Mohamed Farag Bashmilah

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Mohamed Farag Ahmad Bashmilah
Born 1968 (age 48–49)
Arrested 2003-10
Jordanian security officials
Released 2005-05
Citizenship Yemen
Detained at CIA black sites
Charge(s) extrajudicial detention

Mohamed Farag Ahmad Bashmilah is a citizen of Yemen who is reported to have been a subject of the United States' controversial extraordinary rendition program.[1][2][3] The American Civil Liberties Union states that he was apprehended by the Jordanian General Intelligence Department and tortured and interrogated for days, in Jordan, where he was: "turned over to agents who beat, kicked, diapered, hooded and handcuffed him before secretly transporting him to the U.S. Air Force base in Bagram, Afghanistan." They report that Bashmillah was held in extrajudicial detention in the United States' Bagram Theater Internment Facility, and the CIA network of black sites.

They report that he was repatriated to Yemen in May 2005, where he underwent a further nine months of detention. Bashmilah's case had been uncovered by Amnesty International in early 2005, and they were the only organization to have access to him in prison in Yemen, where they first visited him in June 2005, and on other occasions throughout his incarceration there. His story was first made public by Amnesty in August 2005, and a full report was issued in November 2005.[4]

Amnesty International also interviewed and reported on the cases of two other Yemenis, Salah Nasir Salim ‘Ali and Muhammad Abdullah Salah al-Assad, who were held in the CIA black site with Bashmilah and who were returned with him to Yemen in May 2005.[5][6][7] The three are notable because they were the first to describe CIA black site detention in detail.[8] Although the CIA's network of black sites is estimated to have held 150 captives, most of their identities remain unknown.

Bashmilah was added to a civil action the ACLU is aiding, under the United States' Alien Torts Statute.[2]


Bashimilah travelled to from Indonesia to Jordan with his wife in October 2003 and was arrested on October 21, 2003 after telling Jordanian officials that in 2000 he had been to Afghanistan. Bashimilah was subsequently beaten and threatened by the General Intelligence Department until he finally agreed several days later to sign a confession without ever reading it. On the morning of October 26 he was transferred to the CIA, which chained and hooded him, and then flew him to Kabul, Afghanistan.[9]

American custody[edit]

In Bagram Bashmilah was locked in a 6.5 by 10 foot cell without windows or heat. During his first month of captivity his legs were shackled, he was subjected to loud music all day and night, and he was made to raise his hand every half-hour to stop him from falling asleep. This routine continued minus the music for another two months, by which time Bashmilah attempted suicide several times. He was regularly interrogated.[9]

In late April, estimated April 24, 2004, Bashmilah was examined by a doctor, moved with other prisoners to an airport, and flown to an unknown location, where he received another medical examination and placed naked in a new cell, where he endured constant white noise. Roughly around September 2004 the CIA decided that Bashmilah was not a member of al-Qaeda and he was given better living conditions, including a new cell, weekly shower, and books to read. His interrogations stopped and he spoke with psychiatrists.[9]


Bashmilah was released on May 5, 2005 into Yemeni custody after being flown from the unknown location for 6 to 7 hours. He remained in prison in Yemen until he was released on March 27, 2006.[2] In December 2007 he granted an interview with Salon.[9] His first English broadcast interview was in June 2006, for the BBC Newsnight program.

Civil suit[edit]

On August 1, 2007 Bashmilah joined a civil suit filed under the United States' Alien Tort Statute, with the assistance of the American Civil Liberties Union.[2][10][11][12][13] Al Rawi was joined with four other men, Bisher Al-Rawi, Abou Elkassim Britel Binyam Mohamed, and Ahmed Agiza.

Senate Intelligence Committee report of CIA torture[edit]

On December 9, 2014, the United States Senate Intelligence Committee published a 600-page unclassified summary of a 6,000 page secret report of the CIA's use of torture.[14] Scott Shane, writing in the New York Times, wrote that the Committee's report identified Bashmillah was one of 26 individuals who the CIA had tortured without authorization. The Report further identified Bashmillah as one of the individuals whose detention was "wrongful".

Shane wrote that Bashmillah's lawyer, Meg Satterthwaite, had been attempting, without success, to get the US government to acknowledge it had held Bashmillah.[14]

Satterthwaite told Shane how Bashmillah had been exposed to total darkness, sensory deprivation, freezing cold temperatures, and how he had been subject to a constant bombardment with deafening music.[14] Bashmillah's experienced conditions so horrific he tried to kill himself three times.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Josh White (November 7, 2005). "Prisoner Accounts Suggest Detention At Secret Facilities: Rights Group Draws Link to the CIA". Washington Post. p. A11. Archived from the original on 2010-10-17. Retrieved 2008-05-13. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Two More Victims of CIA's Rendition Program, Including Former Guantánamo Detainee, Join ACLU Lawsuit Against Boeing Subsidiary". American Civil Liberties Union. August 1, 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-08-24. 
  3. ^ "Iraqi, Yemeni men join lawsuit over CIA flights". Reuters. August 1, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-25. The suit said that in October 2003 Bashmilah was taken into custody in Jordan, where he was visiting his mother, before the Jordanian government handed him over to the CIA who beat him then blindfolded him, dressed him in a diaper and flew him to Kabul.  mirror
  4. ^ "United States of America / Yemen: Secret Detention in CIA "Black Sites"". Amnesty International. 2005-11-07. Archived from the original on 2010-10-17. Retrieved 2010-10-17. 
  5. ^ "Salah 'Ali Qari" (PDF). Amnesty International. Retrieved 2009-05-21.  mirror
  6. ^ ""Disappearance", Secret detention and Arbitrary detention: CASE SHEET of Muhammad Abdullah Salah al-Assad". Amnesty International. November 7, 2005. Archived from the original on 2010-10-17. Retrieved 2008-05-13. 
  7. ^ "Secret Detention in CIA "Black Sites"". Amnesty International. November 7, 2005. Archived from the original on 2007-11-19. Retrieved 2008-05-13. 
  8. ^ "USA: Below the radar: Secret flights to torture and 'disappearance'". Amnesty International. 2006-04-26. Archived from the original on 2010-10-17. Retrieved 2010-10-17. 
  9. ^ a b c d Mark Benjamin (2007-12-14). "Inside the CIA's notorious "black sites"". Salon magazine. Retrieved 2010-10-17. It was enough to drive anyone crazy. Bashmilah finally tried to slash his wrists with a small piece of metal, smearing the words "I am innocent" in blood on the walls of his cell. But the CIA patched him up.  mirror
  10. ^ Marc Ambinder (2009-06-12). "Obama Holds On To State Secrets Privilege In Jeppesen Case". Atlantic magazine. Retrieved 2009-06-25. President Obama's lawyers asked a full appeals to court to rule on the validity of asserting the state secrets privilege to dismiss the now infamous Mohamed v. Jeppesen civil suit. Here's a brief filed today: mohamedvjeppesen_enbanc.pdf.  mirror
  11. ^ "Italian 'Extraordinary Rendition' Victim Still Held In Morocco Based On Tortured Confession". PRNewswire. 2009-06-25. Retrieved 2009-06-25.  mirror
  12. ^ Michael P. Abate (June 2009). "Mohamed et al. v Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc". United States Department of Justice. Archived from the original on 2009-11-04. Retrieved 2009-06-25. 
  13. ^ "Mohamed et al. v Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc". ACLU. June 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-25.  mirror
  14. ^ a b c Scott Shane (2014-12-12). "Amid Details on Torture, Data on 26 Who Were Held in Error". New York Times. p. A1. Retrieved 2014-12-13. The C.I.A. told the Senate in its formal response that the real number of wrongful detentions was “far fewer” than 26 but did not offer a number. Human rights advocates who have tracked the C.I.A. program believe that considerably more than 26 were wrongfully detained. Another Yemeni client of Ms. Satterthwaite, for instance, Mohammed al-Asad, was left out of the Senate’s count, even though he languished for months in C.I.A. prisons without being questioned, was sent home to Yemen and was never charged with a terrorism-related crime. 
  15. ^ "Biography of Plaintiff Mohamed Farag Ahmad Bashmilah". ACLU. 2007-08-01. Retrieved 2014-12-13. In April 2004 he was flown to a secret CIA “black site” where he was tortured. Trapped in horrific conditions, Bashmilah tried to commit suicide three times, once slashing his wrists and writing “I am innocent” with his blood on the walls of his cell.