrative Review Board hearing
- 4 Second annual Administrative Review Board
- 5 Third annual Administrative Review Board hearing
- 6 Charges
- 7 Habeas Petition
- 8 Current Status
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Capture and Detention
On July 20, 2002, two dozen American Special Armed Forces soldiers, acting on an anonymous tip, captured Obaidullah during their search for an individual alleged to be hiding anti-tank mines for an "insurgent's cell". At the time, Obaidullah was carrying a notebook which the U.S alleges contained diagrams for improvised explosive devices.
Obaidullah reported abusive interrogation while held in Bagram, during a period of time when the officers in charge have acknowledged directing the use of the proscribed technique of chaining a detainees hands above his head in order to impose sleep deprivation.
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. 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". These hearings would allow Guantanamo detainees to challenge their “enemy combatant” status and ultimately their detention.
In September 2004, a CSRT was convened to make a determination whether Obaidullah had been correctly classified as an "enemy combatant". Obaidullah was not allowed access to legal counsel or government evidence at these hearings, and was not allowed to present evidence beyond his own testimony. The CSRT determined that Obaidullah had appropriately been classified as an enemy combatant.
Administrative Review Board
Detainees whose Combatant Status Review Tribunal labeled them "enemy combatants" were scheduled for annual Administrative Review Board hearings. These hearings were designed to assess the threat a detainee might pose if released or transferred, and whether there were other factors that warranted his continued detention.
First annual Administrative Review Board hearing
The Following Factors Favor Continued Detention
- a. Commitment
- The detainee attended a Madrassa in Dusarakuh, Afghanistan where he practiced militant Islam and was recruited by al Qaida.
- During the time of the Taliban rule, the detainee helped coordinate the movement and activities of various foreign al Qaida operating in the Khowst area.
- After the beginning of the Allied Forces Campaign against al Qaida and the Taliban, the detainee used his compound to hide and relocate about 18 Arab al Qaida member to Pakistan. Subsequent to the Shahi Kot Campaign, the detainee hid six additional al Qaida Arab members in his house.
- One month after the conclusion of the Shahi Kot fighting, the detainee received orders to prepare command-detonated mines to use against United States forces in Khowst area.
- The detainee placed two Soviet anti-tank mines on the road between Khowst and Miram Shah, Pakistan. He eventually removed the mines, because no United States forces passed by the road and a rain shower washed away the dirt that was covering the mines.
- The detainee continued to experiment in order to devise a means to detonate the mines. In mid-July 2002, the detainee had at least 18 anti-tank mines hidden in his compound.
- The detainee was either given a vehicle or received funds to buy a vehicle that he used to scout a position from which he could attempt another mine attack.
- The detainee received cash and additional explosives at his home and traveled to Peshawar, Pakistan to receive instructions or carry messages between Arab al Qaida and their Afghan subordinates still in Khowst Province.
- The detainee was captured with over 20 anti-tank mines in his home and was personally carrying a notebook containing electronic and explosives schematics.
- b. Training
- The detainee attended a mechanical high school in Khowst City, Afghanistan. Subjects relating to tanks, mines and weapons were taught by the Taliban at the school. He attended the mine course, which covered the basics regarding Russian mines, approximately one month prior to 11 Sep 2001.
- c. Connections/Associations
- The detainee joined Jama’at al-Tabligh in approximately 2000.
- The Jama’at al-Tabligh is a legitimate Islamic Missionary organization based in Pakistan and is believed to be used as a cover for action by Islamic extremists.
- The detainee said Karim was a member of the Jama’at al-Tabligh and a shopkeeper who he partnered with in business. The detainee became indebted to Karim after losing 50,000 Rupees. In return for the debt, Karim asked him to store some land mines at his home.
- Bostan Qadeem, also known as Karim, is a suspected al Qaida cell leader and bomb maker. He and another man were detained. The two did not have identity papers. In their possession they had a Thuraya satellite telephone, $2,700 USD, 3,600 Pakistani Rupees and 70,000 Afghan Rupees.
- Three days before the detainee’s arrest, Karim drew some schematics on how to detonate the mines in a notebook that the detainee kept under his mattress.
- The detainee said that Karim told him the purpose of the land mines was to kill people that Karim did not like.
- Karim asked the detainee to take a truck full of wood, lumber and a bomb to Kabul, Afghanistan for the purpose of driving it close to where the Americans are.
- The detainee says that Karim is thought to be a Taliban commander who was getting funding from the Taliban or the Arabs.
- d. Other Relevant Data
- The detainee was arrested during a raid on Miland Village, Ismail Khiel District, Khowst Province, Afghanistan.
- The detainee was captured on 20 July 2002.
- The detainee says that he never would have placed or detonated the mines that Karim had given him. He only promised to help Karim because he had been promised money, and he needed money to help support his family.
The Following Primary Factors Favor Release Of Transfer
- a. The detainee never saw Jama’at al-Tabligh members who were associated with al Qaida or who were recruited on behalf of al Qaida.
- b. The detainee stated he never attended training camps related to Jama’at al-Tabligh, jihadist or the military.
- c. The detainee denied having any knowledge of the attacks in the United States prior to September 11th, and he also denies knowledge of any rumors or plans of future attacks on the United States or its interests.
- d. The detainee claims not to have had any knowledge of or affiliations with al Qaida or Taliban forces. He says he made a mistake and regrets his actions.
Obaidullah chose to participate in his first annual Administrative Review Board hearing.
Second annual Administrative Review Board
A Summary of Evidence memo was prepared for Baidullah Bertola Obaydullah's second annual Administrative Review Board, on 11 August 2006. The memo listed factors for and against his continued detention.
The following primary factors favor continued detention
- a. Commitment
- The detainee stated that he joined Jamaat al-Tabligh when eight to ten men who belonged to Jamaat al-Tabligh came to his village of Mulani, located near Khowst, Afghanistan. The Jamaat al-Tabligh members stayed in the detainee's village for approsimately three days and discussed prayer and the Koran.
- Jama'at Al Tablighi is a Pakistan based Islamic missionary organization used as a cover to mask travel and activities of terrorists, including members of al Qaida.
- A source stated that the detainee was a coordinator for al Qaida. During the time of Taliban rule, he helped coordinate the movement and activities of various foreign al Qaida members.
- A source stated that the detainee actually emplaced two Soviet anti-tank mines on a road. The mines were to be command detonated but the detainee had difficulties emplacing the devices. The detainee subsequently removed the mines after no United States forces passed by on the road and then a rain shower washed the dirt covering off the devices.
- A source stated that the detainee continued to experiment to devise a means to detonate the mines. As of mid-July 2002, the detainee had at least 18 anti-tank mines hidden inside his compound.
- The detainee was captured while carrying a notebook containing electronic and explosives schematics.
- b. Training
- The detainee stated that he was drafted by the Taliban and attended Taliban anti-tank mine school for two days then left to go into hiding from the Taliban.
- c. Connections/Associations
- A source stated that following the beginning of the allied forces campaign against al Qaida and the Taliban, the detainee used his compound to hid and subsequently relocate about 18 Arab al Qaida members to Pakistan.
- A source stated that the detainee hid six additional al Qaida members in his residence subsequent to the Shahi Kot campaign.
- A source stated that the detainee received orders from an Arab in Pakistan, approximately one month after the conclusion of Shahi Kot fighting to begin preparing command detonated mines to use against United States forces.
- A source stated that the detainee also had received cash and additional explosives at his residence and traveled fairly frequently to Pakistan to receive instructions or to carry messages between Arab al Qaida members in Pakistan and their Afghan subordinates.
The following primary factors favor release or transfer
- a. The detainee denied having any knowledge of the attacks in the United States prior to their execution on 11 September 2001 and also denied knowledge of any rumors or plans of future attacks on the United States or United States interests.
- b. The detainee stated that he never attended training camps related to Jamaat al-Tablish, jihadists or the military.
- c. The detainee stated that the information contained in the notebook was obtained when he attended a mechanical school in Khowst, Afghanistan, that the Taliban forced him to attend. The purpose of the school was to provide explosive and firearms training. The detainee described the contents of the notebook as directions on how to use the anti-tank mines not as electronic/explosive schematics.
- d. The detainee stated that he took the training course to learn how to dispose of the mines.
Third annual Administrative Review Board hearing
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- The charges allege he hid mines and other explosives in the Khost area of Afghanistan from October 2001 to July 2002 and carried a notebook describing "how to wire and detonate explosive devices in preparation for acts of terrorism."
On June 7, 2011 the charges were dismissed without prejudice.
There are currently no charges pending against him.
Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Boumediene v. Bush that Guantanamo detainees are entitled to habeas corpus proceedings, Obaidullah filed a petition for habeas corpus in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in July 2008. Shortly after, military commission charges were filed against him. A stay was issued in the case which halted Obaidullah’s habeas petition during military commission proceedings.
The stay was lifted and habeas proceedings were resumed in 2010. On October 19, 2010, Judge Richard Leon of the U.S District Court of the District of Columbia ruled that Obaidullah's detention was lawful. Judge Leon denied Obaidullah’s petition for writ of habeas corpus after finding he was "more likely than not" an insurgent.
Obaidullah appealed the decision, and In August 2012, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit denied the appeal, affirming the lower court’s ruling. The court held that the lower court had correctly determined that it was “more likely than not” that Obaidullah was a member of al Qaeda, relying on the secret source whose tip to the U.S. military led to the raid on Obaidullah’s family compound. The identity of this source and the information received have not been revealed to Obaidullah or his attorneys.
Motion to Reopen
On Feb 8, 2012, Obaidullah’s lawyers moved to reopen the record. This would allow Obaidullah a new trial in the district court on the grounds that new evidence had been uncovered. This evidence was attested to in a declaration by Lieutenant Commander Richard Pandis, an NCIS investigator assigned to the case. Pandis stated: "[m]y investigation has given me no reason to believe that Obaidullah or any other particular person was actually visually identified at the time of the report about injured persons being ferried in a vehicle. Instead, my investigation leads me to believe that the intelligence was unintentionally mischaracterized by individuals and documents describing it to the District Court."  Pandis also discovered that blood found in a taxicab on Obaidullah’s compound – which the U.S. had alleged was the result of ferrying wounded insurgents to a hospital - was from the birth of his daughter instead.
The motion was denied on January 30, 2013.
Obaidullah is participating in a hunger strike along with half of the other Guantanamo detainees as of April 23, 2013.
- list of prisoners (.pdf), US Department of Defense, May 15, 2006
- Questions Raised in Afghan Detainee's Case
- "Q&A: What next for Guantanamo prisoners?". BBC News. 2002-01-21. Retrieved 2008-11-24. mirror
- 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
- CSRT Transcript, pages 2769-2779.
- "Annual Administrative Review Boards for Enemy Combatants Held at Guantanamo Attributable to Senior Defense Officials". March 6, 2007. Retrieved November 12, 2010.
- OARDEC (date redacted). "Summary of Administrative Review Board Proceedings of ISN 762". United States Department of Defense. pp. pages 219. Retrieved 2007-12-19.
- OARDEC (11 August 2006). "Unclassified Summary of Evidence for Administrative Review Board in the case of Obaydullah, Baidullah/Bertola". United States Department of Defense. pp. pages 18–20. Retrieved 2007-12-19.
- Jane Sutton (2008-09-10). "U.S. charges Afghan prisoner at Guantanamo". Reuters. Retrieved 2008-09-11. mirror
- "Charge Sheet". United States Department of Defense. 2008-09-10. Retrieved 2008-09-11.[dead link]
- Afghan Nobody Faces Trial by Military Commission Andy Worthington
- Amnesty International Blasts Obama for Delays and Injustice on Human Rights, Guantánamo and Terrorism Andy Worthington June 26, 2010
- Human Rights First; The Case of Obaidullah, Afghan
- Human Rights First; The Case of Obaidullah, Afghan