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Guantanamo’s Children: The Wikileaked Testimonies
May 8, 2013   By:    Child Prisoner, Guantanamo, Mohammed Jawad   7 Comments   //   380 Views

On April 24, 2011, the transparency organization Wikileaks began to release Detainee Assessment Briefs and other classified documents for all 779 Guantánamo prisoners. This revealed that military authorities have acknowledged that Mr. Abdul Samad, Mr. Ibrahim Umar al Umar, Mr. Khalil Rahman Hafez, and Mr. Abdullah R. Razzaq were all imprisoned at Guantánamo as children.

As a consequence of the wikileaked releases, military documents in the public domain now acknowledge that fifteen children were imprisoned, at some time or another, at Guantánamo (see table below). This is three more than the twelve the State Department acknowledged to the public after our earlier report on the subject, and seven more than the eight the State Department reported to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

In short, military documents recently wikileaked indicate that the number of children that have been imprisoned at Guantanamo is one-and-a-quarter times what the State Department has admitted to the public and almost twice as many as it reported to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

NAME

ISN

DATE OF BIRTH

DATE OF TRANSFER TO GTMO

AGE IN YEARS (DAYS) AT TRANSFER 

MOHAMMED ISMAIL

930

DD MM 88

07 FEB 02

13 (4786) – 14 (5151)

ASSAD ULLAH

912

DD MM 88

DD DEC 02

13 (5083) – 14 (5478)

NAQIB ULLAH

913

DD MM 88

DD JAN 03

14 (5114) – 15 (5509)

MUHAMMED HAMID AL QARANI

269

DD MM 86

09 FEB 02

15 (5519) – 16 (5883)

MOHAMMED OMAR

540

DD MM 86

11 JUN 02

15 (5641) – 16 (6005)

SHAMS ULLAH

783

DD MM 86

28 OCT 02

15 (5780) – 16 (6144)

OMAR AHMED KHADR

766

19 SEP 86

27 OCT 02

16 (5882)

YUSSEF MOHAMMED MUBARAK AL SHIHRI

114

08 SEP 85

16 JAN 02

16 (5974)

ABDUL SAMAD

911

DD MM 86

06 FEB 03

16 (5881) – 17 (6245)

ABDUL QUDUS

929

DD MM 86

07 FEB 03

16 (5882) – 17 (6246)

IBRAHIM UMAR AL UMAR

585

DD MM 85

15 JUN 02

16 (6010) – 17 (6374)

ABDUL SALAM GHETAN (AL SHEHRI)

132

14 DEC 84

20 JAN 02

17 (6246)

YASSER TALAL AL ZAHRANI

093

22 SEP 84

20 JAN 02

17 (6329)

KAHLIL RAHMAN HAFEZ (HAFEZ K. RAHMAN)

301

20 FEB 84

07 FEB 02

17 (6562)

‘ABD AL RAZAQ (ABDULLAH R RAZZAQ)

067

18 JAN 84

17 JAN 02

17 (6574)

Fourteen of the individuals mentioned in this table have now been released—one of them being the first child in History to have been convicted of war crimes (Omar Ahmed Khadr). The fifteenth (Yasser Talal al Zahrani) allegedly killed himself in his Guantánamo cell at age 21. Information about them and many other prisoners can be found elsewhere in this website; pictures of some of them can be found below.

 

The Cases of Shams Ullah, Mohammed Ismail, Abdul Quddus, Muhammed al Qarani

For the most part, the wikileaked information is consistent with what previously released documents have revealed. In some cases, however, the material is less detailed than the material we had before (the new documents do not have, for example, any dates for Mr. Shams Ullah). But in other cases, the new material provides more detail. Newly released documents indicate, for example, that Mr. Mohammed Ismail was born in 1988 and not just after 07 FEB 87 as we previously estimated. These documents moreover indicate that he was transferred to Guantánamo on 07 FEB 02—or exactly one year earlier than previously disclosed [NOTE 1]. This would make him the youngest child to have been imprisoned at Guantánamo according to military and diplomatic sources now in the public domain. In all of these cases, we worked from the most informative of two, mostly consistent, documents.

And then there is the case of Mr. Abdul Quddus. According to the wikileaked material, he is two years older than previously thought. And he was transferred to Guantánamo a full year later than previously released documents indicated [NOTE 2]. It is striking to think that Mr. Quddus would have been transferred into Guantánamo as a child even if the new information proved true. In this case we worked from the wikileaked material, as it was the most recent of the two documents.

Other differences with the known record might pertain to the fact the wikileaked documents mention the dates of transfer rather than the dates of in-processing—which is what the earlier documents used. But this does not affect the status of the prisoners as minors. Except for one case (see section below).

Finally, there is the case of Mr. Muhammed Hamid al Qarani, who wikileaked documents claim was born in 1981. This would be a full five years earlier than previously released documents indicated. It would also be contrary to the information in his birth certificate (mentioned at a Congressional Hearing in 2008) and to the statements made by the judge presiding over his 2009 habeas proceedings, who referred to Mr. al Qarani as “a Saudi minor” in 2001. Without passing judgement on the veracity of the wikileaked information, we decided to include in the table above the earlier material on Mr. al Qarani, as the only point of this report is that military documents admit that more minors were imprisoned in Guantánamo than have been publicly acknowledged.

 

Could there be more?

Many of the birthdates in the wikileaked documents are incomplete, giving only years of birth while remaining silent about the days or the months. Thus, Messrs. Faris Muslim al Ansari (ISN 253), Peta Muhammed (ISN 908), Qari Esmhatulla (ISN 591), and Sajin Urayman (ISN 545) were supposedly born some time in 1984, entering Guantánamo in 2002. Whether they entered it as boys or as men depends on the actual days and months of their respective births. And a similar situation holds for Mr. Mahbub Rahman (ISN 1052) (see table below). For reasons to be given presently, Mr. Mohammed Jawad (ISN 900) should be added to this table of individuals who may have entered Guantánamo as children (all of these individuals have now been released from Guantánamo).

NAME

ISN 

DATE OF BIRTH 

DATE OF TRANSFER TO GTMO

AGE IN YEARS (DAYS) AT TRANSFER 

MOHAMMED JAWAD

0900

DD MM 85

06 FEB 03

17 (6246) – 18 (6610)

QARI ESMHATULLA

0591

DD MM 84

10 JUN 02

17 (6370) – 18 (6735)

SAJIN URAYMAN

0545

DD MM 84

13 JUN 02

17 (6373) – 18 (6738)

FARIS MUSLIM AL ANSARI

0253

DD MM 84

17 JUN 02

17 (6377) – 18 (6742)

PETA MUHAMMED

0908

DD MM 84

05 AUG 02

17 (6426) – 18 (6791)

MAHBUB RAHMAN

1052

DD MM 85

21 NOV 03

17 (6534) – 18 (6898)

 

The wikileaked documents assert Mr. Mohammed Jawad (ISN 900) was born 01 JAN 85. This would make him a child when he was seized and in-processed by American forces on 17 DEC 02 but an adult when transferred to Guantánamo on 6 FEB 03 [NOTE 3]. But this wikileaked birthdate has been called into question. First, Mr. Jawad’s military counsel has declared (personal communication) that due to the lack of information about Jawad’s precise birthday, the military simply assigned him a birthdate that would make him an adult, and that the accuracy of this date was hotly disputed both in military commission proceedings and in habeas proceedings in federal court. Second, Col. Darrel Vandeveld, once the chief prosecutor in the case against Mr. Jawad, stated in 2009 that

Virtually all of the documentation concerning Mr. Jawad from his first year or so at Guantanamo lists his age as approximately 17 years, so one would be hard pressed to argue that U.S. officials at Guantanamo were unaware of his juvenile status […] there is no question that JTF‐GTMO knew or should have known that Mr. Jawad was a minor when he arrived at Guantanamo […]

Third, in its response to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the State Department described Mr. Jawad as being “approximately 23″ on May 19, 2008. But this would make him “approximately 17″ when he was transferred to Guantánamo. Consequently, we would be remiss if we did not include him among the set of individuals who could have been transferred to Guantánamo as minors. We have included his picture below. Mr. Jawad’s military counsel has confirmed to us that it was taken within 24 hours of being seized by American forces. Testimonies of the abuse these individuals endured at Guantánamo, particularly testimony for Mr. Jawad, can be found elsewhere in this website by entering their names on the search facility at the top of any page.

 

The Testimonies from Abroad

All of the testimonies we have considered thus far are domestic. If we were to take into account the testimonies of former prisoners, the Red Cross, and other international sources, then, the estimates of the number of children at Guantánamo raise significantly. Thus, according to a study by Andy Worthington, the number of individuals entering Guantánamo as boys is 22. And, according to the British charity Reprieve (personal communication), this number would exceed 46. International testimonies on Guantánamo’s children will be analyzed in a subsequent report.

 

Notes

1. The flight logs recorded in The Journey of Death are consistent with both transfer dates, as they mention flights into Guantánamo for both days (see pp. 14 and 26). The Journey of Death is a report on “extraordinary rendition” prepared by the British charity Reprieve.

2. See previous note.

3. Just like Mr. Haji Mohammed Ayub (ISN 279). Born on 15 APR 84, he was seized by American forces some time in 2001 and transferred into Guantánamo on 10 JUN 02. He was therefore captured as a boy, but entered Guantánamo as a man.

First released: January 10, 2008
Last Revised: March 22, 2013

 

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