Detainees Rendered by Aero
To date, there is evidence to support that at least 49 individuals were rendered by North Carolina operated planes and pilots. You can view summaries of the known cases, below.
Authors & Contributors: Madeline Batt, Joshua Bennett, Isabelle Chammas, Priscilla Encarnacion, Siya Hegde, Hillary Li, Nicole Moore, Jeffery Nooney, Matt Norchi, Seth Proctor, Tyler Walters, Madeleine Smith and Deborah M. Weissman, UNC School of Law Human Rights Policy Lab
Ahmed Agiza is a 54-year-old Egyptian man. He sought asylum in Sweden, and is married to a Swedish woman with whom he has Swedish children. He was illegally rendered at the age of 39 from Stockholm, Sweden to Egypt by United States officials, who removed his clothes, conducted cavity searches, and handcuffed, fettered, and hooded him before leading him barefoot onto the rendition flight. A Swedish investigation in 2004 found that Swedish authorities failed to maintain control over Ahmed Agiza while he was on Swedish soil during the American flight preparations. Upon his arrival back in Egypt, Ahmed Agiza was subjected to torture, including electric shocks and threats of sexual abuse, and sentenced to 25 years in prison. He was released after nine years.
In 2004, Amanatullah Ali was seized by British forces and turned over to U.S. military forces in Iraq. Ten years later, Ali was released from U.S. custody without any charges. He suffers not only as a result of this extended period of detention, but also because he was subjected to the torturous and abusive actions taken against him which run contrary to legal norms and moral practices.
Ammar al-Baluchi, also known as Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, was born in August 1977 in Kuwait. Shortly before he was kidnapped, he worked as a technician for a computer company in Dubai. He is the nephew of Khaled Sheikh Mohammed who is alleged by U.S. authorities to be “the mastermind” of the events of September 11, 2001. On April 30, 2003, Al-Baluchi was captured while in Pakistan by Pakistani forces and within a short time (likely two weeks), he was delivered to the custody of the CIA and extraordinarily rendered to various detention sites for interrogation by torture. In 2006, he was transferred to Guantánamo Bay, Cuba where he remains now, detained in “Camp 7,” known as having the harshest conditions of confinement at Guantánamo, and whose existence was secret and classified until 2008.
Binyam Mohamed is a resident of the U.K. whose story, from personal upbringing to his entire experience of capture, rendition—via North Carolina-based Aero Contractors, Inc.—detention, interrogation, torture, and eventual release from Guantanamo, has been recounted many times, to many different people and entities. Through each of these accounts, his narrative has remained consistent.
The CIA has closely guarded information regarding Abu ‘Abdallah’s rendition and detention as well as his identity. As a result, little is known for certain about his ordeal in American custody except that he was likely held, likely in Afghanistan’s Cobalt site, for approximately 870 days between 2004 and 2006. Nonetheless, given the information that is available about the Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation (RDI) program in general, it is likely that ‘Abdallah was subjected to torture as well as extralegal detention and extraordinary rendition.
Abdul Halim Dalak
.Abdul Halim Dalak, a student at the time of his capture of unknown citizenship, has been described as one of the United States’ “ghost prisoners.” He was captured in Pakistan in November 2001 and extraordinarily rendered to Syria in May 2002. His fate since then is unknown, and the United States has never publicly acknowledged his rendition.
Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri
Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri is a 52-year-old Saudi national of Yemen descent, born on January 5, 1965 in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Al-Nashiri was a quiet child, one of twelve children in his family. Subsequent to his arrest, al-Nashiri was detained at an unknown location within the city of Dubai for over a month. During his detainment, guards deprived him of sleep, beat him, and hung him by his hands. It is believed that al-Nashiri was then rendered by the CIA on November 9, 2002, aboard a Gulfstream IV jet with the tail number N85VM, operated by Richmor Aviation, to the COBALT secret detention site (also referred to as “Salt Pit”), located in Afghanistan. During four years in CIA custody, al-Nashiri was held in black sites in Afghanistan, Thailand, Poland, Morocco, Guantánamo, and Romania before being transferred back to Guantánamo in 2006. He remains there facing trial for charges related to the USS Cole bombing, although he is no longer in CIA custody. Reports by the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, among others, indicate that he was subject to “enhanced interrogation techniques,” including waterboarding, at numerous black sites. He reports suffering from nightmares of physical, psychological, and sexual abuse.
Abd Al-Salam Al-Hilah
Al-Salam Al-Hilah is a 49-year-old Yemeni national, born on January 30, 1968 in Sanaa, Yemen. Al-Hilah was identified by the Department of Defense (“DOD”) as a “high value detainee” (“HVD”) for his alleged foreknowledge of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the 11 September 2001 terrorist attack. Al-Hilah was held in secret detention at Dark Prison in Afghanistan for over two and a half months, and during such time, lost over 70 pounds. Al-Hilah was then rendered by the CIA to the secret detention site called “COBALT” where he suffered irreparable damage via methods such as total light deprivation, loud continuous music, isolation & dietary manipulation. He spent nearly 600 days in CIA custody and remains at Guantánamo. He has been there for thirteen years.
Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi
Mustafa al-Hawsawi is a 48-year-old Saudi national, born in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on August 5, 1968. He was captured in Pakistan and then likely held in CIA black sites in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Guantánamo, Morocco or Lithuania, and again in Afghanistan before being transferred out of CIA custody and back into the “regular” population of detainees at Guantánamo. Al-Hawsawi was identified by the Department of Defense as a “high value detainee” (“HVD”) and an al-Qaeda member. During his 1200+ days in CIA custody, he was subjected to forceful anal searches that have produced lasting damage as well as to “water dousing” (similar to waterboarding, but without being strapped to the board). He remains at Guantánamo.
Ali- al-Hajj al-Sharqawi
A case of mistaken identity by Iraq’s liberators gave Ali, a Pakistani national who was making a pilgrimage to Shia shrines in Iraq, a one-way ticket on one of the world’s most notorious extraordinary rendition and torture planes: N3013P, the C.I.A.-owned Boeing 737 operated by Aero Contractors, LTD out of Johnston County Airport in Smithfield, North Carolina. He was rendered to two black sites in Afghanistan, where he was subject to beatings, temperature extremes, and torture. He was released back to Pakistan after 10 years in custody.
In 2002, Jamil el-Banna left his house for business travel. El-Banna was kidnapped by a “snatch crew” on behalf of the United States and the Central Intelligence Agency’s extraordinary rendition program, and subsequently abused and tortured until his release from Guantanamo Bay detention camp in December of 2007.
Mohamed Farag Ahmad Bashmilah
Mohamed Bashmilah is a 49-year-old Yemeni citizen who was held and tortured in secret CIA detention for over 18 months, and then held in arbitrary detention in Yemen for a further 10 months. His full 59-page declaration along with exhibits was submitted to the U.S. Federal District Court in the Northern District of California in December 2007 in a lawsuit filed in an effort to obtain reparations and repair for the unlawful acts done to him is attached here. He lives in Aden, Yemen with his wife and mother.
Before Abdel-Hakim Belhadj was captured in Libya, he was a part of a group that sought justice and opposed the known dictator, and enemy of the United States, Muammar Gaddafi. Belhadj had never been involved with any kind of terrorist activity. He was kidnapped, rendered, and tortured for six years because of his role as a dissident and someone who was active in resisting Gaddafi and Gaddafi’s repressive and hurtful practices enacted against the people of Libya. For his opposition, he was kidnapped; his captors flew him and his then-pregnant wife, Fatima Bouchar, on a plane operated by Aero Contractors headquartered in Johnston County, NC and delivered them to be tortured in Libya. There, Belhadj suffered the exact kind of torture that he opposed and the oppression he was committed to ending. Despite their horrifying experiences, Belhadj and Bouchar continue even today to attempt to obtain accountability from those governments involved in their treatment.
Fatima Bouchar is one of the only women to have been identified as a victim of extraordinary rendition and torture in the CIA Torture and Extraordinary Rendition Program. She was four months pregnant when she was captured, interrogated, and tortured for many months. Her captors flew her and her husband, Abdel Hakim-Belhadj, to be tortured in Libya. There, in one of Gaddafi’s prisons, Bouchar was tortured while pregnant to the point that her baby was struggling to survive. On June 21, 2004, after four months of harrowing detention and torture, Bouchar was released. However, she was not permitted to leave the country. She gave birth to her son, Abdurahim, on July 14, 2004. Bouchar said, “after the terror of the abduction and the CIA prison he was born weighing only four pounds.” Bouchar’s husband Belhadj was detained in Tajoura for four more years and tortured and interrogated repeatedly. He was finally released on March 23, 2010, as part of a release of hundreds of prisoners negotiated by Saif al-Islam, Gaddafi’s son, and his foundation that was geared toward national reconciliation and social peace.
Abou ElKassim Britel
After a business research trip in the middle east, Abou was detained upon the accusation of entering Pakistan illegally but that soon devolved into suggestions that he may be a terrorist fighter. Because of this, he was victimized by the United States, Pakistan, Morocco, and Italy—that is, across three continents without any accountability or avenue for remedy. Britel needlessly suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress as a result of being tortured and from heavy metal poisoning from the conditions of his captivity in Pakistan. Eleven months after his arrest he was released without notice, explanation or any charges.
Omar was captured in his home in Pakistan on April 2002. While in custody Pakistani officials beat him at the behest of American officials. During his extraordinary rendition, he was put in a box and cuffed with plastic handcuffs and “bundled” with forty-four other detainees who were thrown onto the floor of the plane. The destination of Omar was to the Guantanamo Bay facility where he experienced violence, sleep deprivation and other torture tactics on a daily basis. Omar now lives in Brighton where he spends his time working with Reprieve on legal challenges on behalf of himself and other survivors of Guantanamo Bay.
Gouled Hassan Dourad
Gouled Hassan Dourad is a Djibouti national currently detained at Guantánamo Bay. He was captured by Djibouti authorities in March 2004 and rendered to CIA custody. Until 2006, when he was transferred to Guantanamo, he was imprisoned in the CIA’s secret prison network, but little information about his location and treatment during that time has been made publicly available. Dourad is considered a high-value detainee; however, he denies having any link to al-Qaeda, and he has never been charged with a crime or tried for any terror-related offense.
Hassan bin Attash
Hassan bin Attash, a Yemeni citizen born in Saudi Arabia, is the youngest detainee in Guantanamo Bay. He was only about sixteen when he was captured by Pakistani forces in September 2002. After four days in a Karachi prison, bin Attash was secretly rendered to the US-operated “Prison of Darkness” in Kabul. From there, he was sent to Jordan, back to Kabul, to Bagram, and finally to Guantanamo. At each of these locations, bin Attash was subjected to torture and severe abuse, including stress positions, sleep deprivation, and regular beatings. Despite the continued absence of any charge against him, his detention––and, he says, his abuse––have continued to this day.
Since his release and repatriation without charge from Guantanamo Bay in 2005, Habib has spoken out in various capacities about the events of his capture, and the degree of torture he was subjected to at the hands of the CIA. In addition to filing suit against the U.S. government, Habib sought accountability on various other fronts. For example, he filed suits against the Australian and Egyptian governments, at times pro se, for their similar involvement in his extraordinary rendition, torture, and detention.
Jamil Qasim Saeed Mohammed
Jamil Qasim Saeed Mohammed, a student living in Pakistan, was arrested by Pakistani authorities and transferred to U.S. custody in October 2001. He was then rendered to Jordan, where the CIA often sent prisoners to facilitate abusive interrogations. Since his rendition, Mohammed has disappeared. Despite repeated requests from NGOs, no information on his location or condition has been made publicly available.
Khaled Sheikh Mohammed
Khaled Sheikh Mohammed is a Pakistani national currently detained in Guantanamo Bay. He was arrested in Pakistan in March 2003. After his capture, he was transferred between CIA black sites in Afghanistan, Poland, Romania, and Lithuania. Considered a “high value detainee,” Mohammed was repeatedly subjected to extreme torture during the three and a half years he spent in secret CIA detention, including beatings and “wallings”, stress positions, sleep deprivation, medically unnecessary “rectal rehydration” and at least 183 separate uses of the waterboard. The use of these abusive “enhanced interrogation techniques” was ineffective in producing valuable intelligence.
The CIA subjected Khaled El-Masri to extraordinary rendition in violation of multiple international law and norms. His capture, rendition, and detention would have been unlawful and egregious under any circumstances; however, in his case, the CIA officials who orchestrated his kidnapping had done so on the mistaken belief that he was someone else, a fact they sought to prevent from being made public. El-Masri first sought suit in the United States against those who were responsible for his illegal transfer and torture to no avail as the government sought to suppress evidence about the wrongdoings in the name of national security. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Torture Report confirms that El-Masri was a victim of the CIA’s extraordinary rendition and torture program. Despite numerous efforts to attain some form of accountability and justice for the egregious harms that have been perpetrated against El-Masri, he remains without remedy from any federal or state authority in the United States.
Mohammed al-Asad, a Yemeni national, was living in Tanzania when he was arrested and flown to a secret prison in Djibouti. He was later transferred into the CIA’s secret prison system. During his detention, he was subjected to torture that included solitary confinement, sensory overload in the form of constant loud music, punitive dietary manipulation, artificial light twenty-four hours a day, exposure to cold weather, and beatings. After apparently realizing that al-Asad was not involved in terrorist activity, the CIA eventually transferred him to Yemen, where he was ultimately released.
Khaled al-Maqtari is a Yemeni man who was detained and tortured by United States armed forces and intelligence operatives despite never being charged or convicted of any crime against the United States or its citizens. He was captured in 2003 at his place of work, and with his collages were forcibly rendered to Abu Ghraib. After his time spent there he was rendered to another black site in Afghanistan. This time, Al-Maqtari was stripped of his clothes and dressed in a diaper. He had his eyes and ears taped clothes. He was shackled and hooded and forced to wear ear defenders. Finally, in May 2007, he was released. Despite his release, al-Maqtari bears extreme physical and emotional scarring from his U.S.-instigated torture. He cannot work, and remains alive due to his family. Even though he was never charged with any terrorist offense by the United States, he believes he is stigmatized from being detained. Khaled al-Maqtari does not believe that he will ever be able to live a normal life as a result of his torture.
El-Zari was awaiting the approval of his asylum in Sweden in 2001. The same day that his asylum was rejected, El-Zari was illegally captured by U.S officials in Sweden in December 2001. During his time in Cairo, El Zari was repeatedly tortured. He suffered electric shocks to his genitals, ears, and nipples. When his interrogators believed him to be lying or withholding information, they would release a shock to force him into compliance. As time continued, El Zari’s interrogators began to wear him down. El Zari remained in detention until October 27, 2003, nearly two years after his initial capture.
Mohammed Saad Iqbal Madni
Mohammed Saad Iqbal Madni was arrested in Jakarta, Indonesia, by Indonesian police on January 9, 2002. Madni was extraordinarily rendered on January 11, 2002, and was taken to Cairo where he was detained for 92 days. Like several of the other captives, Madni was subjected to shock torture when he was thought to be lying or uncooperative. The shock instruments were attached to his head and his knees. Madni was also forced to drink something that he was instructed was tea but he believed to contain drugs. April 11, 2002, Madni was forced to sign a document that stated that he was never tortured during his time in Cairo. With the signing of this document, Madni’s time in Cairo ended.
Mustafa Salim Ali el-Madaghi
On February 5, 2004, while living with his wife and children in Muaritania, Mustafa Salim Ali el-Madaghi was arrested by the Muaritanian intelligence. Once in Libyan custody, el-Madaghi was placed into solitary confinement. He was housed in a room that contained no bed and had no windows. He was given a blanket and a concrete floor to sleep on. For the first two years of his detention in Libya, he was not formally charged and he was not given a trial. But for the CIA’s voluntary transfer of el-Madaghi to the Libyan intelligence, el-Madaghi would not have been subjected to such inhumane treatment. The CIA had knowledge of the conditions that el-Madaghi would be subjected to under Libyan control. After his first two year in custody, el-Madaghi was charged with trying to overthrow the Libyan government and given a life sentence. He was not released from Libyan control until February 16, 2011, when Gaddafi was overthrown from power.
In early June 2002, Omar al-Faruq was seized by Indonesian authorities in Bogor, Indonesia. Following his capture, al-Faruq was subjected to secret detention in CIA custody. He was ultimately rendered to Bagram airbase where he reportedly suffered abuse at the hands of guards. He was detained there until his escape in July 2011.Little is known about the human rights violations he suffered due to the failure of the CIA and U.S. government to disclose information about his capture, detention, and torture.
Omar Ghramesh was captured by the CIA in Pakistan in March 2002. He was subsequently extraordinarily rendered to a brutal prison in Syria on an Aero Contractors-operated plane. His fate and whereabouts are unknown, and the United States has never publicly acknowledged his rendition.
Sifullah Abdullah Paracha
July of 2003, Paracha’s life changed dramatically when he left for Bangkok, Thailand on a business trip, and never returned. Upon arriving at the airport in Bangkok on July 5th, Paracha was abducted by U.S. authorities and rendered to Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan for interrogation. Twelve years after his initial capture, Paracha sits in a white prison jumpsuit – an outfit reserved for Guantanamo’s most compliant prisoners –in a trailer on the facility’s grounds. This was on March 16th, 2016 the most recent hearing for Periodic Review Board (PRB) the committee which reviews detainees for potential release from the United States’ Guantanamo Bay detention facility. As he nears 70 years old, Paracha’s survival depends on proper treatment of his severe diabetes, heart condition, and tuberculosis—which is becoming more costly and is often outright unavailable at a facility such as Guantanamo. Despite the fact that he has been imprisoned for so long, Paracha has not been charged with a crime and has not been afforded the opportunity to return to his family or to seek the outside medical care he needs to survive.
Ramzi bin al-Shib
Ramzi bin al-Shibh is a Yemeni national who was detained by Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officials for a period of 1,305 days.1 In 1995, when bin al-Shibh was twenty-three years old, he unsuccessfully applied to obtain a U.S. visa in order to escape the civil war in Yemen. After being denied entry to the United States, bin al-Shibh traveled to Munich, Germany and applied for asylum. His asylum application in Germany was also denied, which led him to seek a student visa at the German embassy in Sanaa, Yemen. He traveled back to Germany and remained there until 1999. The CIA alleged that bin al-Shibh was involved in terrorist activities including planning the attack on September 11, 2001, assertions that have not been verified.
On November 2001, Al-Rawi left his house for business travel. Without explanation or notice, he was kidnapped by a “snatch crew” on behalf of the United States and the Central Intelligence Agency’s extraordinary rendition program. Bisher al-Rawi was subsequently abused and tortured until his release from Guantanamo Bay detention camp in March of 2007. Al-Rawi’s narrative in most ways is identical to that of Jamil el-Banna because they were captured and rendered together and the conditions of their detention were nearly identical.
Mohamedou Ould Slahi
Mohamedou Slahi was one of many innocent Muslim men of Middle Eastern descent who was captured during the U.S. “War on Terror.” Like others, he was detained in Guantanamo Bay, and like others was deprived of sleep for weeks. He was kidnapped by the United States after government officials claimed he was a national security threat and was then tortured. However, one incident stands out to Slahi. One day, after Slahi had been brought back to his cell after enduring harsh interrogations and beatings and having gone without food the entire day, his guard exited the cell and perhaps unknowingly inflicted upon Slahi what he has described as most painful, dehumanizing act of the day. She said to him ‘You see, people in Yemen don’t know about this stuff.” Slahi is not from Yemen. At that moment, he realized that his guards do not know who he is, or what, if anything, he had been accused of. He had to endure this Kafkaesque nightmare for nearly 15 years, as documented in his book Guantanamo Diary, which he wrote during his detention.
Salah Nasir Salim Ali Qaru
Salah Nasir Salim Ali Qaru is a Yemeni national who was wrongfully detained in the CIA’s secret prison system for approximately 2 years, despite the fact that evidence against him was at best speculative. After his 2003 arrest in Indonesia, Qaru was detained and tortured for several days in Jordan. From Jordan, Qaru was rendered to a secret prison in Afghanistan on a jet airplane operated by Aero Contractors headquartered in North Carolina, and then imprisoned for some time in a detention facility thought to be in Eastern Europe. Eventually, he was flown to Yemen, where, despite the submission of any proof against him, he pled guilty in February 2006 to obtaining a forged travel document and was released on the basis of time served.
Walid bin Attash
Walid bin Attash is a “high-value detainee” who was subject to the CIA’s rendition, detention, and interrogation (RDI) program. He was captured in Pakistan in 2003 and was thereafter secretly held in CIA custody for 3.5 years. In September 2006, he was transferred to Guantánamo Bay, where he remains imprisoned today, now facing capital charges for his role in the September 11th attacks. Throughout his time in American custody, he suffered not only extrajudicial rendition and unlawful detention, but also extreme torture that was both inhumane and ineffective. This abusive treatment was a fundamental violation of bin Attash’s legal and human rights.
Yunus Rahmatullah was captured and detained in the U.S. secret prison system for a decade because of a case of mistaken identity. After being wrongfully identified as a member of a Sunni extremist group, Rahmatullah was seized by British forces in Iraq and transferred to American custody. Throughout his ten years of detention, he was never charged or tried, and he was forbidden from meeting with his lawyer. He was also subjected to brutal torture. Rahmatullah’s eventual release was the result of years of investigation and legal action; his case reached the UK Supreme Court, which suggested that his rendition was a war crime.
Most of what has been already written about Abu Zubaydah is in the form of various accounts of his pain and suffering as a detainee in Guantanamo. He is infamously known as the first detainee who the CIA subjected to waterboarding, 83 times to be precise. These horrific accounts fail to capture the complete depth and inhumanity of his torture. We tend to only know so much as his photos reveal – the eye-patch he wears to conceal his blinded left eye; his dark-haired, bearded demeanor; and the impassivity gleaned from his lifeless gaze. He is described as one of the ‘highest-profile prisoners in Guantanamo Bay” for his status as an alleged senior al-Qaeda operative. He, however, describes himself as a “broken man”, who has been shielded from the outside world since the time of his capture in March of 2002.