Abdul Bin Mohammed Bin Abess Ourgy
Abdul Bin Mohammed Bin Abess Ourgy is a citizen of Tunisia, held in extrajudicial detention in the United States Guantanamo Bay detainment camps, in Cuba. His Guantanamo Internee Security Number is 502. The Department of Defense reports that Ourgy was born on July 25, 1965, in Tunis, Tunisia.
- 1 Combatant Status Review Tribunal
- 2 Habeas petition
- 3 Administrative Review Board hearing
- 4 References
Combatant Status Review Tribunal
Initially the Bush administration asserted that they could withhold all the protections of the Geneva Conventions to captives from the war on terror. This policy was challenged before the Judicial branch. Critics argued that the USA could not evade its obligation to conduct competent tribunals to determine whether captives are, or are not, entitled to the protections of prisoner of war status.
Subsequently the Department of Defense instituted the Combatant Status Review Tribunals. The Tribunals, however, were not authorized to determine whether the captives were lawful combatants -- rather they were merely empowered to make a recommendation as to whether the captive had previously been correctly determined to match the Bush administration's definition of an enemy combatant.
Summary of Evidence memo
- The detainee was [sic] member of al Qaida:
- The Detainee is a Tunisian national who traveled to Italy then to Afghanistan where he received training at the Durunta military camp.
- Durunta is an Al-Qaida military training camp.
- The Detainee spent twenty-eight days at the camp where he participated in Kalashnikov rifle, pistol, RPG, and grenade training.
- The Detainee fought with Al-Qaida in the mountains of Tora Bora.
- The detainee was [sic] member of al Qaida:
Ourgy chose to participate in his Combatant Status Review Tribunal. On March 3, 2006, in response to a court order from Jed Rakoff the Department of Defense published a nine page summarized transcripts from his Combatant Status Review Tribunal.
Response to the allegations
- Ourgy confirmed that he traveled to Italy, then Afghanistan, where he received training at the Derunta military camp.
- Ourgy disputed that Derunta was an al Qaeda camp.
- Ourgy confirmed that he received military training, for twenty-eight days. But he claimed this camp was small, with limited resources. So he didn't train on the RPG—although he saw one being fired. He acknowledged firing about ten AK-47 rounds, and five or six shots from a pistol.
- Ourgy disputed that he engaged in hostilities.
Ourgy expanded on the explanations he offered while answering the allegations:
- "This training camp is not associated with Al-Qaida. The proof to this is the Taliban shut down all the training camps in Derunta. The training camp I trained in is associated with the Islamic mujahadin. They were against the Taliban and fighting the Russians. They were the ones running this camp and were not associated with anyone. The man running it told me as soon as I got there that they were not associated with anyone or any regime. The Taliban closed these camps so the people training there would have to go and train in camps with Bin Laden and Al-Qaida in Kandahar. I trained in 1997 at the beginning of the Taliban. About the issue with Tora Bora; I did not go there, Tora Bora is a village. The only way for me to go to Pakistan was through that village and the mountains of Tora Bora. There were Arabs in the mountains but I wasn't there. I just walked through there to get to Pakistan. That's it."
Response to Tribunal questions
- Ourgy testified he traveled to Italy in 1989, to find work. He lived in Italy until 1997, when he traveled to Afghanistan.
- Ourgy testified he traveled to Afghanistan in 1997 because he had become a drug addict. Another Tunisian man living in Italy, named Abu Abdullah, encouraged him to start praying, to help him kick his drug habit. After he had been praying, and had been clean of drugs for three months, Abdullah paid for his passage to Afghanistan.
- Ourgy said he still "didn't know anything at that time because of my drug use", when he agreed to travel to Afghanistan.
- Ourgy testified he Abdullah told him he should not return to Tunisia because the government forbids having a beard, the veil, and praying.
- Ourgy testified that another reason he did not return to Tunisia was that: "It would have been a problem for me to stay there for seven years and then go back to Tunisia with no money or nothing."
- Ourgy said he didn't travel directly to Afghanistan. He was met by another Tunisian man, named Saif, and stayed a month in Pakistan, to begin growing a beard, because he was cleanshaven at the time. He then stayed in a house in Afghanistan for another month before he was taken to the Derunta camp.
- Ourgy testified he had never had any military training prior to his stay in Derunta.
- Ourgy testified that Saif told him all Muslims should receive military training.
- When Ourgy was asked if the Taliban approved of his presence he replied: "The Taliban was not the country and couldn't approve or not approve. Afghanistan is a jungle. There is no law or anything."
- Ourgy testified that, following his month of training in Derunta, he wanted to use the return portion of his round-trip ticket, to go back to Italy.
- Ourgy said he was talked out of returning to Italy in Pakistan, by other Tunisians, who convinced him he was at risk of resuming his drug use in Italy. So he stayed in Pakistan.
- Ourgy lived in Pakistan until 2000, working in a Libyan store that sold Arabic items.
- Ourgy returned to Afghanistan in 2000, when he got married, and:
- "When the current President of Pakistan came into power he started rounding up Arabs and returning them to their countries. I was afraid he would turn me over to Tunisia. So I went to Afghanistan because there is no law or anything."
- Ourgy lived in Jalalabad, where he made a living by importing honey, then selling it.
- Ourgy testified that during his stay in Afghanistan the Taliban never harassed him because he was not an Afghan, and they never asked him to do anything for them.
- When asked Ourgy offered this account of his capture:
- Ourgy testified that when Afghanistan's problems with America started he decided he and his wife should return to Pakistan.
- Ourgy's brother-in-law took his wife back to Pakistan, while Ourgy made his way to Pakistan through mountain passes.
- Ourgy said he stayed for ten days in a mountain village, until the headman told him he was concerned the presence of Arabs would lead to the Americans bombing his village.
- Ourgy said he then moved on to the village of Tora Bora, where he stayed for approximately twenty days. When he set off, with other Arabs, to cross the border, they were bombed, he was injured, some men were killed.
Ourgy was asked to give an account of his capture:
- "My wife's brother came to me and said you and my sister should return to Pakistan. I told him to take his sister to Pakistan and then come back and I will give you everything that we have in the house. Then I will go by myself through the mountains. I couldn't go through the main road because I am an Arab. That way, when he entered Pakistan with all these household goods there would be no problem. I would just walk through the mountains. When Jalalabad was captured I heard that a lot of Arabs had been killed there. So everyone escaped. That was during the month of Ramadan. So we went to a village. I stayed there for about ten days when the head of the village came to me. He told us we had to leave because it was possible that the Americans would bomb the village if they knew Arabs were there. So they took us to the village of Tora Bora and we stayed about twenty days. We were told to stay there until they could find an Afghani guide to show us the way. The sixth night a man came and took us. We started walking with this man through the valleys where we were bombed. A lot of people were killed and I was injured. I surrendered the next morning to the Afghans. They took me to Jalalabad and then to Kabul and then to Bagram, and Kandahar to Cuba."
A petition of habeas corpus was filed on behalf of Adel El Ouerghi. Over two hundred captives had habeas corpus petitions filed on their behalf before the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 and the Military Commissions Act of 2006 closed off the captives' access to the US civilian justice system. On June 12, 2008, in its ruling on the Boumediene v. Bush habeas corpus petition, the United States Supreme Court over-rode the Congress and Presidency, and restored the captives' access to habeas corpus.
In September 2007 the Department of Defense published the unclassified dossiers arising from the Combatant Status Review Tribunals of 179 captives. But the Department of Defense withheld the unclassified document Tribunal. The Department of Defense has not offered an explanation why it withheld his documents.
Military Commissions Act
Boumediene v. Bush
On June 12 2008 the United States Supreme Court ruled, in Boumediene v. Bush, that the Military Commissions Act could not remove the right for Guantanamo captives to access the US Federal Court system. And all previous Guantanamo captives' habeas petitions were eligible to be re-instated. The judges considering the captives' habeas petitions would be considering whether the evidence used to compile the allegations the men and boys were enemy combatants justified a classification of "enemy combatant".
Administrative Review Board hearing
Detainees who were determined to have been properly classified as "enemy combatants" were scheduled to have their dossier reviewed at annual Administrative Review Board hearings. The Administrative Review Boards weren't authorized to review whether a detainee qualified for POW status, and they weren't authorized to review whether a detainee should have been classified as an "enemy combatant".
They were authorized to consider whether a detainee should continue to be detained by the United States, because they continued to pose a threat—or whether they could safely be repatriated to the custody of their home country, or whether they could be set free.
First annual Administrative Review Board
The following primary factors favor continued detention
- a. Commitment
- The detainee left Tunisia due to the fact that he was a Muslim extremist.
- While living in Milan, Italy, the detainee lived with Abu Abdullah. They watched videos of the jihad in Bosnia and exchanged propaganda materials.
- Abu Abdullah, a Tunisian, provided the detainee money and a ticket and told the detainee to go to Afghanistan.
- b. Training
- The detainee is a Tunisian national who traveled to Italy, then to Afghanistan where he received training at the Durunta military camp.
- Durunta is an al Qaida military training camp.
- The detainee spent twenty-eight days at the camp where he participated in Kalashnikov rifle, pistol, rocket propelled grenade (RPG), and grenade training.
- c. Connections/Associations
- The detainee spent time with a man associated with an organization whose objective is to overthrow a foreign government and create a purely Islamic state.
- The detainee may have supported a terrorist plot using poisoned gas.
- The detainee was responsible for the finances of the Tunisian Combatant Group.
- The Department of Homeland Security's Terrorist Organization Reference Guide lists the Tunisian Combatant Group as seeking to establish an Islamic regime in Tunisia and targets United States and Western interests. The group is associated with al Qaida.
- Abu Abdullah arranged the detainee's travel and instructed him to meet a man named Saif at the Islamabad Airport. Saif took the detainee to a house in Peshawar, where the detainee lived for about one month with formeeer Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin (HIG) fighters.
- After attending Durunta Camp, Saif took the detainee back to a house in Pakistan, where two Libyans advised the detainee not to go back to Italy.
- The two Libyans had been part of a Libyan Fighting Group operating against the Russians in Afghanistan.
- A senior al Qaida lieutenant said, the detainee may have traveled with the Emir of the Tunisian Group, Abu Dujana al Tunisi, to Tora Bora.
- The detainee identified the location of Nejim al-Jihad, an al Qaida housing compound owned by Usama Bin Laden. [sic]
- d. Intent
- The detainee fought with al Qaida in the mountains of Tora Bora.
- The detainee was identified as Adel Al Tunesi, and explosives trainer for al Qaida.
- e. Other Relevant Data
- The detainee has assaulted the guards by spitting and throwing food on them on seven occasions. He has threatened to hit and kick the guards and participated in a block riot.
The following primary factors favor release or transfer
a. b. c.
Detainee claims that he did not attend a meeting between the Tunisian Combat Group and Usama Bin Laden and had never heard of the Tunisian Combat Group.
Detainee denies that he trained at the Khalden training camp.
Ourgy chose to participate in his Administrative Review Board hearing. On March 3, 2006, in response to a court order from Jed Rakoff the Department of Defense published a Summarized transcripts from his Administrative Review Board.
Response to the factors
- Ourgy denied leaving Tunisia because he was a Muslim extremist. He pointed out that he supported himself in Italy by dealing drugs—something Muslim fundamentalists would never do.
- Ourgy confirmed that Abu Abdullah, the Muslim who had helped him kick his drug habit, by helping him become more religious, had shown him Muslim propaganda videos.
- Ourgy confirmed that Abu Abdullah had paid for his travel to Afghanistan.
- Ourgy confirmed that he received military training at the Derunta camp.
- Ourgy disputed that Derunta was an al Qaeda camp. It was an old, long-standing camp, originally run by the Hezb-I-Islami, during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.
- Ourgy said that, some time after his stay at Derunta Osama bin Laden got the Taliban to shut down all the training camps that were not affiliated with al Qaeda.
- Ourgy said he had no idea who the associate he was accused of having with a man dedicated to over-throwing a foreign government.
- Ourgy denied any association with terrorist plots in general, and poison gas in particular.
- Ourgy denied being the treasurer of the Tunisian Combatant Group. He denied being the treasurer, and he denied having the training and connections necessary to hold that kind of post.
- Ourgy confirmed that he stayed for one month, in Pakistan, in a house with Hezb-I-Islami fighters. He said the Hezb-I-Islami was opposed to the Taliban and al Qaida.
- Ourgy confirmed that the Tunisian Saif brought him back to Pakistan after his month of training in Derunta, where two Libyans convinced him to stay in Pakistan, not return to Italy, where he would be exposed to the temptation to return to drugs.
- Ourgy said he didn't know whether the Libyans had fought against the Russians during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.
- Ourgy said he had not heard the name "Abu Dajana al Tunisian" until he got his copy of the factors memo.
- Ourgy denied ever identifying the location of any property owned by Osama bin Laden because he had never gone to any property owned by Osama bin Laden.
- Ourgy denied engaging in hostilities, in Tora Bora, or elsewhere. He acknowledged passing through a small village named Tora Bora as he tried to exit from Afghanistan.
- Ourgy denied being "Adel al Tunesi" an explosives trainer for al Qaida.
- In response to the allegation that he has assaulted guards Ourgy replied:
- ".the guards are not angels. They make mistakes like I make mistakes. The guard didn't spit at me but he said something, for example, I don't eat meat and they put the meat on the top of [the] vegetables and rice. When you see this, you take it and you throw it This is something very regular between us and the guards."
- In response to the allegation that he went to Afghanistan for training so he could fight in Bosnia, he pointed out that Bosnian civil war ended in 1995, and he didn't travel to Afghanistan for training until 1997.
- Ourgy confirmed that he had never trained at the Khalden training camp.
- list of prisoners (.pdf), US Department of Defense, May 15, 2006
- Guantánamo Prisoners Getting Their Day, but Hardly in Court, New York Times, November 11 2004 - mirror
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- "Annual Administrative Review Boards for Enemy Combatants Held at Guantanamo Attributable to Senior Defense Officials". United States Department of Defense. March 6 2007. http://www.defenselink.mil/transcripts/transcript.aspx?transcriptid=3902. Retrieved 2007-09-22.
- OARDEC (13 October 2004). "Summary of Evidence for Combatant Status Review Tribunal -- Ourgy, Abdul Bin Mohammed Bin Abess". United States Department of Defense. pp. page 29. http://www.dod.mil/pubs/foi/detainees/csrt_arb/000400-000499.pdf#29. Retrieved 2008-03-01.
- OARDEC (date redacted). "Summarized Statement". United States Department of Defense. pp. pages 34-42. http://www.defenselink.mil/pubs/foi/detainees/csrt/Set_24_1790-1831.pdf#34. Retrieved 2008-03-15.
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- Michael A. Cooper (2008-07-09). "Guantanamo Bay Detainee Litigation: Doc 22 -- POST-CONFERENCE SUBMISSION ON BEHALF OF PETITIONER EL OUERGHI" (PDF). United States Department of Justice. http://docs.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/district-of-columbia/dcdce/1:2008mc00442/131990/22/0.pdf. Retrieved 2008-08-31. mirror
- OARDEC (August 8, 2007). "Index for CSRT Records Publicly Files in Guantanamo Detainee Cases" (PDF). United States Department of Defense. http://www.dod.mil/pubs/foi/detainees/csrt_arb/index_publicly_filed_CSRT_records.pdf. Retrieved 2007-09-29.
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- Noah H. Rashkind (2008-07-17). "Guantanamo Bay Detainee Litigation: Doc 70 -- STATUS REPORT FOR THE CASE OF ADEL AL WIRGHI (ISN 502)". United States Department of Justice. http://docs.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/district-of-columbia/dcdce/1:2008mc00442/131990/70/0.pdf. Retrieved 2008-11-26.
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- OARDEC (22 April 2005). "Unclassified Summary of Evidence for Administrative Review Board in the case of Ourgy, Abdul Bin Mohammed Bin Abess". United States Department of Defense. pp. pages 48-50. http://www.dod.mil/pubs/foi/detainees/csrt_arb/ARB_Round_1_Factors_001046-001160.pdf#48. Retrieved 2008-03-15.
- OARDEC (date redacted). "Summary of Administrative Review Board Proceedings of ISN 502". United States Department of Defense. pp. pages 140-149. http://www.dod.mil/pubs/foi/detainees/csrt_arb/ARB_Transcript_Set_1_395-584.pdf#140. Retrieved 2008-03-15.