Witnesses requested by Guantanamo detainees
Detainees in extrajudicial detention in the United States Guantanamo Bay detainment camps, in Cuba, were, initially, not provided with any mechanism with which to challenge the allegations that kept them detained. Lawyers who volunteered to represent the detainees challenged various aspects of the legal basis of the Bush administration's policy on detainees in the war on terror. As a result of Rasul v. Bush the US Supreme Court ruled that detainees needed to be provided with a mechanism where they could challenge the allegations that kept them in detention. In July 2004 the Department of Defense responded by instituting Combatant Status Review Tribunals.
Detainees were allowed to request witnesses. The Presidents of the Tribunals had the authority to rule whether those witnesses would be "relevant". If the President ruled a witness relevant, the Tribunals officers were supposed to undertake good faith efforts to find the witnesses.
The determination of whether witnesses were relevant and reasonably available
Tribunal Presidents explained why they ruled that witnesses were not relevant. Others didn't. The President of Moazzam Begg's Tribunal, did explain, in detail, why she changed her mind over the relevancy of the witnesses Begg thought would validate his status as a Geneva Convention Prisoner of War.
- When the Tribunal recognized that a witness was another Guantanamo detainee they were generally ruled relevant.
- A few detainees declined to serve as witnesses.
- Those witnesses who were recognized as Guantanamo detainees who were ruled relevant either appeared before the Tribunal, allowing the detainee to question them, or a Tribunal officer would visit their cell, and take a statement from them.
- Originally, all witnesses who were Guantanamo detainees were invited to appear before the Tribunal, so the detainee could question them. At a certain point this policy was changed, so that witnesses could only appear before the Tribunals of detainees who were at their same security level.
- None of the witnesses the Tribunal thought were off-Island, who the Tribunal's President ruled relevant turned out to be reasonably available.
- Some Tribunal Presidents told the detainees that the Tribunal might reconvene if the witness could be found, and the President felt their testimony was still relevant. But none of the Tribunals ever reconvened to consider the testimony of witnesses who had originally been determined not reasonably available.
- It was routine for Tribunal Presidents to assume witnesses who were also Guantanamo detainees were "off-Island".
Selected witnesses who were ruled not reasonably available
|Abdullah Wazir||Bostan Karim||
|Menhal Al Henali||Fethi Boucetta|
|Ameur's Pakistani landlord||Mammar Ameur|
|Gulam Rabani||Mohammed Aman|
|Mohammed Salim||Mahbub Rahman|
|Rahman Tulah||Mahbub Rahman||
|Mohammed Ibrahim||Mohammed Yacoub||
|Mohabat Khan||Shardar Khan||
 "Guardian finds Afghan witnesses US couldn't". The Guardian (Gardez, Afghanistan). 2006-06-30. Archived from the original on 2019-01-13. https://web.archive.org/web/20190113062647/https://www.theguardian.com/world/2006/jun/30/afghanistan.guantanamo. Retrieved 2020-08-28. "But by the time the review tribunals ended last year the US government had located just a handful of the requested witnesses. None was brought from overseas to testify. The military lawyers simply said they were "non-contactable". That was not entirely true." </ref>
- Summarized transcripts (.pdf), from Abdullah Mujahid's Combatant Status Review Tribunal - pages 1-21
- Guantanamo Bay detainees not given access to witnesses despite availability, The Jurist, June 18 2006
- Summarized transcripts (.pdf), from Abdul Nasir's Combatant Status Review Tribunal - pages 5-10
- Summarized transcripts (.pdf), from Bostan Karim's Combatant Status Review Tribunal - pages 77-83
- Summarized transcripts (.pdf), from Fethi Boucetta's Combatant Status Review Tribunal - mirror - pages 50-54
- Summarized transcripts (.pdf), from Ghalib's Combatant Status Review Tribunal - pages 1-10
- Summarized transcripts (.pdf), from Mahbub Rahman'sCombatant Status Review Tribunal - pages 93-108
- Summarized transcripts (.pdf), from Shardar Khan's Combatant Status Review Tribunal - pages 1-9
- Farah Stockman; Declan Walsh (2006-06-18). "Detainees not given access to witnesses: But in one case, 3 quickly found". Boston Globe (Gardez, Afghanistan). Archived from the original on 2018-09-23. https://web.archive.org/web/20180923003707/http://archive.boston.com/news/world/asia/articles/2006/06/18/detainees_not_given_access_to_witnesses/. Retrieved 2007-03-25. "The US government routinely failed to give detainees at Guantanamo Bay access to witnesses who might have helped them prove their assertions of innocence, saying it could not locate the vast majority of the witnesses the terror suspects requested at special military hearings."
- , The Guardian, June 30 2006