Another One of the Guantanamo “Dirty 30” Gets His Review Board Hearing

By Michaela Halpern

Yesterday morning there was a Periodic Review Board hearing (PRB) for Mohammed Rajab Sadiq Abu Ghanim, a 40- or 41-year-old man from Yemen held at the U.S. detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba since January 2002. The PRB process, created by Executive Order in March 2011, will determine whether Abu Ghanim represents “a continuing threat to the security of the United States such that continued detention is warranted,” or whether he can be cleared for transfer.

As discussed in Abu Ghanim’s Guantanamo Docket, he was captured by Pakistani forces with a group of thirty supposed al Qaeda fighters that became known as the  “Dirty 30,” They were allegedly attempting to cross the Afghanistan border when captured in December 2001. The U.S. government claims that Abu Ghanim served as a guard for Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan and has been associated with USS Cole plotters. However, in Abu Ghanim’s latest intelligence profile, the U.S. government admits there is no evidence that he had a role in the USS Cole bombing.

Now the government believes Abu Ghanim worked for an al Qaeda-associated charity and possibly trained to become an al Qaeda instructor. According to the profile, several of Abu Ghanim’s family and friends are associated with al Qaeda and the government worries this could facilitate his reintroduction into extremist activity if he is transferred out of the prison.

The U.S. government notes that Abu Ghanim committed an average number of infractions while detained at Gitmo but has improved his behavior in recent years. Most of these supposed infractions were non-violent and relatively minor, and he appears to have shown some positive influence among other detainees by serving as an intermediary. The government claims he has expressed hatred towards the United States on occasion but acknowledges this could be an expression of his frustration with his detention and lines of questioning from prison debriefers.

His personal representatives discussed how Abu Ghanim has become a considerate and tolerant person who exhibits no ill-will toward the United States. They note that he has tried to learn about American culture and his time observing and learning American ideals has given him an appreciation of America.

Abu Ghanim understands that if transferred out of the detention facility he would not be returned to Yemen due to the ongoing security situation there, but he is willing to settle wherever the United States deems best. He wants to reunite with his family and have the opportunity to have a wife and children of his own.

There are currently 80 detainees held at Guantanamo with 33 still eligible for PRB hearings. After yesterday’s hearing there will be four additional PRB hearings this month. President Obama’s recently released plan to close the prison outlines the administration’s goal to complete all PRB hearings by the fall of 2016.


Published on May 18, 2016


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