Mustafa Ait Idir

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Mustafa Ait Idir
Mustafa Ait Idir from his OARDEC dossier
Born (1970-07-09) July 9, 1970 (age 53)[1]
Sidi M'Hamed, Algeria
Detained at Guantanamo
StatusReleased 12/16/08

Mustafa Ait Idir (sometimes written as Ait Idr) is an individual formerly held in the United States Guantanamo Bay detainment camps, in Cuba.[2] Ait Idir was born in Algeria, but moved to Bosnia, married a Bosnian woman, and became a Bosnian citizen. Idir was arrested on October 18, 2001, on suspicion of participating in a conspiracy to bomb the United States Embassy. After their release following their acquittal, the six men were captured on January 17, 2002, by American forces, who transferred them to Guantanamo Bay.

Ait Idr has alleged brutal treatment there.[3] He claims that guards beat him when he was shackled, and bent back his fingers, breaking them. During another alleged beating, guards threw him onto a gravel path, where one guard jumped on him, with his full weight, causing a stroke that left part of his face paralyzed.

On December 16, 2008, Ait Idir was one of three prisoners released to Bosnia after he was found innocent.[4]

Combatant Status Review[edit]

Ait Idir was among the 60% of prisoners who participated in the tribunal hearings.[5] A Summary of Evidence memo was prepared for the tribunal of each detainee. The memo accused him of the following:[6][7]

a. The detainee is associated with al Qaida:

  1. The detainee is Algerian, but acquired Bosnian citizenship by serving in the Bosnian military in 1995.
  2. The detainee is associated with the Armed Islamic Group (GIA).
  3. While living in Bosnia, the detainee associated with a known al Qaida operative.
  4. At the time of his capture, the detainee had planned to travel to Afghanistan once his al Qaida contact arrived there and had made the necessary arrangements.

b. The detainee participated in military operations against the United States or its coalition partners:

  1. The detainee was arrested by Bosnian authorities on 18 October 2001.
  2. The detainee was arrested because of his involvement with a plan to attack the U.S. embassy located in Sarajevo.

Washington, D.C.-based Judge Joyce Hens Green extensively quoted a transcript from Idir's Combatant Status Review Tribunal when she decided that the Guantanamo tribunals violated the US Constitution.[8]

Administrative Review Board[edit]

Detainees whose Combatant Status Review Tribunal labeled them "enemy combatants" were scheduled for annual Administrative Review Board hearings. These hearings were designed to assess the threat a detainee might pose if released or transferred, and whether there were other factors that warranted his continued detention.[9]

Ait Idir participated in his Administrative Review Board hearing.[10]

Suing the US Government[edit]

The Washington Post reported on April 14, 2005, that Idir's lawyers initiated legal steps to sue the U.S. government to get the videotapes of the incidents with the Initial Reaction Force where he was injured.[11] The IRF is supposed to videotape all of its interventions.

Thomas P. Sullivan's testimony before the US Senate Judiciary Committee[edit]

Thomas P. Sullivan is a lawyer who volunteered to serve as a pro bono attorney for several Guantanamo captives.[12] On September 25, 2006, he testified before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee, expressing his concerns about the bill that was to become the Military Commissions Act.[13]

Sullivan's testimony quoted a long passage from Idr's Combatant Status Review Tribunal.[12]

Tribunal Recorder: While living in Bosnia, the Detainee associated with a known al Qaida operative.
Detainee: Give me his name.
Tribunal President: I do not know.
Detainee: How can I respond to this?
Tribunal President: Did you know of anybody that was a member of al Qaida?

No, no.

[T]hese are accusations that I can't even answer ... You tell me I am from al Qaida, but I am not al Qaida. I don't have any proof except to ask you to catch Bin Laden and ask him if I am part of al Qaida ... What should be done is you should give me evidence regarding these accusations because I am not able to give you any evidence. I can just tell you no, and that is it.

Sullivan also reminded the Judiciary Committee that US District Court Judge Joyce Hens Green, who had been appointed to oversee the Guantanamo habeas cases following the Supreme Court's decision in Rasul, cited Mr. Idir's hearing as an example of the fundamental unfairness of the CSRT process. See 355 F. Supp. 2d 443 (D.D.C. 2005)."[12]


On December 16, 2008, Mustafa Idir, Boudella al Hajj and Mohammed Nechle were released to Bosnia.[4][14][15] According to The Australian, Idir told the Dnevni Avaz:

For almost seven years, I was at the end of the world, at the worst place in the world. It would have been hard even if I had done something wrong (but) it is much harder if one is totally innocent.

On March 3, 2009, El Khabar reported that the Bush administration forced Idir and the other two men to sign undertakings that they would not sue the US government for their kidnapping, before they would be released.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^[bare URL PDF]
  2. ^ OARDEC (May 15, 2006). "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 from the original (PDF) on March 18, 2009. Retrieved September 29, 2007.
  3. ^ Savage, Charlie (April 13, 2005). "Guantanamo detainee is alleging he was brutalized". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on October 23, 2005.
  4. ^ a b Melia, Mike; Cerkez-Robinson, Aida (December 16, 2008). "Lawyer: Gitmo detainees arrive in Bosnia". Associated Press. Archived from the original on December 17, 2008. Retrieved December 17, 2008.
  5. ^ OARDEC (September 4, 2007). "Index to Transcripts of Detainee Testimony and Documents Submitted by Detainees at Combatant Status Review Tribunals Held at Guantanamo Between July 2004 and March 2005" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on December 3, 2007.
  6. ^ documents (.pdf) Archived 2012-01-17 at the Wayback Machine from Mustafa Ait Idr's Combatant Status Review Tribunal – 53 pages
  7. ^ Summary of Evidence (.pdf) Archived 2012-01-17 at the Wayback Machine from Mustafa Ait Idr's Combatant Status Review Tribunal – page 42 of 53
  8. ^ Carol D., Leonnig (February 5, 2005). "Judge Rules Detainee Tribunals Illegal". The Washington Post. p. A01. Archived from the original on December 9, 2012. Retrieved September 5, 2017.
  9. ^ "Annual Administrative Review Boards for Enemy Combatants Held at Guantanamo Attributable to Senior Defense Officials". U.S. Department of Defense. March 6, 2007. Archived from the original on April 14, 2012. Retrieved November 12, 2010.
  10. ^ Transcript Set 12 22011-22244.pdf Summarized transcript (.pdf), from Mustafa Ait Idr's Administrative Review Board hearing – page 208
  11. ^ Leonnig, Carol (April 14, 2005). "Guantanamo Detainee Suing U.S. to Get Video of Alleged Torture". The Washington Post. p. A02. Archived from the original on February 5, 2013. Retrieved September 5, 2017.
  12. ^ a b c Thomas P. Sullivan (September 25, 2006). "Statement regarding the proposed Military Commissions bill". United States Senate Judiciary Committee. Archived from the original on March 29, 2007. Retrieved April 21, 2007.
  13. ^ "S. Hrg. 109-658 - Examining Proposals to Limit Guantanamo Detainees' Access to Habeas Corpus Review". U.S. Government Printing Office. 25 September 2006. Retrieved 2 July 2023.
  14. ^ Glaberson, William (December 15, 2008). "U.S. Is Set to Release 3 Detainees From Base". The New York Times. Archived from the original on May 20, 2017. Retrieved December 17, 2008.
  15. ^ "Guantanamo 'worst place on Earth'". The Australian. Agence France-Presse. December 17, 2008. Archived from the original on August 11, 2011. Retrieved December 17, 2008.
  16. ^ "Documents allege Bosnian Algerians committed not to sue the U.S." El Khabar. 2009-03-04. Archived from the original on 2010-10-31. Retrieved 2009-03-03. The U.S. has handed over the Bosnian Government documents alleging that Bosnian-Algerians recently freed from Guantanamo detention camp have signed commitments depriving them from the right to sue in justice U.S. and Bosnian officials, responsible for their "abduction" in Sarajevo, seven years ago, spokesman of Bosnian Al-Ansar Association, Ayman Awad told El Khabar.

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