Guantanamo Detainees

As people of faith, we believe in each human being's inherent worth and dignity. This is why IAHR opposes torture, without exception.

Torture is the starkest, brutal assault on human dignity. Indefinite detention without trial is also a profound assault on human dignity and condemned under international law. The international committee of experts set up by the United Nations Convention against Torture to monitor compliance with the Convention considers indefinite detention to be a violation of the Convention.

Please join with us in urging their release, if they are not going to be charged and tried.

Here are two detainees you can write to government officials about.

AHMED ABDUL AZIZ (Mauritania) 

Mauritanian national Ahmed Abdul Aziz (ISN 747) has been imprisoned at Guantanamo without charge or trial since October 2002, despite being approved for transfer in 2009. Like Shaker Aamer, Ahmed Abdul Aziz alleges that, while in U.S. custody at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan and at Guantanamo, he was subjected to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

In 2002, Ahmed was working as an Arabic language teacher in Pakistan when Pakistani intelligence agents seized him during a raid on his home. He was held for about 2 weeks by the Pakistani authorities. Then he was sold for bounty money to the U.S., as were hundreds of other Arab men by Pakistanis and Afghans for $3,000 to $5,000 each.

He was handed over to U.S. custody and sent to Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan. At Bagram, according to his attorney, Ahmed was tortured, including having his hands tied behind his back and then being hung by his wrists until his shoulders were pulled out of their sockets. This dislocated one of his shoulders. Dogs reportedly were also set on him and he was badly bitten. In addition, he was allegedly forced to watch soldiers desecrating the Quran as they played football with it.

In 2002, he was transferred to Guantanamo. According to his attorney, Ahmed has “suffered a catalogue of abuse.” This includes being beaten badly by up to six armored guards known as the Emergency Reaction Force. This dislocated his knee, shoulder, and ankle. His hands were broken. He was kicked and punched in the face. The beating knocked him unconscious slamming him against the edge of a concrete bed.

He was held in isolation for long periods, including more than 12 months during 2008 and 2009. In 2009, a task force established under President Obama approved him for transfer. This decision had unanimous agreement by representatives of the Departments of Defense, Justice, State, and Homeland Security, as well as the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

According to his attorneys, Ahmed was subjected to abusive interrogation procedures at Guantanamo during which he was threatened and told that his wife would be raped.

He was allegedly short-shackled (chained to the floor), denied food and prevented from praying, and subjected to temperature manipulation. That is, he was left in a room almost naked with an air conditioner turned on high. Strobe lights were used to disorient him, and he was subjected to many hours of blasting heavy metal music.

Ahmed Abdul Aziz’s attorneys report that, as a result of his treatment at Guantanamo, he suffers from medical problems. These include stomach ulcers that cause him to vomit blood, rheumatism, arthritis in both legs, the loss of sensation in his thumb for almost 5 years. He has constant migraines that prevent him from eating, and constant pain in his kidneys. In addition, he has back problems resulting from a soldier standing on his back while he was beaten. He has not received adequate medical care. 


Mauritanian national Mohamedou Ould Slahi (ISN 760) has been imprisoned at Guantanamo since 2002, without charge or trial. In 2001, he was seized in Mauritania and sent to Jordan. He was later transferred to U.S. custody at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan and then to Guantanamo.

He alleges that in Jordan, at Bagram and Guantanamo, he was tortured and other subject to other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. At the time of his arrest, the U.S. government believed Slahi was part of al-Qaeda.

U.S. officials initially suspected him of involvement in the failed Los Angeles International Airport bomb plot in December1999. Later they dropped these allegations. Slahi denies them, claiming he severed all ties with al-Qaeda in 1992.

Slahi was selected in 2003 for a 90-day “special interrogation plan” approved by various officials, including then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Under the plan, Slahi was kept in a sealed room without light for one year. He was subjected to fake a rendition. He was put on airplane, taken to a boat and beaten by persons purporting to be Egyptian and Jordanian interrogators. For 70 days, he was deprived of sleep. He was continuously subjected to strobe lights and heavy metal music, and threatened with harm to himself and his family. He had to endure intimidation by dogs, cold temperatures, dousing with cold water, physical assaults, and food deprivation. A delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross twice asked to see him, but was denied access on the grounds of military necessity.

In May 2004, Lt. Col. Stuart Couch, the military lawyer assigned to prosecute Slahi, withdrew from the case when he discovered details of Slahi’s treatment during interrogation. He concluded that Slahi had been tortured.

In April 2010, a U.S. District Court judge found Slahi’s detention was unlawful and ordered his release. The U.S. government appealed this decision and he remains in detention without charge or trial. A redacted form of his journal describing part of his Guantanamo experience was published in January 2015, following protracted litigation, under the title Guantanamo Diary.

Recommended Actions

Urge Members of Congress to oppose any legislation restricting the ability of executive branch officials to transfer Guantanamo detainees that the government does not intend to prosecute.

Please send messages to the officials listed below giving your reasons to end these and similar detentions.

Call for the immediate release or transfer of all Guantanamo detainees whom U.S. authorities have no intention of prosecuting. If immediate repatriation is not possible and legislative barriers to their release remain in place, a safe third-country solution should be found.

The U.S. should not place any conditions on transfers of detainees that would violate international human rights standards. Detainees who are to be prosecuted should be tried in civilian court proceedings that comply with international standards, without resort to the death penalty;

Urge thorough and impartial investigations of these men’s allegations of torture at Bagram and Guantanamo with anyone found responsible for torture or ill-treatment being brought to justice.

Here is what you can do for:

Ahmed Abdul Aziz (ISN 747):

Call for the immediate release or transfer of Ahmed Abdul Aziz, who has been detained without charge at Guantanamo since October 2002. He is detained despite being approved for transfer in 2009.

Express concern about allegations that he has not received adequate medical care for health problems from his reported mistreatment.

Mohamedou Ould Slahi (ISN 760):

Call for the immediate release or transfer of Mohamedou Ould Slahi. He has been detained at Guantanamo without charge or trial since August 5, 2002.

Note that the 2005 Schmidt-Furlow investigation into certain abuse allegations at Guantanamo concluded that threats against him violated the Uniform Code of Military Justice. It also recommended disciplinary action against the chief investigator in his case.

Here is where you can write:

Appeal Mailing Addresses

Name President Barack Obama The Honorable John Kerry The Hon. Eric H. Holder Paul M. Lewis
Title The White House Secretary of State Attorney General Special Envoy
Agency   U. S. Department of State U.S. Department of Justice  OSD Office of Rule of Law and Detainee Policy
Addr1   2201 C Street, NW 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW  U.S. Department of Defense
Addr2       5D414 Pentagon
City, State, Zip Washington, DC 20500 Washington, DC 20520 Washington DC, 20530 Washington, DC 20301
Comment Line (202) 456-1111   (202) 353-1555  

Also, simple messages of concern, without reference to religion or politics, may be sent to detainees at:

Detainee Address Format

Detainee ISN Number
U. S. Naval Base
Guantanamo Bay Cuba
Washington, DC 20355