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Mohamedou Ould Slahi

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Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a citizen of Mauritania, was accused of collaborating in radical Islamism and terrorism against the United States, going back to 1999. In that year, according to Amnesty International, his first detention sand interrogations, by U.S. and Mauritanian personnel, began.[1] After the 9-11 Attack, he was again taken into custody, having worked with some of the 9/11 principals in Hamburg in November 2001, spent time in several U.S. and third country interrogation centers, and is held at Guantanamo Bay detention camp.[2] Subsequently, he provided information to the United States, and was, with Tariq al-Sawah, given privileged housing but was not considered for release. [3]

W. Patrick Lang, a retired officer with human intelligence experience, told the Post, "I don't see why they [Slahi and al-Sawah]] aren't given asylum. If we don't do this right, it will be that much harder to get other people to cooperate with us. And if I was still in the business, I'd want it known we protected them. It's good advertising." The Post quoted "A current military official at Guantanamo suggested that argument was fair. Still, he said, it's 'a hard-sell argument around here.'" L'Houssaine Kherchtou and Jamal al-Fadl, al-Qaeda members who cooperated in the 1990s, are in the Witness Protection Program.

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia judge James Robertson ruled, on 22 March 2010, that he must be freed. [4] While the reasons for Robertson's decision were kept classified, Robertson said he would release the information within a few weeks. reported "In March 2004, Lt. Col. Stuart Couch, the prosecutor in Slahi's military trial, halted that process, claiming that the evidence against Slahi had been obtained through torture and was thus inadmissible under U.S. and international law. It is this mistreatment, ultimately, that allowed Slahi to win his release..." [5] Amnesty International had previously reported that the information against him came from the torture of Ramzi Binalshibh, a High Value Detainee and operations deputy to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.[1]

Before 9-11

He was named, in the 2004 report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (i.e., the 9/11 Commission) as having been "well-known to American and German intelligence" in 1999. [6]

According to the Washington Post, he first went to Afghanistan in 1990 to fight Communists, and returned two times. He swore the loyalty oath of bayat to Osama bin Laden. The al-Qaeda religious committee was then directed by Slahi's brother-in-law, Mahfouz Ould al-Walid. Slahi said that he thought Walid had used one of bin Laden's satellite telephones to contact Slahi about transferring money to family in Mauritania.

Slahi later told the U.S. military that he believed Walid had used one of bin Laden's satellite phones to contact him about transferring money to family in Mauritania.[3] This may have been intercepted by U.S. communications intelligence and been the start of U.S. familiarity with him.

Returning to Germany in 1998, he studied electrical engineering, and "his acquaintances included men who would later be tied to the bombing of a synagogue in Tunisia and a foiled plot to attack a resort on the French island of La Reunion in the Indian Ocean...In Canada, where he arrived in November 1999, Slahi led prayers at a mosque attended by Ahmed Ressam, the Algerian who would later be convicted as part of the Millennium Plot to blow up Los Angeles International Airport on New Year's Eve of that year. " [3]

Relation to 9-11 Attack

Slahi was reported, by the 9-11 Commission, to have been an imam in Hamburg, Germany, who told four men how to travel to Afghanistan for jihad. They were Mohammed Atta, Ziad Jarrah, and Marwan al Shehhi, who were hijackers in the 9-11 Attack, while the last was Ramzi Binalshibh, currently charged with planning the attack, and indicted in the U.S. v. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, et al. trial.


According to Amnesty International, he was taken into captivity by Mauritanian officials, transferred to U.S. custody and held in the Bagram Theater Internment Facility, and transferred to Guantanamo in August 2002. The November 2001 arrest followed questioning in 1999 and 2000 for suspicion of involvement in the Millennium Bombing Plot. [1]

Initial handling at Guantanamo

Guantanamo interrogators wrote a Special Interrogation Plan interrogation plan dated 16 January 2003, which requested approval, from Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. This included the use of extended interrogation techniques. [7] Detailed interrogation, however, did not begin after the Guantanamo commander requested formal approval on, which was forwarded to Rumsfeld with the approval of the United States Southern Command head General James Hill, Marshall Billingslea, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations / Low-Intensity Conflict (SOLIC), and Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defense.
Five days after interrogators congratulated Slahi for his decision to '"tell the whole

truth," Rumsfeld approved the plan on approved ITF-GTMO's Special Interrogation Plan. Notwithstanding Slahi's apparent decision on August 7, 2003 to cooperate with interrogators, an August 21, 2003 email described preparations made to implement the Special Interrogation

Plan. [8]
Intensive psychological pressure had begun before that date, intensifying fear.After Rumsfeld's approval and the start of intensified interrogation, an interrogator, on 17 October 2003, sent a memo to lieutenant colonel, Diane Zierhoffer, a consulting psychologist at Guantanamo, which said
"Slahi told me he is "hearing voices' now... He is worried as he knows this is not normal.... By the way

... is this something that happens to people who have little external stimulus such as daylight,human interaction etc???? Seems a little creepy." LTC Zierhoffer responded "sensory deprivation can cause hallucinations, usually visual rather than auditory, but you never know...

In the dark you create things out of what little you have ...[9]
The Senate report, under a heading of "FBI Concerns with Special Interrogation", deleted the specific FBI concerns but quoted
LtCol Stuart Couch, a military prosecutor assigned to the

Slahi case wrote in March 2004 that "prosecutors in our office are very concerned about the allegations of detainee abuse at GTMO and Afghanistan, and we have individually taken steps to address this issue. The techniques employed by the intelligence community in obtaining information is a policy decision that obviously affects our prosecution efforts, yet we are powerless to influence such activities." After becoming aware of interrogations techniques to

which Slahi had been subject, LtCol Couch refused to participate in the prosecution.[10]

Canadian involvement

In 2008, he and another detainee, Ahcene Zemiri petitioned a Canadian court to provide them with interview records that they say they gave to Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Canadian Security Intelligence Service officers at Guantanamo in 2003 and 2004.[11] This was rejected in February 2009, on the grounds that since they were not Canadian citizens, they were not entitled to the protection of the Canadian charter. [12] That Canadian authorities questioned Guantanamo prisoners, however, had not been previously mentioned. It is logical, however, that it tied to his 1998 stay in Canada.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "USA: Rendition - torture - trial? : The case of Guantánamo detainee Mohamedou Ould Slahi", Amnesty International
  2. "Guantanamo Docket: Mohamedou Ould Slahi", New York Times
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Peter Finn (24 March 2010), "For two detainees who told what they knew, Guantanamo becomes a gilded cage", Washington Post
  4. Warren Mass (24 March 2010), "U.S. Judge Frees Guantanamo Detainee", New American
  5. Rozina Ali (23 March 2010), "Release of Guantanamo detainee has everything to do with torture",
  6. National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (also known as the 9-11 Commission) (2004), The 9/11 Commission Report, pp. 165-166
  7. Senate Armed Services Committee (November 20, 2008), Inquiry into the Treatment of Detainees in U.S. Custody, SASC November 2008, p. 135-136
  8. Senate Armed Services Committee, pp. 138-139
  9. Senate Armed Services Committee, pp. 140-141
  10. Senate Armed Services Committee, p. 141
  11. "Terror suspects take Mounties, CSIS to court", Canwest News Service, October 25, 2008
  12. "Court dismisses Guantanamo detainees' bid for records", Canwest News Service, February 16, 2009