Gitmo Review Board Hearing for Malaysian High-Value Detainee
By Molly Wooldridge
Thursday morning, Malaysian national Mohammed Bashir Bin Lap, better known by his alias Lillie, received his initial Guantanamo Periodic Review Board (PRB) hearing. Lillie, who has been detained at Guantanamo Bay for a decade, is one of seventeen high-value detainees against whom charges have never been brought.
Lillie was captured on August 11, 2003, and was rendered to a CIA black site shortly thereafter. His capture and detention are briefly documented in the declassified summary of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence torture report.
As detailed in the report, Lillie was subjected to the CIA’s so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” prior to authorization by CIA Headquarters. Immediately upon arrival at a CIA black site, Lillie was stripped of his clothes and placed in a cell in the standing sleep deprivation position.
The U.S. government asserts that Lillie was involved in a plot that targeted the tallest building in California. After that plot was cancelled, Lillie allegedly aided Hambali, another high-value detainee at Guantanamo, in planning and directing operations throughout Southeast Asia, including the attacks in Bali in 2002 and the attack in Jakarta, Indonesia, in 2003.
The U.S. government acknowledges that Lillie provided significant information of value immediately upon capture. In fact, location information given by Lillie led to the capture of Hambali. Although Lillie’s government profile notes that Lillie probably also withheld information, the torture report explains that this was due to issues related to culture and his poor English skills rather than an unwillingness to cooperate. The CIA black site where Lillie was detained did not have a Malay linguist to assist in the interrogation.
Lillie’s personal representative focused on his ability to reintegrate back into society if he were released. He stated that Lillie has land and a small inheritance from his mother that he would use to start a business. His personal representative also said that Lillie’s view of America has changed and no longer poses a threat to the country. However, the government maintains that Lillie is likely to reengage in violent extremism.
After July witnessed a lull in PRB hearings, the pace is picking up in August, with seven scheduled hearings so far. An accelerated pace is necessary if the Obama Administration intends to reach its goal of providing an initial review of all eligible detainees by fall 2016.