Fahmi Salem Said Al Sani

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Fahmi Salem Said Al Sani
Citizenship Yemen

Fahmi Salem Said Al Sani is a citizen of Yemen currently held in the Guantanamo Bay detention camps, in Cuba after being classified as an enemy combatant by the United States's.[1] The Department of Defense reports that he was born on May 17, 1977, in Mikala, Yemen and assigned him the Internment Serial Number 554.

Fahmi Salem Said al Sani arrived at the Guantanamo detention camps on February 15, 2002.[2][3][4]


According to Andy Worthington, author of The Guantanamo Files, al Asani was present at Tora Bora, Osama bin Ladens final hideout in Afghanistan, in the fall of 2001.[5] In June 2012 Worthington described Al Sani as one of the captives who remains in Guantanamo, even though he has been cleared for release in 2007.[6] Al Asani was one of the first captives to have his habeas corpus petition turned down, in February 2010.[7]

In December 2010 Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a would-be Nigerian suicide-bomber, succeeded in boarding a flight to the USA, with his bomb.[8][9][10] Abdulmutallab had been trained and equipped for his bomb-run in Yemen. In reaction the Obama administration froze all transfers of captives from Yemen.

Official status reviews

Originally it was the position of the George W. Bush Presidency that captives were not covered by the Geneva Conventions, but could nevertheless be held indefinitely, without charge. In 2004, in Rasul v. Bush, the United States Supreme Court ruled that captives had to be given an opportunity to learn why they were being held.

OARDEC reviews

Following the Rasul v. Bush ruling the Department of Defense established the Office for the Administrative Review of Detained Enemy Combatants (OARDEC).[4] Al Asani status was reviewed during a 2004 Combatant Status Review Tribunal in 2004, and three subsequent annual Annual Review Board hearings in 2005, 2006, 2007. He would have had an annual review in 2008 -- except his 2007 review had already recommended he be released.

Scholars at the Brookings Institute, lead by Benjamin Wittes, listed the captives still held in Guantanamo in December 2008, according to whether their detention was justified by certain common allegations:

  • al Asani was listed as one of the captives who was alleged to have been associated with both the Taliban and al Qaeda.[10]
  • al Asani was listed as one of the captives who was alleged to have travelled to Afghanistan for jihad.[10]
  • al Asani was listed as one of the captives who was alleged to have stayed in Taliban, al Qaeda, or other guesthouses in Afghanistan.[10]
  • al Asani was listed as one of the captives who was alleged to have taken military or terrorist training in Afghanistan]].[10]
  • al Asani was listed as one of the captives who was alleged to have been present at Tora Bora.[10]
  • al Asani was listed as one of the captives who was alleged to have had his names or aliases were found on material seized in raids on Al Qaeda safehouses and facilities.[10]
  • al Asani was listed as one of the captives who was alleged to have been a foreign fighter.[10]
  • al Asani was listed as one of the 34 captives who admitted “to some lesser measure of affiliation—like staying in Taliban or Al Qaeda guesthouses or spending time at one of their training camps.”[10]

According to Wittes and his colleagues al Asani was one of the captives who had admitted to “some link with the Taliban or Al Qaeda that is not trivial but is not, in our judgment, sufficient for a CSRT panel to conclude that the detainee is either a member of or an operative on behalf of an enemy force.” He was one of five captives who admitted to a short period of training at an al Qaeda camp “but not to any other activity on Al Qaeda’s behalf.”

Wittes and his colleagues quoted the explanation al Asani offered for traveling to Afghanistan.[10] “I felt it was important in coming of age. I went to Afghanistan for weapons training, not to fight anyone.”

Formerly secret JTF-GTMO assessment

On April 25, 2011 the whistleblower organization WikiLeaks published formerly secret assessments drafted by Joint Task Force Guantanamo [11][12]

Criminal Investigative Task Force review

Al Asani's Joint Task Force Guantanamo review referred to separate reviews conducted by the Criminal Investigative Task Force.[12] Those reviews remains secret.

Writ of habeas corpus

A habeas corpus petition was initiated in 2005.[13]

Al Asanis habeas petition was amalgamated with several other mens. By the time the Supreme court restored access to habeas to the Guantanamo captives, in its ruling in Boumediene v. Bush on June 20, 2008, all but one of those other men, Suleiman Awadh Bin Agil al Nahdi, had been transferred from Guantanamo. Al Nahdi had also been cleared for release by his 2007 annual status review.[14][15]

Both al Asani and al Nahdi filed appeals of Justice Gladys Kesslers ruling.[16][17] In commenting on the two men giving up their appeals Benjamin Wittes, a senior scholar at the Brookings Institute, noted that the press was focussing on how many of the habeas appeals had been endorsed by the United States District Court Judges who heard them, while ignoring how the more conservative DC Circuit Court of Appeals had overturned or remanded those rulings every time they had been appealed before it. Wittes noted al Asani and al Nahdi

“gave up their appeals entirely—thus acknowledging not merely that the law as developed by the D.C. Circuit makes their cases “hopeless” but that there is insufficient prospect of getting that law altered from on high to even ask the Supreme Court to consider the matter. I think that reflects an altogether rational assessment of where things stand. While the press has focused on the habeas “scorecard” and reported that the government is losing lots of cases, the D.C. Circuit has quietly reoriented the law so fundamentally that detainees are not even pursuing their appeals to the end. It’s quite a change.”


  1. "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. http://www.dod.mil/news/May2006/d20060515%20List.pdf. Retrieved 2006-05-15.  mirror
  2. 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. http://www.dod.mil/pubs/foi/detainees/measurements/. Retrieved 2008-12-22.  mirror
  3. "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. http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Fhumanrights.ucdavis.edu%2Fresources%2Flibrary%2Fdocuments-and-reports%2Fgtmo_heightsweights.pdf&date=2009-12-21. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Margot Williams (2008-11-03). "Guantanamo Docket: Fahmi Salem Said al Sani". New York Times. http://projects.nytimes.com/guantanamo/detainees/554-fahmi-salem-said-al-sani/documents/5. Retrieved 2012-07-01. 
  5. Andy Worthington (2007). The Guantanamo Files. Pluto Press. pp. 29-30. ISBN 978 0 7453 2664 1. 
  6. Andy Worthington (2012-06-06). "Guantánamo Scandal: The 40 Prisoners Still Held But Cleared for Release At Least Five Years Ago". http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/2012/06/06/exclusive-guantanamo-scandal-the-40-prisoners-still-held-but-cleared-for-release-at-least-five-years-ago/. Retrieved 2012-07-01. "ISN 554 Fehmi Al Assani (Yemen) In the classified US military files relating to the Guantánamo prisoners, which were released by WikiLeaks in April 2011, al-Assani’s file was a “Recommendation to Retain under DoD Control (DoD),” dated October 22, 2004. However, a transfer recommendation was made after his Administrative Review Board Round Three, on July 30, 2007 (PDF, p. 338), although he then had his habeas corpus petition denied, in February 2010." 
  7. Carol Rosenberg (2011-06-28). "Who's still being held at Guantánamo". Miami Herald. http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/04/29/2192896_p3/who-is-still-at-guantanamo.html. Retrieved 2012-07-01. "ISN 554 Fahmi Salem Said Al Asani, Yemeni. A federal judge upheld his indefinite detention as Feb. 24, 2010, denying his habeas corpus petition."  mirror
  8. Andy Worthington (2011-05-11). "Abandoned in Guantanamo: WikiLeaks Reveals the Yemenis Cleared for Release for Up to Seven Years". Truthout. http://truth-out.org/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=1024:abandoned-in-guantanamo-wikileaks-reveals-the-yemenis-cleared-for-release-for-up-to-seven-years. Retrieved 2012-07-01. 
  9. Andy Worthington (2011-05-13). "WikiLeaks Reveals Yemenis Cleared For Guantanamo Release Up To Seven Years – OpEd". Eurasia Review. http://www.eurasiareview.com/13052011-wikileaks-reveals-yemenis-cleared-for-guantanamo-release-up-to-seven-years-oped/. Retrieved 2012-07-01.  mirror
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 10.7 10.8 10.9 Benjamin Wittes, Zaathira Wyne (2008-12-16). "The Current Detainee Population of Guantánamo: An Empirical Study". The Brookings Institute. pp. 23, 31, 33, 34, 36, 38, 39, 40, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46. http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/research/files/reports/2008/12/16%20detainees%20wittes/1216_detainees_wittes.pdf. Retrieved 2010-02-16. "Al Sani said he traveled to Afghanistan shortly before September 11 and trained on a Kalashnikov. “I felt it was important in coming of age,” he said. “I went to Afghanistan for weapons training, not to fight anyone.”"  mirror
  11. . 
  12. 12.0 12.1 Jay W. Hood (2004-10-22). "Recommendation to Retain under DoD Control (DoD) for Guantanamo Detainee, ISN: US9YM-000554DP(S)". Joint Task Force Guantanamo. http://media.mcclatchydc.com/smedia/2011/04/28/06/us9ym-000554dp.source.prod_affiliate.91.pdf. Retrieved 2012-07-01.  mirror
  13. "Fahmi Salem Said AL Sani v. George W. Bush". Department of Defense. 2004, 2005. p. 48-67. http://www.dod.mil/pubs/foi/operation_and_plans/Detainee/csrt_arb/publicly_filed_CSRT_records_2737-2868.pdf#page=48. Retrieved 2012-07-01.  mirror
  14. Carol Rosenberg, Mark Seibel (2010-02-24). "Judge rules against 2 at Guantanamo that Bush panel cleared for release". McClatchy News Service. http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/02/24/88164/judge-rules-pentagon-can-keep.html. Retrieved 2012-07-01. "One of the Yemenis' volunteer attorneys, Brian Spahn, said by telephone from Washington that Judge Kessler’s decision in the case of the two Yemenis was “frustrating to say the least,” especially since both men had earlier been told they were cleared to return home."  mirror
  15. "al Adani v. Barack Obama". Department of Justice. 2010-02. http://media.miamiherald.com/smedia/2010/03/16/11/assanihabeasdenailc.source.prod_affiliate.56.pdf. Retrieved 2012-07-01.  mirror
  16. Benjamin Wittes (2011-06-02). "Two Guantanamo Detainees Drop Appeals". Lawfare. http://www.lawfareblog.com/2011/06/two-guantanamo-detainees-drop-appeals/. Retrieved 2012-07-01. 
  17. Benjamin Wittes (2011-06-07). "GTMO Habeas Numbers Update". Lawfare. http://www.lawfareblog.com/2011/06/gtmo-habeas-numbers-update-2/. Retrieved 2012-07-11. 

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