Andrea J. Prasow

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Andrea J. Prasow
Born United States
Nationality American, Canadian
Occupation lawyer
Known for Working on behalf of individuals detained in the "War on Terror"

Andrea J. Prasow is an American lawyer whose work particularly focuses on the rights of individuals detained in the "War on Terror". When she was with the firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, Prasow represented Saudi detainees in their petition for habeas corpus.[1] Later as a defense attorney with the Office of Military Commissions, Prasow worked on behalf of Salim Ahmed Hamdan, one of the first Guantanamo captives to face formal charges before the Guantanamo military commissions. Subsequently Prasow became a senior counsel with the Terrorism and Counterterrorism Program at Human Rights Watch.[2] In that capacity Prasow investigates and analyzes U.S. counterterrorism policies and practices, and leads advocacy efforts urging the U.S. to implement policies that respect international standards of human rights. Prasow has written several pieces about the current military commission proceedings and her travels to Afghanistan to observe the newly public Detainee Review Boards held at the Detention Facility in Parwan.


Prasow was raised in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and received her B.A. from the University of Toronto in 1999. From 1999-2000, Prasow worked for the University Health Network in Toronto, where she investigated workplace harassment claims and provided training on sexual harassment issues at the University of Toronto. Prasow then received her J.D. at the Georgetown University Law Center in 2003.[3]

Legal career[edit]

Prasow was a litigation associate of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP until 2005.[3] There she worked in civil litigation and took on a variety of pro bono cases. It was in this capacity that Prasow took on the representation of ten Saudi detainees at Guantanamo Bay in their habeas corpus proceedings in federal court.

Prasow then moved to the Office of the Chief Defense Counsel, Office of Military Commissions, United States Department of Defense. Here she served as Assistant Defense Counsel for Salim Ahmed Hamdan's case before a Guantanamo military commission.[3] During this case, she requested permission for a member of the Hamdan defense team to travel to secretive Camp 7.[4] Hamdan's defense team sought the testimony of fourteen high value detainees held there, although several of the detainees declined because they believed the request was some kind of trick.

Prasow later joined Human Rights Watch as Senior Counsel in their Terrorism and Counterterrorism Program. In that capacity Prasow traveled to Guantanamo to observe the December 3, 2009 hearing of Ibrahim Ahmed Mahmoud al Qosi. She was later invited to write a guest column in The Jurist with her critique of the proceedings.[5] In her column Prasow was critical of Lieutenant Colonel Nancy Paul, al Qosi's Presiding Officer, for going forward with al Qosi's commission despite the fact that the rules of procedure for the new commission had not yet been drafted.

Prasow was also one of the lawyers profiled in Mark Denbeaux and Jonathan Hafetz's book, The Guantanamo Lawyers: Inside a Prison Outside the Law.[6] In the book, Prasow is quoted about the steps she took so as not to offend potentially conservative Muslim clients. She also references the disparity in treatment of lawyers in these cases, particularly between lawyers working on the detainees' habeas petitions and lawyers defending the detainees before the Guantanamo military commissions.

Speaking engagements[edit]

In February 2007, the Washington College of Law invited Prasow to attend a panel discussion on military commissions with Chief Prosecutor Morris Davis and Eugene Fidell, the President of the National Institute of Military Justice.[7]

In June 2009, Prasow was an invited speaker at an event organized by the American Society of International Law. The event, entitled "Women in International Law Networking Breakfast".[3] was also attended by Kristine Huskey, Laura Black and Andrea Menaker.

In May 2010, Prasow addressed the Canadian Parliament's Special Committee on the Canadian Mission in Afghanistan on the use of torture by the Afghan government.[8]


  1. ^ Thomas Adcock (2005-08-26). "Paul Weiss Group Aids Detainee". New York Lawyer. Retrieved 2009-01-31. 
  2. ^ "Andrea Prasow: Senior Counsel, Terrorism and Counterterrorism". Human Rights Watch. Archived from the original on 24 November 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-25. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Women in International Law Networking Breakfast". American Society of International Law. 2009-07-09. 
  4. ^ Andrea J. Prasow (2008-04-23). "U.S. v. Hamdan - Special Request for Relief - Supplement" (PDF). Office of Military Commissions. Retrieved 2008-12-25.  mirror
  5. ^ Andrea Prasow (2009-12-08). "Falling Short: Justice in the New Military Commissions". The Jurist. Archived from the original on 2009-12-09. 
  6. ^ Mark Denbeaux, Jonathan Hafetz (2009-11-09). The Guantanamo Lawyers: Inside a Prison Outside the Law. NYU Press. ISBN 978-0-8147-3736-1. Retrieved 2009-12-09. 
  7. ^ Matt Getty (2007). "WCL debates Guantanamo Bay military commissions". Washington College of Law. Archived from the original on 2009-12-09. 
  8. ^ Andrea J. Prasow (2010-05-04). "Andrea Prasow: Afghan torture is no secret". National Post. Archived from the original on 2010-08-29. Retrieved 2010-08-29. This week, I will appear before the House of Commons’ special committee on the Canadian mission in Afghanistan on behalf of Human Rights Watch. I will tell the committee about Abdul Basir’s case, and how his family reported that NDS officials warned them against seeking an autopsy, especially if they wanted Basir’s father and brother, also in NDS detention, to be released.