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Arrested June 2004
Released 2005-04-18
Citizenship Afghanistan
Detained at CIA black sites, Guantanamo
Alternate name Janat Gul
ISN 953
Charge(s) extrajudicial detention
Penalty subjected to extensive CIA torture
Status eventually determined to have been an innocent civilian, all along
Occupation executive

Hammdidullah, a.k.a. Janat Gul, is a citizen of Afghanistan who was held in extrajudicial detention in the Guantanamo Bay detention camps as part of the War on Terror.[1] American counter-terror analysts estimate he was born in 1973, in Sarpolad, Afghanistan.

In December 2014 the United States Senate's Intelligence Committee published a 600-page unclassified summary of its 6,000 page report on the CIA's use of torture.[2][3] That report identified Janat Gul as one of the individuals tortured by the CIA, in its network of black sites. PBS Frontline reported that he was tortured so badly the CIA's case notes recorded that he had pleaded with his interrogators to just kill him.

He was transferred from CIA custody to military on March 23, 2003.[4][5] A five-page Joint Task Force Guantanamo detainee assessment, drafted on August 20, 2004, recommended his continued detention. However the Combatant Status Review Tribunal conducted by OARDEC determined that his classification as an "enemy combatant" had been improper, all along, and he was released on April 18, 2005.

Inconsistent identification[edit]

While the two official lists his name as Hammdidullah, his Tribunal addressed him as Janat Gul.[1][6][7]

CNN reported that Hammdidullah surrendered on November 24, 2001, but the allegations prepared for his Combatant Status Review Tribunal state that he was captured in January 2003.[7]

Press accounts of his term at Ariana Airlines[edit]

Hammdidullah was quoted by the International press during his term at Ariana Airlines.[8] CNN referred to him as Hamidullah.

Combatant Status Review Tribunal[edit]

Combatant Status Review Tribunals were held in a trailer the size of a large RV. The captive sat on a plastic garden chair, with his hands and feet shackled to a bolt in the floor.[9][10] Three chairs were reserved for members of the press, but only 37 of the 574 Tribunals were observed.[11]

Initially the Bush administration asserted that they could withhold all the protections of the Geneva Conventions to captives from the war on terror. This policy was challenged before the Judicial branch. Critics argued that the USA could not evade its obligation to conduct a competent tribunals to determine whether captives are, or are not, entitled to the protections of prisoner of war status.

Subsequently the Department of Defense instituted the Combatant Status Review Tribunals. The Tribunals, however, were not authorized to determine whether the captives were lawful combatants—rather they were merely empowered to make a recommendation as to whether the captive had previously been correctly determined to match the Bush administration's definition of an enemy combatant.

Hammdidullah chose to participate in his Combatant Status Review Tribunal.[7]


The allegations that Hammdidullah faced during his Tribunal were as follows:[7]

a. -- The general summary of the allegations that establish an association with terrorism were missing from the transcript. --
  1. The detainee admitted he is a member of the Taliban.
  2. The detainee is a former president of Ariana Airlines.
  3. The Taliban controlled Ariana Airlines.
  4. The Taliban used Ariana Airlines to transport their members.
  5. Ariana Airlines provided free flights to Konduz, Afghanistan for individuals joining the fight against the Northern Alliance.
  6. Taliban forces utilized Ariana Airlines form Kandahar to Kabul.
  7. An active al Qaida member and licensed pilot brought in other al Qaida members to work for Ariana Airlines.
  8. An individual with plans to engage in hostilities against the United States had strong ties to Ariana Airlines.
  9. The detainee was arrested in January 2003 in Lashkargar, Afghanistan.


Hammdidullah requested statements from two witnesses, his father Haji Sher Mohammed, and his brother, Haji Agha Gul. The Tribunal's President ruled that his witnesses were relevant, and the State Department was requested to contact the Afghan government to contact Hammdidullah's witnesses. After a month the Tribunal hadn't heard back, so Hammdidullah's witnesses were ruled "not reasonably available".


Gul testified to the following:

  • He had never been or admitted to being a member of the Taliban.
  • He acknowledged being captured in January 2003, in his home; he said he had welcomed the arrival of the Americans and their help in unseating the Taliban and helping Hamid Karzai's government.
  • He had been twice imprisoned by the Taliban.
  • He acknowledged working for Ariana Airlines.
  • When the Taliban seized him it was in order to forcibly conscript him and send him to the front lines. By accepting the position at Ariana he was able to avoid being press-ganged to the front lines.
  • Ariana Airlines did not have any direct ties to the government.
  • The Taliban did not control Ariana Airlines; it was a for-profit business.
  • The Taliban did not enlist Ariana to transport their members – Taliban members could have bought tickets, like anyone else, but they never chartered any of their planes for their purposes.
  • Ariana Airlines did not provide free flights for Taliban recruits – the Taliban had its own fleet of planes for transporting troops.
  • He had never heard the allegation that an Ariana Airlines pilot was an al-Qaeda member; Gul said he didn't know any al-Qaeda members, and that all the Ariana employees were civilians.

Determined not to have been an enemy combatant[edit]

The Washington Post reports that detainee 953, whom they refer to as Janat Gul, was one of 38 detainees who was determined not to have been an enemy combatant during his Combatant Status Review Tribunal, and was, eventually, released.[12]

Guantanamo medical records[edit]

On March 16, 2007 the Department of Defense published medical records for the captives.[13] According to those records Hammdidullah was 67.5 inches (171 cm) tall, and he was weighed just three times: on March 23, 2003, when he weighed 126 pounds (57 kg), and in January and March 2003, when he weighed 113 pounds (51 kg). His records indicate he declined to be weighed in February 2003.[13]

CIA detention[edit]

Journalists who reviewed the United States Senate Intelligence Committee's report on the CIA's use of torture concluded that Hammdidullah was still in CIA custody in 2006.[3]


  1. ^ a b 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.  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. ^ Ly Chheng, Sarah Childress and Priyanka Boghani (2015-05-19). "What the CIA Did to Its Detainees". WGBH. Retrieved 2015-07-01. CIA interrogators didn’t always stick to the approved techniques, though — and in December 2014 a Senate investigation concluded that the agency’s interrogations were ineffective, detrimental to national security, and did not help to find Osama bin Laden. The CIA has defended the program. 
  3. ^ a b Crofton Black (2015-01-15). "A list of the 28 detainees held by CIA’s detention program in 2006 – its ‘final’ year". The Bureau Investigates. Retrieved 2015-08-09. 
  4. ^ "Measurements of Heights and Weights of Individuals Detained by the Department of Defense at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (ordered and consolidated version)" (PDF). Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas, from DoD data. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-11-09. 
  5. ^ Margot Williams (2008-11-03). "Guantanamo Docket: Hammdidullah". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-07-01. 
  6. ^ OARDEC (2006-04-20). "List of detainees who went through complete CSRT process (All detainees who went through Round 1 of ARB process are also found on this list)" (PDF). United States Department of Defense. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2006-08-05. Retrieved 2006-04-20. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Summarized Sworn Detainee Statement" (PDF). OARDEC. pp. 31–48. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2006-03-14. Retrieved 2015-07-01. 
  8. ^ "Airline head says hijacking may be mass asylum bid: Negotiations resume after escape of flight crew". London, UK: CNN. 2000-02-09. Archived from the original on 2000-08-19. Retrieved 2015-07-01. The head of Afghanistan's Ariana Airlines, Mullah Hamidullah, told the Afghan Islamic Press on Wednesday that up to 40 people on board a hijacked Ariana plane could be involved in an asylum bid. 
  9. ^ Guantánamo Prisoners Getting Their Day, but Hardly in Court, New York Times, November 11, 2004 - mirror
  10. ^ Inside the Guantánamo Bay hearings: Barbarian "Justice" dispensed by KGB-style "military tribunals", Financial Times, December 11, 2004
  11. ^ "Annual Administrative Review Boards for Enemy Combatants Held at Guantanamo Attributable to Senior Defense Officials". United States Department of Defense. March 6, 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-22. 
  12. ^ "Guantanamo Bay Detainees Classifed [sic] as 'No Longer Enemy Combatants'". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 11 August 2006. 
  13. ^ a b JTF-GTMO (2006-03-16). "Heights, weights, and in-processing dates". Department of Defense. Archived from the original on 2008-12-25. Retrieved 2008-12-25.