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Rendition (35)
legalProceedings (41)
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Unnamed prisoners (42)
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Torture, rendition, and other abuses against captives in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere

 
  

Project: Prisoner abuse in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

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December 2001

       Yaser Esam Hamdi, who holds dual Saudi and US citizenship, is captured in Afghanistan by the Northern Alliance and handed over to US forces. According to the US government, at the time of his arrest, Hamdi carries a Kalashnikov assault rifle and is traveling with a Taliban military unit. The following month he will be transferred to Guantanamo [CNN, 10/14/2004]
People and organizations involved: Yaser Esam Hamdi
          

April 2002

       Yaser Esam Hamdi, detained at Guantanamo in January 2002, is discovered to be a US citizen and thereupon transferred to the Navy brig in Norfolk, Virginia. [CNN, 10/14/2004]
People and organizations involved: Yaser Esam Hamdi
          

May 10, 2002

       The US Federal Public Defender (FPD) for the Eastern District of Virginia, Frank Dunham, files a petition for a writ of habeas corpus for Yaser Esam Hamdi, as Hamdi's “next friend,” in the Eastern District of Virginia to challenge his detention. [CNN, 5/31/2002] A habeas corpus is a petition to the court to require that a prisoner's jailer appear with the prisoner in court, so that the court may determine the legality of the prisoner's detention. A person who files as a “next friend” is required to have a significant relationship with the prisoner in order to file a habeas petition on the prisoner's behalf. [US District Court of Eastern Virginia, n.d.]
People and organizations involved: Yaser Esam Hamdi, Frank W. Dunham Jr.
          

May 29, 2002

       Judge Robert G. Doumar of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Norfolk, rules in favor of Yaser Esam Hamdi's Federal Public Defender (FPD) and orders the government to grant the FPD access to Hamdi “because of fundamental justice provided under the Constitution.” Doumar orders that the meeting take place, unmonitored, on June 1. The government files a motion for stay pending appeal two days later, which is granted on June 4 by the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. [Washington Post, 1/9/2003, pp A01 Sources: Yaser Esam Hamdi v. Donald Rumsfeld, United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, 7/12/2002]
People and organizations involved: Robert G. Doumar, Yaser Esam Hamdi
          

June 11, 2002

       District Court Judge Robert Doumar determines that a separate habeas petition, filed by Hamdi's father, Esam Fouad Hamdi [Sources: Yaser Esam Hamdi v. Donald Rumsfeld, Petition for Habeous Corpeous, 6/11/2002] , has been properly filed as “next friend.” Judge Doumar appoints the Federal Public Defender (FPD) as counsel for Hamdi's father, and orders the government to allow the public defender unmonitored access to Hamdi “for the same reasons articulated in the May 29, 2002 Order (see May 29, 2002).” The two petitions by the FPD and Hamdi Sr. are then consolidated into one. The meeting, to take place by June 14, will be “private between Hamdi, the attorney, and the interpreter, without military personnel present, and without any listening or recording devices of any kind being employed in any way.” Two days later, the government files a second motion for stay pending appeal, which is granted on June 14 by the Fourth Court of Appeals. [US District Court of Eastern Virginia, n.d.; Washington Post, 1/9/2003, pp A01 Sources: Yaser Esam Hamdi v. Donald Rumsfeld, US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, 6/11/2002]
People and organizations involved: Yaser Esam Hamdi, Robert G. Doumar
          

June 26, 2002

       The Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reverses the May 29 decision (see May 29, 2002) of Judge Robert G. Doumar of the US District Court in Norfolk ruling that US Federal Public Defender (FPD) Frank W. Dunham is not related to Hamdi and has never met him, and thus cannot file a petition on his behalf. This does not affect the habeas case of Yaser Esam Hamdi, Hamdi's father, or the June 11 order (see June 11, 2002) by a district court judge to allow the Federal Public Defender (FPD) access to the detainee. [Sources: Yaser Esam Hamdi v. Donald Rumsfeld, United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, 6/24/2002]
People and organizations involved: Yaser Esam Hamdi
          

July 12, 2002

       The Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit decides in favor of the government, refusing to uphold a district court's order (see May 29, 2002) that Yaser Esam Hamdi be allowed access to his lawyer. The appeals court argues that the district court ordered access “without adequately considering [its] implications.” It states that it “has long been established that if Hamdi is indeed an ‘enemy combatant’ who was captured during hostilities in Afghanistan, the government's present detention of him is a lawful one.” In deference to the government, the court states that the “executive is best prepared to exercise the military judgment attending the capture of alleged combatants,” adding that the “political branches are best positioned to comprehend this global war in its full context and it is the president who has been charged to use force against those ‘nations, organizations, or persons he determines’ were responsible for the September 11 terrorist attacks.” The court asserts that the “Constitution's commitment of the conduct of war to the political branches of American government requires the court's respect at every step.” [Sources: Yaser Esam Hamdi v. Donald Rumsfeld, United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, 7/12/2002]
People and organizations involved: Yaser Esam Hamdi
          

July 18, 2002

       The district court for the Eastern District of Virginia holds a hearing in the case of Yaser Hamdi and questions the government's arguments for keeping Hamdi detained. Questions raised by the district judge are: “With whom is the war I should suggest that we're fighting?” and “Will the war never be over as long as there is any member [or] any person who might feel that they want to attack the United States of America or the citizens of the United States of America?” The court orders the government to include answers to these and other questions in a response to Hamdi's habeas petition by July 25 (see July 25, 2002). [Sources: Yaser Esam Hamdi v. Donald Rumsfeld, United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, 1/8/2003]
People and organizations involved: Yaser Esam Hamdi
          

July 25, 2002

       The government files a response in the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to the petition for a writ of habeas corpus for Yaser Hamdi (see July 18, 2002) and motions for the petition to be dismissed. The response, a two-page declaration of facts written by Special Advisor to the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michael H. Mobbs and known as the “Mobbs Declaration,” asserts that because Hamdi was “affiliated” with the Taliban and was carrying a rifle at the time of his surrender, the US military has designated him as an enemy combatant. It does not say that Hamdi actually fought with the Taliban against US forces. [Washington Post, 1/9/2003, pp A01 Sources: Yaser Esam Hamdi v. Donald Rumsfeld, United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, 1/8/2003]
People and organizations involved: Michael H. Mobbs, Yaser Esam Hamdi
          

July 31, 2002

       Judge Robert G. Doumar of the US District Court of Eastern Virginia orders the US government to provide the court with copies of all of Hamdi's statements, a list of all interrogators who have questioned him, and copies of any statements by members of the Northern Alliance that relate to Hamdi by August 6. A hearing will then be held on August 8. Access to the documents will be restricted to the court and will not be shared with Federal Public Defender (FPD) Frank Dunham. [Washington Post, 1/9/2003, pp A01 Sources: Yaser Esam Hamdi v. Donald Rumsfeld, US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, 7/31/2002] The US government refuses to comply with the order. [Washington Post, 1/9/2003, pp A01 Sources: Yaser Esam Hamdi v. Donald Rumsfeld, US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, 8/5/2002]
People and organizations involved: Frank W. Dunham Jr., Robert G. Doumar, Yaser Esam Hamdi
          

August 8, 2002

       Rebuffing Judge Robert G. Doumar's July 31 ruling (see July 31, 2002), the Fourth Circuit Court of Richmond orders the US District Court of Eastern Virginia to “consider the sufficiency of the Mobbs declaration as an independent matter before proceeding further.” [Washington Post, 1/9/2003, pp A01 Sources: Yaser Esam Hamdi v. Donald Rumsfeld, United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, 8/8/2002]
People and organizations involved: Yaser Esam Hamdi, Robert G. Doumar, Frank W. Dunham Jr.
          

August 13, 2002

       Judge Robert G. Doumar of the US District Court in Norfolk, which is handling the habeas petition for Yaser Hamdi, holds a hearing in compliance with an order (see August 8, 2002) by the court of appeals to consider the government's argument for treating Hamdi as an enemy combatant as outlined in the Mobbs declaration (see July 25, 2002). [Washington Post, 1/9/2003, pp A01 Sources: Yaser Esam Hamdi v. Donald Rumsfeld, US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, 8/16/2002]
People and organizations involved: Yaser Esam Hamdi, Robert G. Doumar
          

August 16, 2002

       The district court at Norfolk finds that the Mobbs declaration (see July 25, 2002) “falls far short” of providing a basis for the continuing detention of Yaser Hamdi without due process of law. “If the Court were to accept the Mobbs Declaration as sufficient justification for detaining Hamdi ..., this Court would be acting as little more than a rubber stamp,” he writes in his ruling. He again orders the government to produce additional evidence, including copies of Hamdi's statements, notes by his interrogators, statements by members of the Northern Alliance and relevant names, dates, and locations. [Washington Post, 1/9/2003, pp A01 Sources: Yaser Esam Hamdi v. Donald Rumsfeld, US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, 8/16/2002] Doumar says the government's arguments lead “to more questions than answers.” For example:
The Mobbs Declaration does not say what authority Mobbs has, as “Special Advisor” to the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, to determine the classification of a detainee. He says that during the August 13 hearing (see August 13, 2002), the government's attorney was unable to do so. [Sources: Yaser Esam Hamdi v. Donald Rumsfeld, US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, 8/16/2002]

The government has provided no reason “for Hamdi to be in solitary confinement, incommunicado for over four months and being held some eight-to-ten months without any charges of any kind.” [Sources: Yaser Esam Hamdi v. Donald Rumsfeld, US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, 8/16/2002]

Though it is claimed that Hamdi was “affiliated with a Taliban military unit and received weapons training,” the declaration makes no attempt to explain the nature of this “affiliation” or why the “affiliation” warrants the classification of Hamdi as an enemy combatant. Furthermore, the delcaration “never claims that Hamdi was fighting for the Taliban, nor that he was a member of the Taliban.” [Sources: Yaser Esam Hamdi v. Donald Rumsfeld, US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, 8/16/2002]

Assertions in the document concerning statements made by Hamdi appear to be paraphrased. Hamdi's actual statements are not provided. “Due to the ease with which such statements may be taken out of context, the Court is understandably suspicious of the Repondent's assertions regarding statements that Hamdi is alleged to have made,” the court ruling says. [Sources: Yaser Esam Hamdi v. Donald Rumsfeld, US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, 8/16/2002]

People and organizations involved: Yaser Esam Hamdi
          

August 21, 2002

       Judge Robert G. Doumar of the US District Court in Norfolk stays proceedings in the case of Yaser Esam Hamdi and issues a request to the Fourth Circuit to respond to the question “whether the Mobbs Declaration, standing alone, is sufficient as a matter of law to allow a meaningful judicial review of Yaser Esam Hamdi's classification as an enemy combatant.” [Sources: Yaser Esam Hamdi v. Donald Rumsfeld, US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, 8/21/2002]
People and organizations involved: Yaser Esam Hamdi, Robert G. Doumar
          

January 8, 2003

       In the habeas case of Yaser Hamdi, the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit rules again in favor of the government. The court decides that the facts presented by the government in the “Mobbs declaration” (see July 25, 2002) were sufficient to consider Hamdi rightfully as an enemy combatant. “Hamdi is not entitled to challenge the facts presented in the Mobbs declaration. Where, as here, a habeas petitioner has been designated an enemy combatant and it is undisputed that he was captured in a zone of active combat operations abroad, further judicial inquiry is unwarranted ...,” the court holds. In response to Hamdi's representatives' argument that Article 5 of the Third Geneva Convention requires Hamdi's status be determined by a competent tribunal, the court states that “the Geneva Convention is not self-executing,” and can therefore not be applied directly in a US court. [Sources: Yaser Esam Hamdi v. Donald Rumsfeld, United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, 1/8/2003]
People and organizations involved: Yaser Esam Hamdi
          

August 2003

       Yaser Esam Hamdi is moved from the Navy brig in Norfolk to the one in Charleston. The government considers Hamdi an enemy combatant and a “grave threat to national security.” [CNN, 10/14/2004]
People and organizations involved: Yaser Esam Hamdi
          

October 1, 2003

       Yaser Esam Hamdi files a request to the Supreme Court to review his habeas case. [Sources: Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, Oct. 1, 2003]
People and organizations involved: Yaser Esam Hamdi
          

January 9, 2004

       The Supreme Court accepts the habeas case of Yaser Esam Hamdi. For two years, Hamdi has been in detention and has been barred from seeing an attorney, and all the while not having any information about charges against him or of an upcoming trial. “I didn't know what was going on. Really, I didn't know anything,” Hamdi later recalls. “I was just in a big question mark, and I didn't know any answers to any questions.” [CNN, 10/14/2004]
People and organizations involved: Supreme Court, Yaser Esam Hamdi
          

April 28, 2004

       A Supreme Court Justice, during the oral arguments in the cases of Jose Padilla and Yaser Esam Hamdi, asks how the Court can be certain that government interrogators are not abusing detainees. Deputy Solicitor General Paul Clement answers that the court will have to “trust the executive to make the kind of quintessential military judgments that are involved in things like that.” [Human Rights First, 6/2004]
People and organizations involved: Paul Clement, Jose Padilla, Yaser Esam Hamdi, Human Rights First
          

June 28, 2004

       In the case of Yaser Esam Hamdi v. Donald Rumsfeld, eight of nine Supreme Court justices decide, contrary to the government's position, that Yaser Hamdi, as a US citizen held inside the US, cannot be locked up indefinitely incommunicado, without an opportunity to challenge his detention. They rule he has the right to be given the opportunity to challenge the basis for his detention before an impartial court. Justice Sandra Day O'Conner writes for the majority that, “We have long since made clear that a state of war is not a blank check for the president when it comes to the rights of the Nation's citizens.” She also writes: “It would turn our system of checks and balances on its head to suggest that a citizen could not make his way to court with a challenge to the factual basis for his detention by his government, simply because the Executive opposes making available such a challenge. Absent suspension of the writ by Congress, a citizen detained as an enemy combatant is entitled to this process.” Hamdi, on the other hand, apart from military interrogations and “screening processes,” has received no process. Due process, according to a majority of the court, “demands some system for a citizen detainee to refute his classification [as enemy combatant].” A “citizen-detainee ... must receive notice of the factual basis for his classification, and a fair opportunity to rebut the Government's factual assertions before a neutral decisionmaker.” However, O'Connor writes, “an interrogation by one's captor ... hardly constitutes a constitutionally adequate factfinding before a neutral decisionmaker.” Only Justice Clarence Thomas affirms the government's opinion, writing, “This detention falls squarely within the Federal Government's war powers, and we lack the expertise and capacity to second-guess that decision.” [Sources: Rasul et al. v. Bush et al., Supreme Court opinion on writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, 6/28/2004]
People and organizations involved: Yaser Esam Hamdi, Sandra Day O'Conner, Clarence Thomas, Donald Rumsfeld
          

October 10, 2004

       Yaser Esam Hamdi returns to Saudi Arabia aboard a US military jet. Instead of defending its decision to detain Hamdi for an additional two and a half years, the US government chooses to negotiate with his attorneys about a release. In exchange for his release, Hamdi agrees to renounce his US citizenship and pledge never to travel to Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel, Pakistan, Syria, the Palestinian West Bank, or Gaza. He must also report any intent to travel outside Saudi Arabia. [CNN, 10/14/2004]
People and organizations involved: Yaser Esam Hamdi  Additional Info 
          


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