Mohammed Ahmad Ghulam Rabbani

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Mohammed Ahmad Ghulam Rabbani
Born1970 (age 48–49)
Medina, Saudi Arabia
ArrestedSeptember 2002
Karachi, Pakistan
Detained at"the salt pit"
Charge(s)extrajudicial detention
StatusStill held in Guantanamo

Mohammed Ahmad Ghulam Rabbani, also known as Abd al Rahim Ghularn Rabbani, is a citizen of Pakistan currently held extrajudicial detention by the United States military at Guantanamo Bay Detention Camps, in Cuba.[1][2][3]

American Intelligence analysts estimated that Rabbani was born in 1970, in al Medinah, Saudi Arabia.

Mohammed Ahmad Ghulam Rabbani arrived at Guantanamo on September 20, 2004, and has been held there for 14 years, 11 months and 27 days.[3][4] He had spent approximately two years in the CIA's network of secret black site camps, prior to his transfer to Guantanamo.[2][5]


Rabbani was born in Saudi Arabia to a Pakistani family who migrated to Karachi from India during the partition in 1947. He learned to speak Arabic while growing up in Saudi Arabia. Rabbani eventually moved back to Karachi where he worked as a taxi driver during the 1990s.[6] Due to his fluency in Arabic, his clientele included Arabs visiting the city, and he became a referred driver and guide for them. He married in 2001 and had a son, whom he has never seen and only came to learn of during custody, when his son was six years old.[6] Rabbani has written that he was handed over to American authorities because his crime was that he "spoke Arabic" and that he was accused of being one of them. He has also written on the torture he has endured during captivity in Afghanistan and Guantanamo.[7]

CIA black site detention[edit]

According to Laid Saidi, Rabbani, and his brother, Abdul Al-Rahim Ghulam Rabbani, were being held in the CIA black site known as "the salt pit" at the same time as him.[2] According to the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on CIA torture Rabbani was tortured for two years by the CIA.[5] According to the report he was a victim of mistaken identity.

Official status reviews[edit]

Originally, the Bush Presidency asserted that captives apprehended in the "war on terror" were not protected by the Geneva Conventions, and could be held indefinitely, without explanation. However, in 2004, the United States Supreme Court ruled, in Rasul v. Bush, that the captives were entitled to hear the allegations that justified their detention, and to try to refute those allegations.

Office for the Administrative Review of Detained Enemy Combatants[edit]

In 2004, in response to the Supreme Court's ruling in Rasul v. Bush, the Department of Defense set up the Office for the Administrative Review of Detained Enemy Combatants. Documents from those reviews were published in response to Freedom of Information Act requests.

Scholars at the Brookings Institution, led by Benjamin Wittes, listed the captives still held in Guantanamo in December 2008, according to whether their detention was justified by certain common allegations:[8]

  • Mohammed Ahmad Ghulam Rabbani was listed as one of the captives who "The military alleges ... are members of Al Qaeda."[8]
  • Mohammed Ahmad Ghulam Rabbani was listed as one of the captives who "The military alleges ... stayed in Al Qaeda, Taliban or other guest- or safehouses."[8]
  • Mohammed Ahmad Ghulam Rabbani was listed as one of the captives who "The military alleges ... took military or terrorist training in Afghanistan."[8]
  • Mohammed Ahmad Ghulam Rabbani was listed as one of the captives who was an "al Qaeda operative".[8]
  • Mohammed Ahmad Ghulam Rabbani was listed as one of the "82 detainees made no statement to CSRT or ARB tribunals or made statements that do not bear materially on the military’s allegations against them."[8]

Habeas petition[edit]

A habeas petition was submitted on Rabbani's behalf to US District Court Judge Ricardo M. Urbina.[9] In response, on December 14, 2005 the Department of Defense published a thirteen-page dossier of unclassified documents arising from his Combatant Status Review Tribunal.

His Summary of Evidence memo was drafted on November 9, 2004.[9]

The documents indicate a Lieutenant Commander, his Personal Representative, recorded on the detainee election form that they met, for eighty minutes, on 13 November 2004, to discuss his upcoming Tribunal.[9] His Personal Representative's notes state simply that he chose not to attend his Tribunal.

Tribunal Panel 21 convened 17 November 2004 and confirmed his "enemy combatant status". The decision memo drafted by the Tribunal states it reached this conclusion based on classified evidence.[9] His brother's status was also confirmed by Tribunal panel 21, on 23 November 2004. The notes in his case state his Tribunal did not convene in Guantanamo.

His name is also spelled as "Mohammed Ahmed Ghulam Rabbani", and his brother also as "Abd Al Rahim Ghulam Rabbani" in the document.[9]

Formerly secret Joint Task Force Guantanamo assessment[edit]

[10][11][12] His assessment was eleven pages long, and recommended his continued detention.[13] It was signed by camp commandant David M. Thomas Jr. and was dated May 28, 2008.

Joint Review Task Force[edit]

When he assumed office in January 2009 President Barack Obama made a number of promises about the future of Guantanamo.[14][15][16] He promised the use of torture would cease at the camp. He promised to institute a new review system. That new review system was composed of officials from six departments, where the OARDEC reviews were conducted entirely by the Department of Defense. When it reported back, a year later, the Joint Review Task Force classified some individuals as too dangerous to be transferred from Guantanamo, even though there was no evidence to justify laying charges against them. On April 9, 2013, that document was made public after a Freedom of Information Act request.[17] Mohammed Ahmad Ghulam Rabbani was one of the 71 individuals deemed too innocent to charge, but too dangerous to release. Although Obama promised that those deemed too innocent to charge, but too dangerous to release would start to receive reviews from a Periodic Review Board less than a quarter of men have received a review.

Hunger strike[edit]

Rabbani and his brother participated in the hunger strike that started on August 8, 2005.[18]

Named by the US Senate as one of the CIA's captives subjected to torture, without authorization[edit]

On December 9, 2014, the United States Senate Intelligence Committee published the 600 page unclassified summary of a 6,000 page report on the CIA's use of torture.[19] While some of the CIA's captives were identified as only been subjected to torture that had been authorized from Washington, other captives, like Rabbani, were identified as having been tortured by CIA officials who did not have authorization. According to the Intelligence Committee, Rabbani "Subjected to forced standing, attention grasps, and cold temperatures without blankets in November 2002."

Los Angeles Times op-ed[edit]

The Los Angeles Times published an op-ed from Rabbani, on July 25, 2018.[20] In the op-ed Rabbani says he had been extensively tortured. In the op-ed Rabbani maintained he had been a mere taxi driver.

Rabbani said that his weight was down to just 95 pounds (43 kg).[20] He said he had engaged in hunger strikes, to peacefully protest the injustice of his detention, his current weight loss was due to an inability to take in solid food. He said that the prison's head doctor had directed that he should be allowed the foods he said he could digest, but that camp guards insisted on ignoring these directions, and subjecting him to force-feeding ensure, through a nose-tube, while locked in a "restraint chair".

Rabbani said he was held in "the dark prison".[20] He identified himself as the previously unidentified individual who found being suspended by the wrists so painful he had tried to amputate his own hands.


  1. ^ OARDEC. "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. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2006-05-15. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help) Works related to List of Individuals Detained by the Department of Defense at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba from January 2002 through May 15, 2006 at Wikisource
  2. ^ a b c Craig S. Smith; Souad Mekhennet (2016-07-07). "Algerian Tells of Dark Term in U.S. Hands". Algiers: New York Times. p. A1. Archived from the original on 2015-06-19. Mr. Masri and Mr. Saidi said they got to know other prisoners, including two Pakistani brothers from Saudi Arabia, whose phone number Mr. Masri also memorized. Using that number, The New York Times reached relatives of the brothers, Abdul al-Rahim Ghulam Rabbani and Mohammed Ahmad Ghulam Rabbani, who said they had heard from the Red Cross two years ago that the brothers were being held in Afghanistan. Pentagon documents show that two men with those names are now detainees at Guantánamo Bay. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help); Invalid |deadurl=No (help)
  3. ^ a b Margot Williams (2008-11-03). "Guantanamo Docket: Mohammed Ahmad Ghulam Rabbani". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-06-19.
  4. ^ "Measurements of Heights and Weights of Individuals Detained by the Department of Defense at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (ordered and consolidated version)". Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas, from DoD data. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-12-21. Retrieved 2009-12-21. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  5. ^ a b "Family of Guantanamo prisoner demand justice in Islamabad court". Ekklesia. 2015-06-18. Archived from the original on 2015-06-20. As part of their evidence, Mr Rabbani’s lawyers will present extracts from the US Senate’s own report into the CIA rendition and interrogation programme in which Mr Rabbani is mentioned by name. The report shows how Mr Rabbani’s original kidnap was a case of mistaken identity, and how he was then subjected to the full range of 'Enhanced Interrogation Techniques' over nearly two years in secret prisons. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help); Invalid |deadurl=No (help)
  6. ^ a b Akbar, Mirza Shahzad (16 February 2015). "Will the PM fight for Pakistanis in Guantanamo?". Express Tribune. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  7. ^ Rabbani, Ahmad (11 December 2014). "A Pakistani writes from inside Guantanamo". Express Tribune. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Benjamin Wittes, Zaathira Wyne (2008-12-16). "The Current Detainee Population of Guantánamo: An Empirical Study". The Brookings Institution. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-06-22. Retrieved 2010-02-16. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  9. ^ a b c d e "Mohammed Ahmed Ghulam Rabbani v. George W. Bush -- Civil Action No. 05-1607 (RMU)" (PDF). United States Department of Defense. 2005-12-14. pp. 68–80. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-08-07. Retrieved 2008-08-18. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  10. ^ Christopher Hope; Robert Winnett; Holly Watt; Heidi Blake (2011-04-27). "WikiLeaks: Guantanamo Bay terrorist secrets revealed -- Guantanamo Bay has been used to incarcerate dozens of terrorists who have admitted plotting terrifying attacks against the West – while imprisoning more than 150 totally innocent people, top-secret files disclose". The Telegraph (UK). Archived from the original on 2012-07-13. Retrieved 2012-07-13. The Daily Telegraph, along with other newspapers including The Washington Post, today exposes America’s own analysis of almost ten years of controversial interrogations on the world’s most dangerous terrorists. This newspaper has been shown thousands of pages of top-secret files obtained by the WikiLeaks website. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  11. ^ "WikiLeaks: The Guantánamo files database". The Telegraph (UK). 2011-04-27. Retrieved 2012-07-10.
  12. ^ "Guantanamo Bay detainee file on Ahmed Ghulam Rabbani, US9PK-001461DP, passed to the Telegraph by Wikileaks". The Telegraph (UK). 2011-04-27. Retrieved 2012-07-14.
  13. ^ David M. Thomas Jr. (2008-05-28). "Recommendation for Continued Detention Under DoD Control (CD) for Guantanamo Detainee, ISN US9PK001461DP" (PDF). Joint Task Force Guantanamo. Retrieved 2012-07-14. Media related to File:ISN 01461, Mohammed Ahmad Rabbani's Guantanamo detainee assessment.pdf at Wikimedia Commons
  14. ^ Peter Finn (January 22, 2010). "Justice task force recommends about 50 Guantanamo detainees be held indefinitely". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2015-05-19. Retrieved July 21, 2010. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  15. ^ Peter Finn (May 29, 2010). "Most Guantanamo detainees low-level fighters, task force report says". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2015-05-19. Retrieved July 21, 2010. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  16. ^ Andy Worthington (June 11, 2010). "Does Obama Really Know or Care About Who Is at Guantánamo?". Archived from the original on 2010-06-16. Retrieved July 21, 2010. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  17. ^ "71 Guantanamo Detainees Determined Eligible to Receive a Periodic Review Board as of April 19, 2013". Joint Review Task Force. 2013-04-09. Archived from the original on 2015-05-19. Retrieved 2015-05-18. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help); Invalid |deadurl=No (help)
  18. ^ John Holland; Anna Cayton-Holland (2005-11-13). "Justice detained at Guantanamo? Prisoners held in long legal limbo". Denver Post. Archived from the original on 2005-11-26. Retrieved 2014-12-10. Recently, many prisoners have begun a hunger strike - including two of our clients, Aziz and Ahmed Ghulam Rabbani from Pakistan. Rabbani, who has lost a great deal of weight, recently broke his 35-day hunger strike to honor Ramadan. He was joined in his strike by Aziz and hundreds of other detainees. Now that Ramadan has ended, it is anticipated that the hunger strikes will resume with full force. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help); Invalid |deadurl=No (help)
  19. ^ Emma Roller; Rebecca Nelson (2014-12-10). "What CIA Interrogators Did To 17 Detainees Without Approval". National Journal. Archived from the original on 2014-12-11. Retrieved 2014-12-10. You probably haven't heard many of these names before. But they are important, both in terms of the terrorist plots they either planned or executed, and in how the U.S. government treated them once they became prisoners, according to the newly released Senate Intelligence Committee's torture report. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help); Invalid |deadurl=No (help)
  20. ^ a b c Ahmed Rabbani (2018-07-25). "I'm stuck in Guantanamo. The world has forgotten me". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2018-07-26. Retrieved 2018-07-27. I am officially a prisoner of war, though the only battle I ever fought back home, as a taxi driver in Karachi, was the rush hour traffic. I was mistaken for an extremist, captured by Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s government and sold to the CIA for a bounty in 2002. I’ve now been detained at Guantanamo, without trial, for nearly 14 years. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help); Invalid |deadurl=No (help)

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