Mustafa al-Hawsawi

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Mustafa al-Hawsawi
Born (1968-08-05) August 5, 1968 (age 48)
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Detained at CIA black site
Guantanamo Bay
ISN 10011
Charge(s) Faces charges before a military commission, no trial yet.

Mustafa al-Hawsawi (Arabic: مصطفى الهوساوي‎‎, Muṣṭafā al-Ḥawsāwī; born August 5, 1968[1]) is a Saudi Arabian citizen. He allegedly was an organizer and financier of the September 11 attacks in the United States.

Al-Hawsawi was captured in Pakistan on March 1, 2003, along with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and transferred to CIA custody. It detained him at the Salt Pit, a secret black site in Afghanistan. It was reported in August 2010 that, after months of interrogation, the CIA transferred al-Hawsawi and three other high-value detainees to Guantanamo Bay detention camp on September 24, 2003 for indefinite detention. Fearing that Rasul v. Bush, a pending Supreme Court case about detainees' habeas corpus rights, might result in having to provide the men with access to counsel, the CIA took back custody on March 27, 2004, and transported the four men to one of their black sites.[2]

It has long been known that, during al-Hawsawi's CIA captivity, his captors injured him, causing him to suffer from anal fissures, chronic hemorrhoids and, most seriously, symptomatic rectal prolapse.[3] When the United States Senate Intelligence Committee published a 600 page unclassified summary of it 6,000 page report on the CIA's use of torture the world learned that the CIA routinely punished its captives by sodomizing them, claiming the sodomy was the long abandoned medical technique of rectal feeding.[4]

Al-Hawsawi was transferred from CIA custody to military custody at Guantanamo on September 6, 2006. The Bush administration was then confident of passage of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which restricted detainee use of habeas corpus, and prohibited them from using the federal court system. (This provision was ruled unconstitutional in Boumediene v. Bush (2008) and numerous habeas corpus petitions were refiled in federal courts.) Al-Hawsawi was represented by the lawyer Jon S. Jackson.[5][6]


Al-Hawsawi's alternate names and aliases include "Mustafa Ahmed", "Mustafa Muhammad Ahmad", "Ahmad Mustafa", "Isam Mansour", "Mustafa Ahmed Al-Hisawi", "Mr. Ali", and "Hani (Fawaz Trading)".[citation needed]


Although it is alleged that al-Hawsawi was a member of al-Qaeda, he stated in a Combatant Status Review Hearing that he is not a member of al-Qaeda, and never swore an oath of allegiance to Usama bin Laden.[7] He worked in its media committee in Kandahar.[citation needed]

Together with the al-Qaeda financer Ammar al-Baluchi, al-Hawsawi allegedly assisted the hijackers from the United Arab Emirates who were to carry out the 9/11 attacks in the United States.[citation needed] He helped coordinate with Mohamed Atta, the ringleader of the operation, to bring the "muscle hijackers" into the United States in 2001.[citation needed] He allegedly tried to help the so-called "20th hijacker", Mohammed al Qahtani, gain entry into the United States by visa, but al Qahtani was unable to gain approval.[citation needed]

Allegedly sharing a credit card account with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed,[8] al-Hawsawi also allegedly sent funds to the hijackers. In the Summer of 2000, he appears to have sent a total of $109,910 to some of the 9/11 hijackers in a series of wire transfers under a variety of names. The New York Times has suggested that "Mustafa Ahmed" sent a total of $325,000 to the hijackers, but the 9/11 Commission verified only $15,000 of this.[citation needed]

Just before the attacks, al-Hawsawi travelled to Pakistan. He was captured by authorities there on March 1, 2003, and was reported taken to the U.S. Bagram airbase in Afghanistan. The CIA maintained a detention and interrogation site there. This was not confirmed by U.S. officials.[9]

In the indictment of Zacarias Moussaoui, al-Hawsawi is said to have been born in Jeddah on August 5, 1968. Zacarias Moussaoui's defense team identified al-Hawsawi and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed as two of three men they wanted to question as witnesses. The U.S. Federal government claims to be holding both men, but it refused Moussaoui's request citing national security concerns.

CIA custody[edit]

Al-Hawsawi was held in secret CIA custody, for several years.[10][11] When the United States Senate Intelligence Committee published a 600-page unclassified summary of its 6,000 page classified report on the CIA's use of torture, it became known that al-Hawsawi was held in several CIA black sites during his years in secret detention, where he was subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques which amounted to torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. In particular, the report revealed that:

  • Al-Hawsawi had been held in detention site COBALT, believed to be situated in Afghanistan, in 2003.[12] There he was subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques, including water dousing without the approval from CIA headquarters and to rectal examinations conducted with "excessive force", leading to a diagnosis of chronic hemorrhoids, anal fissure, and symptomatic rectal prolapse;[13]
  • During his detention in detention site VIOLET, believed to be located in Lithuania,[14] al-Hawsawi required emergency medical care, but officers denied him access to a local hospital.[15]

Moreover, the findings of the Senate Report raised doubts about Al-Hawsawi’s detention, identifying him as one of a number of individuals who were detained under the CIA's program "despite doubts and questions surrounding [his] knowledge of terrorist threats and the location of senior al-Qa'ida leadership".[16] In fact, after his first interrogation, the Chief of Interrogations wrote to CIA Headquarters saying that al-Hawsawi "does not appear to the [sic] be a person that is a financial mastermind."[16]

Questions from Salim Ahmed Hamdan's defense attorney[edit]

On 23 April 2008, attorneys working on behalf of Salim Ahmed Hamdan requested permission to meet with Abdulmalik Mohammed and Mustafa al-Hawsawi.[17] Hamdan's attorneys had previously requested permission to get the "high-value detainees" to answer written questions. They believed the men would confirm that if Hamdan played a role in al Qaeda, it had been a peripheral one. Abdulmalik Mohammed and Mustafa al-Hawsawi declined to answer the questions, because they said they had no way to know that the questions purporting to be from Hamdan's attorneys were not a ruse. Andrea J. Prasow requested permission for Lieutenant Commander Brian Mizer to meet in person with the two men to try to assure them that the questions were not a ruse, and would not be shared with their interrogators.

Military commission trial[edit]

In June 2008, al-Hawsawi and four other "high-value detainees" (Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Ammar al-Baluchi and Walid Bin Attash) were charged in a military commission trial. The charges included 2,973 individual counts of murder, one for each person killed in the September 11 attacks, as well as conspiracy, murder in violation of the law of war, attacking civilians, attacking civilian objects, intentionally causing serious bodily injury, destruction of property in violation of the law of war, terrorism, and providing material support for terrorism.[18][19] The judge ordered al-Hawsawi and bin al-Shibh to undergo mental competency hearings. On December 8, 2008, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed told the judge that he and the other four indictees wished to confess and plead guilty; however, the plea would be delayed until after the competency hearings for al-Hawsawi and bin al-Shibh, so that all five men could make their plea together.[19]

In May 2009, Al Arabiya reported that Montasser al-Zayyat, a prominent Saudi Arabian attorney, had been invited to defend al-Hawsawi.[20] Al Zayat described suspecting, at first, that he was the target of a hoax.

On August 31, 2009, Corrections One, a trade journal for the prison industry, proclaimed that "Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi" was one of ten captives they speculated might be moved to a maximum security prison in Standish, Michigan.[21]

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.[22] 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.[23][24]

Following the Supreme Court's ruling, the Department of Defense set up the Office for the Administrative Review of Detained Enemy Combatants.[22][25]

Scholars at the Brookings Institution, led by Benjamin Wittes, listed the captives still held in Guantanamo in December 2008, according to whether their detention was justified by certain common allegations, as follows:[26]

  • Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawasawi was listed as one of the captives who had faced charges before a military commission.[26]
  • Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawasawi was listed as one of the captives who was a member of the "al Qaeda leadership cadre".[26]
  • Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawasawi was listed as one of the captives "currently at Guantánamo who have been charged before military commissions, and are alleged Al Qaeda leaders."[26]
  • Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawasawi was listed as one of "36 [captives who] openly admit either membership or significant association with Al Qaeda, the Taliban, or some other group the government considers militarily hostile to the United States."[26]
  • Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawasawi was listed as one of the captives who had admitted "being [an] Al Qaeda operative."[26]

Human Rights bodies' criticism of al-Hawsawi’s detention[edit]

UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention[edit]

On January 23, 2015, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention held that al-Hawsawi’s ongoing detention in Guantánamo Bay was arbitrary, and in contravention of articles 9 and 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and 9 and 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.[27]

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights[edit]

On July 7, 2015, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights adopted a resolution on precautionary measures regarding al-Hawsawi requesting the United States of America, inter alia, to adopt the necessary measures to protect the life and personal integrity of al-Hawsawi, and to adopt the necessary measures to ensure access to medical care and treatment.[28]

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.[29][30] His seven-page Joint Task Force Guantanamo assessment was drafted on December 8, 2006.[31] It was signed by deputy camp commandant Brigadier General Edward L. Secord. He recommended continued detention.


  1. ^ Indictment of Zacarias Moussaoui, with supporting conspirators, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh and Mustafa al-Hawsawi. Filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ "Rectal rehydration and standing on broken limbs: the CIA torture report's grisliest findings". The Guardian. 2014-12-09. Retrieved 2016-10-11. 
  4. ^ Carol Rosenberg (2016-10-11). "‘Sodomized’ Guantánamo captive to undergo rectal surgery". Miami Herald. Retrieved 2016-10-11. “Mr. Hawsawi was tortured in the black sites. He was sodomized,” Ruiz told reporters Monday evening, advising them to “shy away from terms like rectal penetration or rectal rehydration because the reality is it was sodomy,” he said. Since then, he said, he has had “to manually reinsert parts of his anal cavity” to defecate. 
  5. ^ "Detainee Biographies" (PDF). Office of the Director of National Intelligence. 2009-08-31. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-08-31. 
  6. ^ "Bush: CIA holds terror suspects in secret prisons". CNN. September 7, 2006. Retrieved 2007-08-10.  Archived May 16, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ "Verbatim Transcript of Combatant Status Review Tribunal Hearing for ISN 10011"
  8. ^ "Document links al Qaeda paymaster, 9/11 plotter", Los Angeles Times, September 27, 2002
  9. ^ Mustafa al-Hawsawi", Cageprisoners
  10. ^ "CIA prison case: Guantanamo detainee asks Vilnius court for victim status" (in English). Vilnius: Baltic Course. 2016-05-23. Retrieved 2016-05-25. According to Ingrida Botyriene, the lawyer, suspicions that al-Hawsawi was kept in the alleged secret CIA site in Lithuania are substantiated by a US Senate report. and evidence collected by non-governmental organizations. 
  11. ^ "Talk of CIA Black Site in Lithuania Resurfaces". 2016-05-24. Retrieved 2016-12-30. Captured in 2003, Mustafa al-Hawsawi was held in secret detention centers, human rights organizations say, before being transferred to Guantanamo Bay almost a decade ago. U.S. authorities have accused al-Hawsawi of being a member of al Qaeda and helping with the financing of the 9/11 attacks. 
  12. ^ "confidential report of the International Committee of the Red Cross following its visit to fourteen "high value detainees" transferred to Guantanamo in September 2006", 14 February 2007
  13. ^ "United States Senate Intelligence Committee Report", page 100
  14. ^ "Europe: Breaking The Conspiracy Of Silence: Usa’s European ‘Partners In Crime’ Must Act After Senate Torture Report", page 16
  15. ^ "United States Senate Intelligence Committee Report", page 104
  16. ^ a b "United States Senate Intelligence Committee Report", page 432
  17. ^ 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
  18. ^ "Guantanamo 9/11 suspects on trial". BBC News. June 6, 2008. Retrieved December 8, 2008. 
  19. ^ a b "Top 9/11 suspects to plead guilty". BBC News. December 8, 2008. Retrieved December 8, 2008. 
  20. ^ Khaled Mahmoud (2009-05-11). "US appoints Islamist lawyer to Gitmo detainee". Al Arabiya. Archived from the original on 2009-05-27. 
  21. ^ Kathryn Lynch-Morin (2009-08-31). "Profile of 10 U.S.-bound Gitmo detainees". Corrections One. Archived from the original on 2009-09-01. Retrieved 2009-08-02. 
  22. ^ 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. 
  23. ^ Guantánamo Prisoners Getting Their Day, but Hardly in Court, New York Times, November 11, 2004 - mirror
  24. ^ Inside the Guantánamo Bay hearings: Barbarian "Justice" dispensed by KGB-style "military tribunals", Financial Times, December 11, 2004
  25. ^ "Q&A: What next for Guantanamo prisoners?". BBC News. 2002-01-21. Archived from the original on 23 November 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-24.  mirror
  26. ^ a b c d e f Benjamin Wittes, Zaathira Wyne (2008-12-16). "The Current Detainee Population of Guantánamo: An Empirical Study" (PDF). The Brookings Institution. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2012-06-22. Retrieved 2010-02-16. 
  27. ^ "Opinions adopted by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention at its seventy-first session (17–21 November 2014) No. 50/2014 (United States of America and Cuba)", 13 February 2015
  28. ^ "Inter-American Commission on Human Rights: Resolution 24/2015", 7 July 2015
  29. ^ 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. 
  30. ^ "WikiLeaks: The Guantánamo files database". The Telegraph (UK). 2011-04-27. Archived from the original on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2012-07-10. 
  31. ^ "Mustafa Ahmad Al Hawsawi: Guantanamo Bay detainee file on Mustafa Ahmad Al Hawsawi, US9SA-010011DP, passed to the Telegraph by Wikileaks". The Telegraph (UK). 2011-04-27. Retrieved 2016-12-30. 

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