Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed Haza al Darbi, a Saudi citizen and alleged brother-in-law of one of the September 11 hijackers, has been detained at Guantánamo since March 2003.
Al Darbi claims to have suffered humiliating and brutal treatment at the Bagram prison in Afghanistan prior to being transferred to Guantánamo.
- Read all of HRF’s observations of the military commissions proceedings in the case of Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed Haza al Darbi straight from Guantánamo.
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Al Darbi is accused of receiving training and working as a weapons instructor at various al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan in the late 1990s when he allegedly met with Osama bin Laden. The government further alleges that, between 2000 and 2001, al Darbi became involved in a plot to attack vessels in the Strait of Hormuz off the coast of Yemen by traveling to the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan to procure a vessel and global positioning system (GPS) device on behalf of al Qaeda.
Before being transferred to Guantánamo, al Darbi was arrested in Azerbaijan in early 2002 and held in U.S. military custody at the Bagram detention facility in Afghanistan. Al Darbi has provided details of the humiliating and brutal treatment he allegedly received at Bagram in an affidavit and sworn deposition during the 2006 court martial of a Bagram Army soldier who was ultimately acquitted on charges of detainee abuse.
On September 23, 2004, al Darbi was designated an “enemy combatant” at a Combatant Status Review Tribunal (“CSRT”). On December 20, 2007, the Convening Authority swore charges against al Darbi for providing material support to terrorism and conspiring with others to attack civilians, commit murder, destroy property, and hazard a vessel to commit terrorism.
The charges against al Darbi were referred for military commission trial on March 3, 2008, and he was arraigned on March 13, 2008. A military commission hearing for the entry of pleas was held on April 9, 2008.
At the April 9, 2008 hearing, al Darbi refused to accept appointed counsel, name an alternative counsel, represent himself, or be present during the proceedings. After al Darbi was removed from the proceedings, the judge dealt with a number of pre-trial issues, and set a discovery hearing date.
On September 2, 2008, a Motion to Dismiss- Criminal Enterprise, Motion to Dismiss- Ex Post Facto, Motion to Dismiss-Equal Protection, Motion to Dismiss- Common Article 3, and a Government Motion to Compel Presence of the Accused were listed as filed by the Department of Defense.
On October 2, 2008, Judge James L. Pohl denied the defendants’ July 2008 motion to dismiss the charges and specifications based on unlawful influence by the Convening Authority’s Legal Advisor, Brigadier General Thomas Hartmann, or, in the alternative, to disqualify Brig. Gen. Hartmann from further participation in the case.
On April 24, 2009, al Darbi filed a habeas challenge to his trials by military commission in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
On September 23, 2009, a hearing was scheduled to hold oral arguments on the following motions:
- The prosecution’s Motion to Reconsider the Military Judge’s Ruling Excluding Parts 5, 6, and 7 of the Al Qaeda Plan
- Al Darbi’s Motion to Pre-Admit the PBS Documentary, Torturing Democracy and the Documentary, Taxi to the Dark Side
- The prosecution’s Motion for Access to the Accused for Medical and Mental Health Evaluation and for Reciprocal Discovery Concerning Accused’s Physical and Mental Health.
On September 24, 2009 there was a hearing to address outstanding issues regarding discovery, including, but not limited to, production of a defense witness for motions and trial.
But the September hearings simply resulted in the judge granting the government’s request for a third 60-day delay in the proceedings. Then on October 30, 2009, a docketing order filed in the case stated that re-scheduled hearings for December 2009 in al Darbi’s case would cover these motions. However, as of April 2010, these hearings had not yet occurred.
On November 13, 2009, Attorney General Holder and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates announced that certain detainees at Guantánamo would be tried in military commission. On November 25, 2009, charges were dismissed against al Darbi without prejudice, in anticipation of new charges being re-filed against him, according to a statement from the Defense Department. The statement read, “Today, prosecutors in the Office of Military Commissions announced they intend to ask the convening authority to refer new charges under the recently-enacted Military Commissions Act of 2009 against Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed Haza al Darbi, in connection with his alleged involvement in an al Qaeda conspiracy to attack military and commercial shipping in the Port of Aden and the Strait of Hormuz.”
Sign the petition to close Guantánamo and bring an end to the military commissions.