Deleted:Bensayah Belkacem

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Bensayah Belkacem
JTF-GTMO image of Bensayah Belkacem
Occupation clergyman

Bensayah Belkacem is a citizen of Bosnia, currently held in the United States Guantanamo Bay detainment camps, in Cuba.[1] He was born in Algeria, and arrested in his home in Bosnia, on October 8, 2001, shortly after the attacks of September 11, 2001.[2]

Bensayah Belkacem arrived at the Guantanamo detention camps on January 21, 2002, and has been held there for Template:For year month day.[3][4][5] He has been held without trial or charge since.

Belkacem and five other men, charity workers, who were colleagues of his, who were also born in Algeria, were under suspicion of plotting to bomb the American embassy in Bosnia.[6] American intelligence officials had grown alarmed by an increase in the "chatter". After his extrajudicial capture it was reported that a search of his home turned up pro-jihadist material.[7]

Detention in Cuba

Bensayah was one of the first Guantanamo detainees who was able to get a letter out describing the conditions there. In a letter his wife received in June 2002 he said that the detainees no longer had to defecate and urinate into plastic bags. The camp authorities had provided them with toilets.[8]

Writ of habeas corpus

A writ of habeas corpus was submitted on behalf of the Algerian Six, including Bensayah Belkacem.[9] On 12 October 2004 the Department of Defense released 40 pages of unclassified documents related to his Combatant Status Review Tribunal.

Continued detention

On 21 October 2008 US District Court Judge Richard J. Leon ordered the release of five of the Algerians held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but the continued detention of Belkacem.[10][11][12]

Appeal of Judge Leon's ruling

On September 15, 2009 a three judge panel from the DC Circuit Court of Appeals started to review Leon's ruling.[13] The panel ruled that their hearings would be held entirely in-camera.[13]

According to The Blog of Legal Times, a partially declassified brief to the appeal court by Marc Fleming, one of Belkacem's lawyers, of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, had challenged Leon's reasoning because he had relied on “unfinished, conclusory intelligence reports and uncorroborated assertions from anonymous sources.”[13] Fleming's brief had challenged Leon's ruling because he had not required the government to search for exculpatory evidence. Fleming asserted that when the government had conducted its search the classified evidence it provided to him in April 2009 eroded the government's allegations.[citation needed]

On June 28, 2010, the panel reversed Leon's ruling, holding that Belkacem could not be considered a member of al-Qaeda. Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg, writing for the panel, said that the U.S. Government had presented "no direct evidence of actual communication between Bensayah and any al Qaeda member".[14] Ginsburg noted that the Obama administration had backed away from several arguments the Bush administration had made to Leon, including claims he'd communicated with Abu Zubaydah.[15]


  1. OARDEC (2006-05-15). "List of Individuals Detained by the Department of Defense at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba from January 2002 through May 15, 2006". United States Department of Defense. Retrieved 2007-09-29. 
  2. Man linked to Bin Laden arrested in Bosnia, The Guardian, October 8, 2001
  3. JTF-GTMO (2007-03-16). "Measurements of Heights and Weights of Individuals Detained by the Department of Defense at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba". Department of Defense. Retrieved 2008-12-22.  mirror
  4. "Measurements of Heights and Weights of Individuals Detained by the Department of Defense at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (ordered and consolidated version)". Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas, from DoD data. Archived from the original on 2009-12-21. 
  5. Margot Williams (2008-11-03). "Guantanamo Docket: Bensayah Belkacem". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-03-30. 
  6. Bosnia: Algerian Trial Jeopardised, Institute for War and Peace Reporting, December 7, 2001
  7. Terrorist material found in Sarajevo charity raid, The Guardian, February 23, 2002
  8. Michael Elliott (June 16, 2002). "The Next Wave: Dirty-bomb, car-bomb, boat-bomb, bomb plots—meet the new al-Qaeda men, less polished than the 9/11 crew, but any less lethal?". Time magazine. Retrieved 2007-12-19. 
  9. "Lakhdar Boumediene et al. v. George W. Bush: 04-1166 (RJL)". United States Department of Defense. pp. 101 ff.. Retrieved 2007-12-24. 
  10. Richard J. Leon. "Bensayah v. USA". United States Department of Justice. Archived from Judge Leon's order the original on 2009-09-21. 
  11. William Glaberson (2009-11-20). "Judge Declares Five Detainees Held Illegally". New York Times. Archived from the original on 2009-09-21. 
  12. "US judge orders Algerians freed". BBC News. 2008-11-20. Retrieved 2009-09-21. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 "D.C. Circuit Orders Guantanamo Hearing Closed to Public". The Blog of Legal Times. 2009-09-15. 
  14. "Bensayah v. Obama". United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. 2010-06-28. Retrieved 2012-01-09. 
  15. Savage, Charlie. Appeals court sides with detainee. The New York Times, 2010-07-04.

External links