Mustaq Ali Patel

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Mustaq Ali Patel
Other names
  • Haji Muhammed,
  • Hazi Ahmed
  • Mohammed Haji
  • Mohammed Ibn Ismael Al-Akram
Citizenship France

Mustaq Ali Patel is a citizen of France, who was held in extrajudicial detention in the United States Guantanamo Bay detainment camps, in Cuba from June 2002 to March 2005.[1] His detainee ID number is 649. He was repatriated to France, where, unlike the other six former French Guantanamo captives, was accepted to have "had no link to Islamic extremism."[2]


American intelligence officials assessed Patel to be delusional. Their formerly secret assessment contained two incompatible histories of his life, and they could not decide which elements were true.

American security officials were unable to decide whether he was born in 1961 or 1962, or whether he was born in Medina, Saudi Arabia, or in Shepura [sic], India. Initially Guantanamo authorities believed Patel was a citizen of Saudi Arabia, born in Medina, in 1962. Visiting Saudi security officials informed them that he was not a Saudi. Patel had also informed them that he was not a Saudi, that he only confessed to being a Saudi citizen under torture. Patel said he was initially in private custody, prior to being sold for a bounty to American forces, and it was here that he was first tortured into the false confession that he was a Saudi.

According to press reports Patel was part of a delegation of muslims from India and Pakistan who travelled to the French protectorate of Mauritius and La Reunion in 1984.[3] He is reported to have served as an imam there, to have married a young muslim woman from Reunion, in 1986, thus acquiring French citizenship. By 1991 Patel had become more religious, dissatisfied with the muslim community there, and his in-laws and the muslim community there paid his way to return to India. His ex-wife and children assert they had not seen or heard from him since 1991.

After leaving Reunion press reports and the military reports have him spending years serving as a small trader.[4] Press reports place him in Zahedan, Iran, a city near the border with Afghanistan. Military reports stated he served as trader in used auto parts in Kandahar, the Taliban's homeland. Military reports state Patel was captured on the border of Iran and Afghanistan's Herat Province, trying to escape Afghanistan, in October 2001. Press accounts and Patel's own testimony have him captured on that border trying to enter Afghanistan.

Journalist and historian Andy Worthington, the author of The Guantanamo Files, described Patel as being in fragile health throughout his stay in Guantanamo.[5]

Patel, Khaled Ben Mustapha, and Ridouane Khalid were the last French citizens held at the base.[6][7][8] Mustapha and Khalid were placed under formal investigation by a judge in Paris upon their return but Patel was not prosecuted and was released 48 hours after his arrival in France.[9][9]

Patel was born in India, around 1965, presumably the Western province of Gujarat, but has French nationality through his marriage to a Creole woman, Benedicte Acapandie, from Réunion.[10] He was reported to have been an imam at a French mosque on the Indian Ocean island before going to Afghanistan. Some news reports also question his state of mental health at the time of his arrest by U.S. forces in 2001.[citation needed]


Patel was named inconsistently on official documents Department of Defense published:

  • He was listed as Mustaq Ali Patel on the list published on April 20, 2006.[11]
  • He was listed as Haji Muhammed on the list published on May 15, 2006.[1]
  • He was listed as Hazi Ahmed on a list published on April 17, 2007.[12]
  • He was listed as Mohammed Haji on his formerly secret Joint Task Force Guantanamo assessment of March 27, 2004.[13] It list both Mustaq Ali Patel and Mohammed Ibn Ismael Al-Akram as aliases. It listed 1961 as his year of birth, not 1962.

Official status reviews

Originally the Bush Presidency asserted that captives apprehended during the "global war on terror" were not protected by the Geneva Conventions. They asserted these individuals could be held indefinitely, without being charged, or even being told why they were being held. However, in 2004, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Rasul v. Bush that the captives had to be informed why they were being held and had to be given an opportunity to try to refute those allegations.

Office for the Administrative Review of Detained Enemy Combatants

Following the Supreme Court's ruling in Rasul v. Bush the Department of Defense set up the Office for the Administrative Review of Detained Enemy Combatants. Its mandate was to conduct annual reviews where the captives would be informed of the allegations offered to justify their continued detention.

Patel faced N allegations during his 2004 Combatant Status Review Tribunal.[14][14]

A: The detainee is associated with al Qaida.
  1. The Detainee traveled to Afghanistan after 11 September 2001.
  2. The Detainee provided false identification upon his capture.
  3. A visiting delegation from Saudi Arabia verified that the Detainee was not of the Saudi Nationality.
  4. The Detainee even changed his story after his capture.
  5. The Detainee was apprehended in Afghanistan.

Patel told his Tribunal he was beaten by his initial captors to force him to falsely claim to be a Saudi. He claimed he had been beaten so badly that his memory and cognitive abilities had never recovered.

Determined not to have been an Enemy Combatant

The Washington Post reports that Patel was one of 38 detainees who was determined not to have been an enemy combatant during his Combatant Status Review Tribunal.[15][16] They report that Patel has been released. The Department of Defense refers to these men as No Longer Enemy Combatants.

Habeas corpus petition -- Ahmed v. Bush

A writ of habeas corpus, Ahmed v. Bush (05-cv-0665), was filed on his behalf.[12] On that habeas corpus petition he was identified as "Hazi Ahmed".

In September 2007 the United States Department of Defense published 179 dossiers in response to captives' habeas petitions.[17] But they did not publish his.

Formerly secret Joint Task Force Guantanamo assessment

On April 25, 2011, whistleblower organization WikiLeaks published formerly secret assessments drafted by Joint Task Force Guantanamo analysts.[18][19]Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many Patel's assessment was dated March 27, 2004, and recommended his transfer from Guantanamo.[13] His assessment was three pages long, and was signed by camp commandant Jay W. Hood. Unusually the three page assessment signed by Hood was followed by a two page mental health assessment.

The two assessments described Patel as having offered two conflicting accounts of himself -- that he was an orphan, born in Saudi Arabia, and that he was a citizen of France, born in India.

He was described as having gained French citizenship by marrying woman from Mautitius -- a French protectorate.

The mental health assessment described Patel as delusional. It described Patel as having a low IQ. It described Patel as being difficult to diagnoze, as having had a series of diagnoses, but, nevertheless as having a poor prognosis. It said his lack of intelligence, ambition, skills, and suicidal ideation made it unlikely he would pose a risk to the USA after release. It said he would need on-going mental heath care.


  1. 1.0 1.1 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. "Six Guantanamo captives on trial". The Nation. 2006-07-04. p. 1.,1343571&dq=mushtak-ali-patel+. Retrieved 2012-07-22. "A total of seven French citizens were held at Guantanamo, and all have been sent back to France. One was freed immediately with no charges filed. French judicial officials have said that Mustaq Ali Patel, who has joint French and Indian nationality, had no link to Islamic extremism." 
  3. "Gitmo Inmates' Families Protest Detention". Fox News. 2005-02-24. Archived from the original on 2012-07-22. "Mustaq Ali Patel is one of the last three French detainees being held at Guantanamo Bay (search), Cuba, and his family members say they can't figure out why he's there in the first place." 
  4. Patricia Tourancheau (2005-05-02). "Mushtaq Ali Patel: 'I Was in Some Kind of Cage'". cageprisoners. Archived from the original on 2012-07-22. 
  5. Andy Worthington (2011-09-11). "WikiLeaks and the Guantánamo Prisoners Released After the Tribunals, 2004 to 2005 (Part Four of Five)". Archived from the original on 2012-07-22. "In that report, I noted how he had been chronically underweight throughout his detention, weighing just 89 pounds on arrival, and dropping to 76 pounds in November 2002, which was more or less where his weight remained for an alarmingly long period of his imprisonment." 
  6. "Last Guantanamo Frenchmen go home". BBC News. 2005-03-08. Archived from the original on 2012-07-22. Retrieved 2012-07-22. "Mr Patel, born in India, was a preacher at a Paris mosque before he moved to Afghanistan." 
  7. "“Just visiting” Afghanistan, Indian-origin Gitmo prisoner said". The Hindu. 2011-05-11. Archived from the original on 2012-07-22. Retrieved 2012-07-22. "The assessment report noted that he had “multiple psychiatric diagnoses including depression and schizotypal personality disorder, but was otherwise in good physical health.” It concluded that Haji “should he held in continued detention in another country until his true name and extremist affiliations have been determined.”" 
  8. "French appeals court frees former Guantanamo inmates". Reuters. 2009-02-24. Archived from the original on 2012-07-22. "With the ruling, all seven French citizens once held at Guantanamo have been released. Former inmate Imad Achab-Kanouni was freed after a trial in France, while another former prisoner, Mustaq Ali-Patel, was not prosecuted upon his return." 
  9. 9.0 9.1 "French Guantanamo inmates returned". Al Jazeera. 2005-03-08. Archived from the original on 2012-07-22. Retrieved 2012-07-22. "The last three French detainees at the US naval base prison at Guantanamo Bay have been returned to France but were immediately detained as part of a security investigation." 
  10. Al Jazeera: French judge detains pair freed by US
  11. OARDEC (2006-04-20). "List of detainees who went through complete CSRT process" (PDF). United States Department of Defense. Retrieved 2008-07-26. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Exhibit C: List of No Longer Enemy Combant Detainees With Pending Habeas Corpus Petitions Who Have Been Released From United States Custody" (PDF). United States Department of Justice. April 17 2007. p. page 64. Retrieved 2008-05-05. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 Jay W. Hood (2004-03-27). "Recommendation for Transfer out of DoD Control (TRO) for Guantanamo Detainee, ISN US9SA000649DP". Joint Task Force Guantanamo. Retrieved 2012-07-22.  16x16px Media related to File:ISN 00649, Mohammed Haji's Guantanamo detainee assessment.pdf at Wikimedia Commons
  14. 14.0 14.1 OARDEC (3 December 2004). "Summary of Evidence for Combatant Status Review Tribunal -- Patel, Mustaq Ali (Al Akram, Muhammad Ibn Ismail)". United States Department of Defense. p. page 15. Retrieved 2008-07-14. 
  15. Guantanamo Bay Detainees Classifed as "No Longer Enemy Combatants", Washington Post
  16. "Detainees Found to No Longer Meet the Definition of "Enemy Combatant" during Combatant Status Review Tribunals Held at Guantanamo" (PDF). United States Department of Defense. November 19, 2007. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  17. OARDEC (August 8 2007). "Index for CSRT Records Publicly Files in Guantanamo Detainee Cases" (PDF). United States Department of Defense. Retrieved 2007-09-29. 
  18. Christopher Hope, Robert Winnett, Holly Watt, Heidi Blake (2011-04-27). "WikiLeaks: Guantanamo Bay terrorist secrets revealed -- Guantanamo Bay has been used to incarcerate dozens of terrorists who have admitted plotting terrifying attacks against the West – while imprisoning more than 150 totally innocent people, top-secret files disclose". The Telegraph (UK). Archived from the original on 2012-07-13. Retrieved 2012-07-13. "The Daily Telegraph, along with other newspapers including The Washington Post, today exposes America’s own analysis of almost ten years of controversial interrogations on the world’s most dangerous terrorists. This newspaper has been shown thousands of pages of top-secret files obtained by the WikiLeaks website." 
  19. "WikiLeaks: The Guantánamo files database". The Telegraph (UK). 2011-04-27. Retrieved 2012-07-10.