Cablegate: Libya: Follow-Up On Access to Returned Gtmo Detainees
DE RUEHTRO #1039/01 3471650
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 131650Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2929
INFO RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDHP/DIA DHP-1 WASHINGTON DC
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI 3365
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 TRIPOLI 001039
DEPT FOR NEA/MAG (JOHNSON, NARDI) AND S/WCI (GOREY, SHIN)
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/13/2017
TAGS: KDRG PTER PREL PHUM PINR PINS LY
SUBJECT: LIBYA: FOLLOW-UP ON ACCESS TO RETURNED GTMO DETAINEES REF: A) STATE 165729, B) STATE 127608, C) TRIPOLI 723, D) TRIPOLI 797 CLASSIFIED BY: Chris Stevens, DCM, Embassy Tripoli, Department of State. REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)
1.(S/NF) Summary: Interlocutors at the MFA and quasi-governmental Qadhafi Development Foundation acknowledged to DCM and P/E Chief the GOL's commitment to provide Embassy access to returned Guantanamo Bay detainees. Attributing previous delays to bureaucratic snags vice political opposition, they agreed to quickly facilitate a follow-up visit with ISN 194 to determine the nature and extent of injuries that came to light in a previous visit with him. They also agreed to arrange a first whereabouts and welfare visit with ISN 557. The tone was positive, and the desire to achieve positive movement before FM Shalgham's upcoming visit to Washington may help prompt quick action. End summary.
2.(S/NF) DCM and P/E Chief met separately with MFA Americas Desk Officer Ahmed Aoun and Qadhafi Development Foundation (QDF) Executive Director Dr. Yusuf Sawani on December 13 to deliver ref A points. Aoun took on board the point that consideration of further involuntary transfers and the GOL's request for access to all Libyan citizens remaining in Guantanamo Bay would be viewed in light of whether we are/are not able to secure timely access to Muhammad Abdallah Mansur al-Rimi (ISN 194) and Ben Qumu Abu Sufian Ibrahim Ahmed Hamouda (ISN 557). Underscoring that the MFA well understands the sensitivities involved, he attributed the GOL's failure to arrange a follow-up visit with ISN 194 per ref B to bureaucratic ineptitude rather than a deliberate unwillingness to facilitate access under the terms of the Watchdog Committee MOU.
3.(S/NF) Aoun conceded that delays in making good on previous commitments to arrange visits had created concerns about the transparency of the process and the GOL's credibility. He noted that MFA Secretary for the Americas (U/S-equivalent) Dr. Ahmed Fituri had contacted security officials regarding the U.S. request for a second visit with ISN 194 to clarify the nature and extent of his injuries (ref B). According to Aoun, the security officials who have physical custody of al-Rimi had no problem facilitating access. He implied, but did not state, that the QDF, which has been delegated authority by the MFA to coordinate Watchdog Committee activities, had not reached out to those security officials to arrange the visit. Stressing that the MFA "wants to help", he said he would follow up with the QDF to urge that visits with al-Rimi and Hamouda occur quickly.
4.(S/NF) In a subsequent meeting, the QDF's Dr. Sawani characterized access to the returned detainees as "a straightforward matter" and said he was "sure" visits with al-Rimi and Hamouda could be quickly arranged. He attributed previous delays in granting a follow-up visit with al-Rimi to feckless GOL employees, whom he claimed are so poorly paid that they have no incentive to carry out their instructions. (Note: Implying that they had actually been instructed to arrange a follow-up visit. End note.) Sawani noted that the QDF employee who liaises with security officials on detainee access is due back from leave in a few days, and said he would follow up with that individual immediately thereafter to ensure that meetings with al-Rimi and Hamouda were quickly arranged. Like Aoun, he understood that it would be better if the visits occurred before FM Shalgham's visit to Washington on January 3.(Note: The "Yom al-Arafa" and Eid al-Adha holidays fall on December 18-20, followed by the local weekend December 21-22, potentially complicating the requested visits).
5.(S/NF) Claiming there had been "no problem" scheduling the first visit with al-Rimi in August (ref C), he echoed Aoun's statement that subsequent delays in granting a follow-up visit were occasioned by bureaucratic indifference, not political intransigence. (Note: Visiting al-Rimi in mid-August was not as easy as Sawani claimed. As noted ref C, it required two and a half months of negotiation and ultimately, in Post's view, occurred because the GOL wanted to avoid having visiting NEA A/S David Welch raise the issue in his meetings with GOL officials. End note.)
6.(S/NF) Sawani also claimed that he passed copies of a written statement by al-Rimi describing the nature and extent of his arm and tooth injuries after the meeting detailed in ref D. P/E Chief noted that while Sawani had mentioned that al-Rimi would be willing to provide a signed, written statement to the effect that he sustained injury to his arm during his time in U.S. custody, we had not received anything. Expressing surprise, TRIPOLI 00001039 002 OF 002 Sawani said al-Rimi had indicated in his statement that his arm was injured during his U.S. detention, and that problems with his teeth pre-dated his capture. Sawani said he would forward a copy of the statement to the Embassy. Per agreement with Aoun, we called him after the meeting with Sawani to give him a brief readout. He indicated he would reach out separately to Sawani to urge him to move quickly on our request.
7.(S/NF) Comment: Both interlocutors said the right things, but we've been here before. As in August in the run-up to NEA A/S Welch's visit, the upcoming visit to Washington of FM Shalgham may help prompt quick action by the GOL. End comment. MILAM 0 12/13/2007 5645 KDRG,PTER,PREL,PHUM,PINR,PINS,LY LIBYA: FOLLOW-UP ON ACCESS TO RETURNED GTMO DETAINEES Interlocutors at the MFA and quasi-governmental Qadhafi Development Foundation acknowledged to DCM and P/E Chief the GOL's commitment to provide Embassy access to returned Guantanamo Bay detainees. Attributing previous delays to bureaucratic snags vice political opposition, they agreed to quickly facilitate a follow-up visit with ISN 194 to determine the nature and extent of injuries that came to light in a previous visit with him. They also agreed to arrange a first whereabouts and welfare visit with ISN 557. The tone was positive, and the desire to achieve positive movement before FM Shalgham's upcoming visit to Washington may help prompt quick action.