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Mohammed al-Qahtani

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Mohammed al-Qahtani (1979?-) is alleged to be the "20th hijacker" who would have participated in the 9-11 attack, and is a prisoner at Guantanamo detention camp. Captured by Pakistani forces near the Afghanistan border with Pakistan in December 2001,[1] his legal status is evolving; [2] U.S. filings about his detention cite:

He denied, which is suggested by the summary of evidence, that he had specific prior knowledge of the 9-11 attack. According to an interrogation log acquired by Time magazine and confirmed by the Department of Defense, [3] "On Jan. 10, 2003, al-Qahtani says he knows nothing of terrorists but volunteers to return to the gulf states and act as a double agent for the U.S. in exchange for his freedom". After harsher interrogation measures were authorized by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, he gave more specifics about al-Qaeda, but it is not clear if he gave that due to the increased intensity, or it was through We Know All interrogation techniques based on information obtained from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

Susan Crawford, convening authority under the Military Commissions Act of 2006, barred the current prosecution against him in January 2009, before the end of the George W. Bush Administration, ruling that
We tortured Mohammed al-Qahtani...His treatment met the legal definition of torture. And that's why I did not refer the case" for prosecution. The techniques they used were all authorized, but the manner in which they applied them was overly aggressive and too persistent. . . . You think of torture, you think of some horrendous physical act done to an individual. This was not any one particular act; this was just a combination of things that had a medical impact on him, that hurt his health. It was abusive and uncalled for. And coercive. Clearly coercive. It was that medical impact that pushed me over the edge [to call it torture][2]

She did not, however, free him, and is waiting for military prosecutors to file new charges.


  1. Combatant Status Review Tribunal Team, (October 21, 2004), Summary of Evidence for Combatant Status Review Tribunal against AL QAHTANI, Muhammad Mani Al Shal Lan, U.S. Department of Defense, p. 1
  2. 2.0 2.1 Bob Woodward (January 14, 2009), "Detainee Tortured, Says U.S. Official: Trial Overseer Cites 'Abusive' Methods Against 9/11 Suspect", Washington Post
  3. Adam Zagorin and Michael Duffy (June 12, 2005), "Inside the Interrogation of Detainee 063", Time