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Ahmed Bin Saleh Bel Bacha

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Ahmed Bin Saleh Bel Bacha is a citizen of Algeria currently held in extrajudicial detention in the United States Guantanamo Bay detainment camps, in Cuba.[1] The Department of Defense reports that he was born on November 13, 1969, in Algiers, Algeria and assigned him the Internment Serial Number 290. Bel Bacha sought asylum in the UK, where he worked at a hotel. In the autumn of 2001, he went to Pakistan for a monthlong vacation. He was seized by villagers in Peshawar who sold him for a bounty offered by the U.S. military and was sent to Guantanamo Bay Prison. In 2007, a panel of military officers determined that he posed no threat to the United States or its allies and cleared Belbacha for release. However, he remains at Guantanamo, unable to return to his homeland from which he fled Islamic militants.

As of May 5, 2010, Bel Bacha has been held at Guantanamo for eight years three months.[2]

Combatant Status Review TribunalEdit

Initially the Bush administration asserted that they could withhold all the protections of the Geneva Conventions to captives from the war on terror. This policy was challenged before the Judicial branch. Critics argued that the USA could not evade its obligation to conduct a competent tribunals to determine whether captives are, or are not, entitled to the protections of prisoner of war status.

Subsequently the Department of Defense instituted the Combatant Status Review Tribunals. The Tribunals, however, were not authorized to determine whether the captives were lawful combatants -- rather they were merely empowered to make a recommendation as to whether the captive had previously been correctly determined to match the Bush administration's definition of an enemy combatant.

Summary of Evidence memoEdit

A Summary of Evidence memo was prepared for Ahmed Bin Saleh Bel Bacha's Combatant Status Review Tribunal, on 1 October 2004.[3] The memo listed the following allegations against him:

The detainee is associated with al Qaida:
  1. The detainee traveled from Algeria to France in 2001, to obtain a false French passport, which he used to travel to London. Once arriving in London the detainee went directly to the Finsbury Park Mosque.
  2. The detainee stated that his travel to Afghanistan via false passport was facilitated by the Finsbury Park Mosque.
  3. The detainee stated that he attended prayer services and lectures conducted by Abu Hamza, Sheik of the Finsbury Park Mosque.
  4. Abu Hamzah is a fundamentalist who has lectured on "Jihad" and "martyrdom" and raised raised controversy with his speeches entitled "Call and Combat" after 11 September 2001.
  5. The detainee obtained a visa to travel from London to Pakistan on his false French Passport. The detainee departed for Pakistan on 24 July 2001.
  6. The detainee stayed at a Jalalabad guesthouse (aka the House of the Algerians), a staging point for Europeans and North Africans traveling to and from training.
  7. While in Jalalabad, the detainee received training on small arms, the Kalashnikov rifle and Simonov machine gun.
  8. The detainee fled Jalalabad to the Afghan Mountains as the coalition forces approached the city in November 2001.
  9. The Pakistani Army held the detainee at the Pakistan/Afghan border in late 2001.


There is no record that Bacha participated in his Combatant Status Review Tribunal.

Administrative Review Board hearingsEdit

File:ARB trailer.jpg
Hearing room where Guantanamo captive's annual Administrative Review Board hearings convened for captives whose Combatant Status Review Tribunal had already determined they were an "enemy combatant".[4]

Detainees who were determined to have been properly classified as "enemy combatants" were scheduled to have their dossier reviewed at annual Administrative Review Board hearings.[5] The Administrative Review Boards weren't authorized to review whether a detainee qualified for POW status, and they weren't authorized to review whether a detainee should have been classified as an "enemy combatant".

They were authorized to consider whether a detainee should continue to be detained by the United States, because they continued to pose a threat—or whether they could safely be repatriated to the custody of their home country, or whether they could be set free.

First annual Administrative Review BoardEdit

A Summary of Evidence memo was prepared for Ahmed Bin Saleh Bel Bacha's first annual Administrative Review Board, on 29 March 2005.[6] The memo listed factors for and against his continued detention.

The following primary factors favor continued detention

a. Training
  1. The detainee stayed at a Jalalabad guesthouse (aka the House of the Algerians), a staging point for Europe]ans and North Africans traveling to and from training.
  2. While in Jalalabad, the detainee received training on small arms, the Kalashnikov rifle and Simonov machine gun.
  3. The detainee had previous weapons training from his time in the Algerian army.
b. Connections/Associations
  1. The detainee traveled from Algeria to France to obtain a false French passport, which he used to travel to London. Once arriving in London the detainee went directly to the Finsbury Park Mosque.
  2. The detainee stated that his travel to Afghanistan via false passport was facilitated by the Finsbury Park Mosque.
  3. The detainee encountered Usama Bin Laden on two separate occasions.
  4. The detainee met and stayed with three al Qaida leaders while in Kabul and Jalalabad.
c. Intent
  1. Detainee went to fight for jihad because he believes that it is every good Muslim's duty.
  2. Detainee admitted receiving training to become a jihad member around the world.
d. Other Relevant Data
  1. The detainee stated that he attended prayer services and lectures conducted by Abu Hamza, Sheik of the Finsbury Park Mosque.
  2. Abu Hamzah is a fundamentalist who has lectured on "Jihad" and "martyrdom" and raised controversy with his speeches entitled "Call and Combat" after 11 September 2001.
  3. The detainee fled Jalalabad to the Afghan mountains as the coalition forces approached the city in November 2001.


The following primary factors favor release or transfer

The detainee indicated he did not want anything to do with the GIA (Armed Islamic Group) as they were terrorists.


TranscriptEdit

A two page summarized transcript from the unclassified session of this hearing was published.[7]

Second annual Administrative Review BoardEdit

A Summary of Evidence memo was prepared for Ahmed Bin Saleh Bel Bacha's Administrative Review Board, on 7 March 2006.[8] The memo listed factors for and against his continued detention.

Habeas corpus petitionEdit

A writ of habeas corpus was filed on Ahmed Bel Bacha's behalf.

Military Commissions ActEdit

The Military Commissions Act of 2006 mandated that Guantanamo captives were no longer entitled to access the US civil justice system, so all outstanding habeas corpus petitions were stayed.[9]

Boumediene v. BushEdit

On June 12, 2008 the United States Supreme Court ruled, in Boumediene v. Bush, that the Military Commissions Act could not remove the right for Guantanamo captives to access the US Federal Court system. And all previous Guantanamo captives' habeas petitions were eligible to be re-instated. The judges considering the captives' habeas petitions would be considering whether the evidence used to compile the allegations the men and boys were enemy combatants justified a classification of "enemy combatant".[10]

Protective orderEdit

On 15 July 2008 Kristine A. Huskey filed a "NOTICE OF PETITIONERS’ REQUEST FOR 30-DAYS NOTICE OF TRANSFER" on behalf of several dozen captives including Bel Bacha.[11]

Delayed repatriationEdit

In July 2007 US District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer turned down an "emergency motion" to repatriate Bel Bacha to Algeria.[12] Zachary Katznelson Bel Bacha's lawyer, asserted that the USA could not trust any assurances from the Algerian government that they would not subject him to cruel or inhumane treatment.

Katznelson stated that Bel Bacha was unjustly accused.[12]

On April 5, 2010, another emergency order requesting a stay of repatriation was filed.[13][14]

ReferencesEdit

  1. "List of Individuals Detained by the Department of Defense at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba from January 2002 through May 15, 2006". United States Department of Defense. http://www.dod.mil/news/May2006/d20060515%20List.pdf. Retrieved 2006-05-15. 
  2. ' [1] The New York Times
  3. OARDEC (1 October 2004). "Summary of Evidence for Combatant Status Review Tribunal -- Bel Bacha, Ahmed Bin Saleh". United States Department of Defense. pp. pages 34–35. http://www.dod.mil/pubs/foi/detainees/csrt_arb/000300-000399.pdf#34. Retrieved 2008-04-25. 
  4. Review process unprecedented [2] Spc Timothy Book Friday March 10, 2006
  5. OARDEC provides recommendations to Deputy Secretary of Defense [3] Army Sgt. Sarah Stannard October 29, 2007
  6. OARDEC (29 March 2005). "Unclassified Summary of Evidence for Administrative Review Board in the case of Bel Bacha, Ahmed Bin Saleh". United States Department of Defense. pp. pages 5–6. http://www.dod.mil/pubs/foi/detainees/csrt_arb/ARB_Round_1_Factors_001161-001234.pdf#5. Retrieved 2008-04-25. 
  7. OARDEC (date redacted). "Summary of Administrative Review Board Proceedings of ISN 290". United States Department of Defense. pp. pages 81–82. http://www.dod.mil/pubs/foi/detainees/csrt_arb/ARB_Transcript_Set_1_395-584.pdf#81. Retrieved 2008-04-25. 
  8. OARDEC (7 March 2006). "Unclassified Summary of Evidence for Administrative Review Board in the case of Bel Bacha, Ahmed Bin Saleh". United States Department of Defense. pp. pages 59–61. http://www.dod.mil/pubs/foi/detainees/csrt_arb/ARB_Round_2_Factors_399-498.pdf#59. Retrieved 2008-04-25. 
  9. NOTICE OF MILITARY COMMISSIONS ACT OF 2006 [4] Peter D. Keisler, Douglas N. Letter 2006-10-16 mirror
  10. Lawyers debate 'enemy combatant' [5] Farah Stockman 2008-10-24 mirror
  11. Kristine A. Huskey (2008-07-15). "Guantanamo Bay Detainee Litigation: Doc 63 -- NOTICE OF PETITIONERS’ REQUEST FOR 30-DAYS NOTICE OF TRANSFER". United States Department of Justice. http://docs.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/district-of-columbia/dcdce/1:2008mc00442/131990/63/0.pdf. Retrieved 2008-11-13.  mirror
  12. 12.0 12.1 Guantanamo detainee fights transfer to native Algeria, citing torture fears [6] July 28, 2007
  13. EMERGENCY MOTION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE STAY PENDING RESOLUTION OF PETITIONER’S EMERGENCY MOTION OF MARCH 7, 2010 ON THE MERITS [7] David H. Remes 2010-04-05
  14. Algeria national seeks emergency stay of transfer from Guantanamo [8] Steve Dotterer 2010-04-05

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