Khaled Qasim

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Khaled Qasim
ISN 00242, Khaled Ahmad.jpg
Detained atGuantanamo
Charge(s)no charge, held in extrajudicial detention
Statusa "forever prisoner"

Khaled Qasim is a Yemeni citizen who has been held in extrajudicial detention in the United States Guantanamo Bay detention camp, in Cuba, for 17 years and 13 days.[1][2][3]

Official status reviews[edit]

Originally the Bush Presidency asserted that captives apprehended in the "war on terror" were not covered by the Geneva Conventions, and could be held indefinitely, without charge, and without an open and transparent review of the justifications for their detention.[4] In 2004 the United States Supreme Court ruled, in Rasul v. Bush, that Guantanamo captives were entitled to being informed of the allegations justifying their detention, and were entitled to try to refute them.

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

Combatant Status Review Tribunals were held in a 3x5 meter trailer where the captive sat with his hands and feet shackled to a bolt in the floor.[5][6]

Following the Supreme Court's ruling the Department of Defense set up the Office for the Administrative Review of Detained Enemy Combatants.[4][7]

Scholars at the Brookings Institution, lead 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]

Khaled Qasim's CSRT dossier, containing close to a dozen documents, was one of the first 58 the Associated Press acquired through a Freedom of Information Act request, in 2005. The Associated Press subsequently made those dossiers available for download, a year before US District Court Judge Jed Rakoff ordered the DoD to make the names of the Guantanamo captives public.[9]

During his 2004 Combatant Status Review Tribunal, his Personal Representative reported that Qasim had told him he had been tortured in Afghanistan by his Afghan captors. He said his Afghan captors threatened to retaliate against him if he deviated from the story they told him to tell the Americans.

Initially he said he had told the Americans the story his Afghan captors had coached him to tell. He said he had stopped talking to his American interrogators when they started torturing him too.

He acknowledged coming from Yemen. He denied being trained at Al Farouq or any other camp. He said he spent all his time in Afghanistan living in a guesthouse, and had never been near the front lines. He denied ever being approached by the Taliban, and that if he had he would not have been able to understand them because he does not speak their language.

He said it was his brother who was apprehended for a role in the bombing of the Cole, but that he had nothing to do with the attack.

He denied ever participating in hostilities.

He acknowledged being present in Tora Bora, but claimed he did not know the people there were al Qaida.

He acknowledged that he had been addressed by Osama bin Laden – but it was merely a passing greeting.

When asked why he had spent so long in Afghanistan he said he was fleeing violence and mistreatment from Indian authorities. He said he was planning to go home, when the Cole was attacked. The attack threw suspicion on anyone returning from Afghanistan. Things were calming down, and he was starting to think it might be safe, when al Qaeda attacked the World Trade Center.

The Tribunal reconvened to give the Personal Representative an opportunity to amend what he has said before. On second thought he realized that the detainee had not said he was tortured by Americans. He said he heard other detainees crying at night.

He also amended his earlier account, and said that Qasim had not said he was tortured in Afghanistan, only that he had been mistreated.

The Tribunal reconvened a second time, to ask for clarification on the torture question, because the detainee’s statement did say he was tortured. During the final convening of Qasim’s Tribunal, his Personal Representative said that Qasim had claimed torture, and had only changed his story when the Personal Representative went back to clarify the details following the first meeting of his Tribunal.

Habeas appeal[edit]

Formerly secret Joint Task Force Guantanamo assessment[edit]

On April 25, 2011, whistleblower organization WikiLeaks published formerly secret assessments drafted by Joint Task Force Guantanamo analysts.[10][11] His 13-page Joint Task Force Guantanamo assessment was drafted on April 7, 2008.[12] It was signed by camp commandant Rear Admiral Mark H. Buzby. He recommended continued detention.

Conversation with Arun Rath[edit]

In January 2017, National Public Radio reporter Arun Rath produced an episode for the PBS network series Frontline about Mansur al-Dayfi, who was transferred to Serbia in July 2016.[13][14] During a follow-up visit to Guantanamo, in a lapse from the JTF-GTMO rules, he allowed Khaled Qasim to have a conversation with him. Although Rath was forced to shut off his recording devices he recounted for his documentary some of the details of the conversation that followed. When he texted al-Dayfi to tell him of the conversation al-Dayfi identified Qasim as his best friend, and was too overcome by emotion to continue.

Qasim said he had had four reviews, and feared he would be held in Guantanamo forever.[14]

Op-ed published in the Guardian, on October 13, 2017[edit]

On October 13, 2017, The Guardian published an op-ed that Qasim dictated to one of his lawyers, detailing a change in Guantanamo's medical practices.[15][16] Up until September 20, 2017, it was medical policy to force-feed Guantanamo hunger-strikers when their weight fell dangerously low. However, according to Qasim, on that date, the camp's senior medical officer addressed the remaining hunger strikers, including Qasim, telling them that they would no longer be force-fed.

Military spokesmen denied that there had been a policy change.[16] They asserted it was still official policy to start force-feeding, to prevent individuals dying. They suggested that the camp's medical authorities were merely changing the danger threshold where they would being force-feeding.


  1. ^ "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.
  2. ^ Margot Williams (2008-11-03). "Guantanamo Docket: Khaled Qasim". New York Times. Archived from the original on 2017-10-18. Retrieved 2016-12-11. Khaled Qasim is a 40-year-old citizen of Yemen.
  3. ^ 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 September 30, 2007. 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
  4. ^ a b "U.S. military reviews 'enemy combatant' use". USA Today. 2007-10-11. Archived from the original on 2012-08-11. Critics called it an overdue acknowledgment that the so-called Combatant Status Review Tribunals are unfairly geared toward labeling detainees the enemy, even when they pose little danger. Simply redoing the tribunals won't fix the problem, they said, because the system still allows coerced evidence and denies detainees legal representation.
  5. ^ Neil A. Lewis (2004-11-11). "Guantánamo Prisoners Getting Their Day, but Hardly in Court". Guantanamo Bay detention camp: New York Times. Archived from the original on 2009-04-23. Retrieved 2017-02-21.
  6. ^ Mark Huband (2004-12-11). "Inside the Guantánamo Bay hearings: Barbarian "Justice" dispensed by KGB-style "military tribunals"". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 2016-03-09. Retrieved 2017-02-21.
  7. ^ "Q&A: What next for Guantanamo prisoners?". BBC News. 2002-01-21. Archived from the original on 24 November 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-24.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k 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.
  9. ^ documents (.pdf), from Khaled Qasim's Combatant Status Review Tribunal
  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.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  11. ^ "WikiLeaks: The Guantánamo files database". The Telegraph (UK). 2011-04-27. Archived from the original on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2012-07-10.
  12. ^ Mark H. Buzby (2011-04-27). "Khaled Qasim: Guantanamo Bay detainee file on Khaled Qasim, US9YM-000242DP, passed to the Telegraph by Wikileaks". The Telegraph (UK). Archived from the original on 2017-02-23. Retrieved 2017-02-22. Recommendation: Continued detention under DoD control
  13. ^ Arun Rath (2017-02-21). "'Out Of Gitmo': Released Guantanamo Detainee Struggles In His New Home". National Public Radio. Archived from the original on 2017-02-22. Retrieved 2017-02-21. I traveled to Serbia and met Mansoor al-Dayfi, who had been sent to Guantanamo Bay soon after the war-on-terrorism detention facility was opened in early 2002.
  14. ^ a b "Out of Gitmo". Frontline (PBS). 2017-02-21. Archived from the original on 2017-02-22. Retrieved 2017-02-21.
  15. ^ Khaled Qasim (2017-10-13). "I am in Guantánamo Bay. The US government is starving me to death". The Guardian (UK). Archived from the original on 2017-10-13. Retrieved 2017-10-16. He was the one who called us all in and told us they would stop feeding us. As soon as he took over I knew he was bad news and now he has decided to end our lives.
  16. ^ a b David Smith (2017-10-13). "Guantánamo hunger striker accuses US officials of letting him 'waste away'". The Guardian (UK). Archived from the original on 2017-10-13. Retrieved 2017-10-16. Khalid Qasim, held at the prison for 15 years without charge or trial, told his lawyer that doctors stopped force-feeding him and another inmate three weeks ago, and are no longer monitoring their medical condition.