Cablegate: Libya: Meeting with Returned Gtmo Detainees Under Usg-Gol Transfer Framework Mou
DE RUEHTRO #0685/01 2461501
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 021501Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3841
INFO RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI 4355
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 TRIPOLI 000685
DEPT FOR S/WCI, L (J. SCHWARTZ, S. POMPER)
AND NEA/MAG (NARDI, JOHNSON)
E.O. 12958: DECL: 6/11/2018
TAGS: KBTR PREL PGOV PHUM PTER PINR PINS LY
SUBJECT: LIBYA: MEETING WITH RETURNED GTMO DETAINEES UNDER USG-GOL TRANSFER FRAMEWORK MOU
REF: A) NARDI-GODFREY/POMPER EMAIL 08/22/2008, B) WILLIAMS-STEVENS EMAIL 08/ 23/2008, C) TRIPOLI 455, D) GODFREY-NARDI/POMPER EMAIL 08/22/2008, E) 07 TR IPOLI 723
CLASSIFIED BY: Chris Stevens, CDA, U.S. Embassy - Tripoli, Dept of State. REASON: 1.4 (b), (c), (d)
1. (S/NF) Summary: Post visited two returned Guantanamo detainees to confirm their welfare and whereabouts and clarify the status of any pending legal action against them. One detainee's trial has reportedly been completed and he understands he has been sentenced to 25 years imprisonment. The trial of the second detainee has begun and several hearings have been held; the next is scheduled for September 3. End summary.
2. (S/NF) Per refs A and B, P/E Chief interviewed separately returned Guantanamo detainees Muhammad Abdallah Mansur al-Rimi (AKA Abdul Salam Abdul Omar Sufrani, ISN 194) and Ben Qumu Abu Sufian Ibrahim Ahmed Hamouda (ISN 557) on September 1. The meeting took place at a GOL security service facility in Tripoli. A host government security official facilitated the meeting; however, no host government officials participated in the meetings with the two returned detainees. The last visit to the two returned detainees took place on June 10, 2008 (ref C). ISN 194
3. (S/NF) Al-Rimi (ISN 194), who was returned to Libya in December 2006, said he remains in detention at the Abu Salim prison, located in the Tripoli suburbs. (Note: Al-Rimi had been detained at an External Security Organization (ESO) detention facility between his return to Libya in December 2006 and June 2007, when he was transferred to Abu Salim. End note.) Al-Rimi said he continues to be held alone in his cell, but he is able to exercise at least once a week for about an hour at a time. He indicated he is able to leave his cell and interact with other prisoners. He is provided with drinking water, tea and three meals a day. He does not have access to books, radio or television. He has access to medications and has been visited by a prison doctor on the occasions when he has been ill. Al-Rimi stated that he had received one family visit - his sisters came to see him in July - since our last meeting with him on June 10. (Note: Our understanding is that members of his family have visited him on four occasions since his return to Libya - January 2007, May 2007 (ref D), March 2008 and July 2008. End note.) Al-Rimi said he would like to receive more family visits, if possible.
4. (S/NF) Asked about the condition of his arm and his teeth, about which he had previously complained (ref E), al-Rimi said both were fine. He noted that he needed dental care for another tooth, which had developed problems after his return to Libya. A dentist recently visited him at Abu Salim prison and told al-Rimi the tooth (a back tooth on the upper row in which al-Rimi has recently experienced pain) should be extracted. Al-Rimi said he instead requested that it be "cleaned and repaired", but the dentist said the tooth was not salvageable. According to al-Rimi, the dentist is to visit him again soon to discuss how to proceed.
5. (S/NF) In our previous meeting on June 10, al-Rimi said he understood his case was being deliberated at that time by a panel of judges, who were to render a verdict and issue a sentence on/about June 16. Al-Rimi said he was not present when his verdict and sentence were issued, but heard from other prisoners who were present in the courtroom on June 16 in connection with their own cases that he was found guilty of some charges (NFI) and sentenced to 25 years imprisonment. (Note: Per ref C, al-Rimi's understanding was that he faced four charges: 1) membership in the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group; 2) membership in al-Qaeda; 3) forging a passport and travel documents and using them to exit the country, and; 4) failing to secure permission to exit the country when he left to fight in Afghanistan. It is not clear which of those he was convicted of. End note.) Al-Rimi has received no information from Libyan officials about his trial, verdict or sentence. He met with his court-appointed legal counsel on one occasion about two months before his reported conviction and sentencing on June 16, and has not heard from him since. ISN 557
6. (S/NF) Hamouda (ISN 557), who was returned to Libya in August 2007, said he remains in detention at the Abu Salim prison, located in the Tripoli suburbs. (Note: He was detained at an ESO detention facility for about three months after his return and was then transferred to the Abu Salim prison. End note.) He remains in solitary detention, his biggest complaint. He is able to speak through the walls with prisoners in adjacent cells, but is not able to leave his cell and interact with other prisoners and is not able to exercise. Hamouda wants to be able TRIPOLI 00000685 002 OF 002 to leave his cell. (Note: During our previous meeting on June 10, the security official who facilitated the meeting explained that detention protocols for extremists and terrorists mandate that they be held in solitary detention to preclude the possibility that they could recruit other members of the prison population. End note.) Hamouda complained about the lack of sunlight and fresh air. He is provided with drinking water, tea and three meals a day. He does not have access to books, radio or television. He requested that he be provided with pens, paper and books. Hamouda said he not received a family visit since our last meeting with him on June 10, but conceded that he was unsure whether they had tried to do so. (Note: Our understanding is that Hamouda has had two visits by members of his family since his return: his wife and children visited in late December, and his wife and brother-in-law saw him in January. End note.)
7. (S/NF) Hamouda has access to medications and was visited by a prison doctor in March/April, who responded to his complaints of depression and anxiety by prescribing him anti-depressant medication that left him "groggy and tired". He also received a prescription at that time from the Libyan doctor for an indeterminate condition for which he said he had been treated at Guantanamo Bay. He complained that the medication prescribed by the Libyan doctor for the condition was ineffective and asked for Laproxin, which was prescribed for him at Guantanamo Bay and had been effective; however, he has been told that Laproxin is not available in Libya. (Note: Per ref C, Hamouda said on June 10 that he may be seen by a prison doctor if he is ill, but that he had not needed to so since his return. He had no answer when he was asked to explain the contradictory accounts. End note.)
8. (S/NF) Hamouda said his trial had begun and that there had been three hearings to date, which he attended, at a court facility in the Abu Salim prison. His next hearing is scheduled for September 3; it is unclear whether the court will render a verdict at that hearing. He has court-appointed legal counsel, but has not met his lawyer outside of courtroom hearings. His understanding is that he faces three charges: 1) membership in the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group; 2) membership in al-Qaeda, and; 3) that he performed illicit work for a private company in Sudan and Afghanistan. He also faces charges related to a drug trafficking offense for which he was convicted and imprisoned in the early 1990's. He complained that the charges against him are based entirely on hearsay from witnesses whose credibility is suspect, and maintained that he was innocent.
9. (S/NF) Facilitation of access to the detainees under the revised rubric detailed in ref D was quick and straightforward. Post submitted a diplomatic note on August 24 formally requesting access to the detainees and, despite the beginning of Ramadan and Libya's national day celebrations in the intervening period, access was granted on September 1 (i.e., within a week of the request).
10. (S/NF) Despite several requests for information about the legal basis on which the two returned detainees are being held and the status/schedule of any legal proceedings against them, Post has received no response from the GOL to date. The only information we have is from the two detainees. We pressed the GOL to provide information about the detainees' legal status and the state of play in the legal proceedings against them, stressing that we needed to receive such information directly from the GOL. To date, however, we have not received the requested information from the GOL.