Saleh Mohamed Al Zuba

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Saleh Mohamed Al Zuba

Former Guantanamo captive Saleh al-Zuba, in Yemen.
Born 1955 (age 68–69) ?
Citizenship Yemen

Saleh Mohamed Al Zuba is a citizen of Yemen who was held in extrajudicial detention in the United States Guantanamo Bay detainment camps, in Cuba.[1] Al Zuba's Guantanamo Internment Serial Number was 503. American intelligence analysts estimate that Al Zuba was born in 1955, in Sana'a, Yemen.

Al Zuba is one of the fourteen Yemeni captives who has been repatriated from Guantanamo.[2][3] During an interview with Michelle Shephard of the Toronto Star he said he was over sixty years old. He said his only association with Afghanistan was to request an Afghan charity to sponsor angioplasty in Pakistan.

Combatant Status Review Tribunal

Combatant Status Review Tribunals were held in a 3x5 trailer where the captive sat with his hands and feet shackled to a bolt in the floor.[4][5] Three chairs were reserved for members of the press, but only 37 of the 574 Tribunals were observed.[6]

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 a 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

A Summary of Evidence memo was prepared for Al Zuba, Saleh Mohamed Al Zuba's Combatant Status Review Tribunal in 2004.[7] The memo listed five allegations, including that he attended al Farouq training camp, and was present in the general Jalalabad/Tora Bora region at the same time as Usama bin Laden, where he was captured while in possession of an AK-47. He was alleged to have acknowledged attending a speech Usama bin Laden gave, near Jalalabad, on November 14, 2001.

The factors for and against continuing to detain Al Zuba were among the 121 that the Department of Defense released on March 3, 2006.[8]

The following primary factors favor continued detention

a. Al Zuba is associated with Al Qaida.
  1. Al Zuba admits to being in Tora Bora while Usama Bin Laden (UBL) was present.
  2. Al Zuba admits being at Al Farouq training camp.
  3. Al Zuba was present at a speech by Usama Bin Laden on 14 November 2001, in a camp near Jalalabad, Afghanistan.
b. Al Zuba engaged in hostilities against the US or its coalition partners.
  1. Al Zuba participated in the battle for Tora Bora.
  2. Al Zuba was captured while in possession of an AK-47.
c. Detainee is connected with Al Qaida.
  1. Detainee's name or alias was listed on a chart of captured Mujahidin found on a hard drive associated with Khalid Shaykh Muhammad.
d. Detainee's Conduct: Al Zuba has a history of noncompliance. Although Al Zuba's reported occurrences have typically been refusal of meds and meals, he has also had incidents requiring physical restraint by guards and appears to be a leader on the blocks.
e. Based upon a review of recommendations from U.S. agencies and classified and unclassified documents, Al Zuba is regarded as a continued threat to the United States and its allies.

The following primary factors favor release or transfer

a. Medical Status:
  1. Doctor DAIF ALLAH JAYEED, in Sept. 2001, informed Al Zuba that he should travel to Karachi, Pakistan in order to have a procedure performed which would clean out his arteries thus allowing more blood to flow to his heart. JAYEED informed Al Zuba that the medical procedure was cheaper to have done in Pakistan and would have a greater chance of success than if it was done in Yemen.
  2. Al Zuba was told that he did not have enough money for the operation, but that he could either return to Yemen or travel to Afghanistan to obtain additional money from a charity foundation to cover the cost of the operation.
  3. Al Zuba has known coronary artery disease with symptoms for 8-10 years. He had a catheterization in Yemen, but "not successful". He had stents place in two vessels in March 2003; he had an occluded, non-operable right coronary artery. Since then has had some episodes of chest pain, but no myocardial infarction. Al Zuba has a history of hypercholesterolemia and hypertension, als with H. pylori and history of epigastric pain.

2005 Status determination

Al Zuba's review convened on December 16, 2004—one of the first reviews to take place.[9][10] Four pages of decision memos were published in September 2007. Those memos were heavily redacted. They don't show the recommendation of his review board. They do record that Gordon England, the Designated Civilian Official who, theoretically, had the final authority to decide which captives should be cleared for release or transfer, authorized his clearance for transfer on April 29, 2005.

2006 Repatriation

On November 26, 2008 the Department of Defense published a list of the dates when captives were transferred from Guantanamo.[11] According to that list Al Zuba was transferred on December 15, 2006.

2009 interview

Michelle Shephard, writing in the Toronto Star, traveled to Yemen in September 2009, and reported on interviews with three former Yemeni captives.[2] In his interview Al Zuba attributed the allegations against him to the use of extended interrogation methods: "they spared no method of torture or humiliation in dealing with us." He claimed that he had no association with Afghanistan other than applying for sponsorship to an Afghan charity for sponsorship to travel to Pakistan for angioplasty. Commenting on the dangers posed by the USA's continued detention of almost 100 other Yemenis in Guantanamo he said:

"The longer these people stay in detention, the more complicated their mental state is and the state of their relatives. And this definitely will lead to negative consequences. So why don't they address this issue in the proper way so that the person can return to his country safely and not be a threat?"


  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. 2.0 2.1 Michelle Shephard (2009-09-19). "Where extremists come to play". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on 2009-09-19. "Saleh al Zuba says he's 60, "maybe more," and his weathered face and occasional laboured breathing do make him appear older. He's now a pipefitter and handyman, but work is hard to find. Occasionally stroking his hennaed beard, al Zuba talks in a low, raspy voice about his five-year detention." 
  3. Kelly McEvers. "In Yemen, Anger Toward U.S. Grows Over Detainees". NPR. Retrieved 2010-04-01. "Now, Zuba spends most days at home, watching TV. He says he tried to open a honey store, but the owner wouldn't rent to him because he heard Zuba had been in Guantanamo. Once a month, Zuba has to check in with local security officers." 
  4. Guantánamo Prisoners Getting Their Day, but Hardly in Court, New York Times, November 11, 2004 - mirror
  5. Inside the Guantánamo Bay hearings: Barbarian "Justice" dispensed by KGB-style "military tribunals", Financial Times, December 11, 2004
  6. "Annual Administrative Review Boards for Enemy Combatants Held at Guantanamo Attributable to Senior Defense Officials". United States Department of Defense. March 6, 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-22. 
  7. OARDEC (date redacted). "Summary of Evidence for Combatant Status Review Tribunal -- Al Zuba, Saleh Mohamed". United States Department of Defense. p. page 30–31. Retrieved 2009-01-28. 
  8. Factors for and against the continued detention (.pdf) of Saleh Mohamed Al Zuba Administrative Review Board - page 84
  9. redacted (2005-04-28). "Administrative Review Board Assessment and Recommendation ICO ISN 503". OARDEC. p. page 61. Retrieved 2009-09-19. 
  10. redacted (2004-12-16). "Classified record of proceedings and basis for Administrative Review Board decision for ISN 503". OARDEC. pp. pages 62–64. Retrieved 2009-09-19. 
  11. OARDEC (2008-10-09). "Consolidated chronological listing of GTMO detainees released, transferred or deceased". Department of Defense. Retrieved 2008-12-28. 

External links