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Saed Khatem Al Malki

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Saed Khatem Al Malki (Arabic: سيد خاتم المالكي‎) is a citizen of Saudi Arabia, who was held in extrajudicial detention in the United States Guantanamo Bay detention camps, in Cuba.[1] His Guantanamo Internment Serial Number was 157. Joint Task Force Guantanamo counter-terrorism analysts estimate that Al Malki was born in 1969, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.


Captive 157 was identified inconsistently on official Department of Defense documents:

  • Captive 157 was identified as Saed Khatem Al Malki on the list the Department of Defense released on May 15, 2006.[1]
  • Captive 157 was identified as Saad Farhan Khatem Al-Malki on the Saudi press release that announced his repatriation on May 19, 2006.[2]
  • Captive 157 was identified as Saed Farhan Al-Maliki on the official list of captives whose habeas corpus petitions should be dismissed following their transfer from US custody.[3]

Combatant Status Review Tribunal

Trailer where CSR Tribunals were held

Combatant Status Review Tribunals were held in a trailer the size of a large RV. The captive sat on a plastic garden chair, 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 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 Tribunal. 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 Saed Khatem Al Malki's Combatant Status Review Tribunal, on 27 September 2004.[7] The memo listed the following allegations against him:

a. The detainee is an al Qaida fighter:
  1. In the year 2000 the detainee reportedly traveled from Yemen to Afghanistan.
  2. The detaiene reportedly received training at the al-Farouq training camp.
b. The detainee engaged in hostilities:
  1. In April 2001 the detainee reportedly returned to Afghanistan.
  2. The detainee reportedly went to the front lines in Kabul.


Al Malki chose to participate in his Combatant Status Review Tribunal.[8]


Al Malki initially requested several witnesses. He requested the detainee who had falsely identified him as having attended the Al Farouq training camp. Al Malki thought he could clarify that this detainee was mistaken, or otherwise offered a false allegation to his interrogators. The Tribunal's President had ruled this detainee to be "not reasonably available" -- because Al Malki had not given his name. Al Malki responded he did not know his name, but his name should have been in his file.

The other witness he had requested was his mother, who could have confirmed that he had traveled to Afghanistan solely for humanitarian purposes. He had requested permission to talk to her by telephone, and have her statement taken from a transcript of the telephone call. This request was refused. He was told that Saudi authorities would take a written statement from her. Al Malki said that when he heard this he decided to withdraw his request, because his mother was elderly, and he was afraid that Saudi authorities would haul her down to the Police Station to interrogate her, and he was afraid they would frighten her and she would find the experience too stressful.

Al Malki's response to the allegations

As the unclassified allegations were read aloud Al Malki and his Personal Representative responded to each in turn:

  • Al Malki acknowledged that he traveled from Saudi Arabia to Afghanistan prior to 11 September 2001.
  • Al Malki denied attending the Al Farouq training camp.
  • Al Malki asked for clarification on which of his statements were in conflict. He said that he had always answered his interrogators as fully and completely as he could. He suggested that this apparent conflicts may have been due to the number of interrogators he had. He suggested that one may have asked about his job, and learned about one aspect, while another may have learned about another aspect—both aspects being true—without realizing that there was no conflict.
  • Al Malki clarified that he was not apprehended by Pakistani forces while attempting to cross the border. He voluntarily sought out the first police station he could, to ask for help, once he had crossed the border. He said, once he had been bound, a policeman relished the price he would fetch.

Al Malki's testimony on his own behalf

Al Malki retired from the Saudi Police with savings of 100,000 Saudi Riyals (approximately $2–300,000). He planned to go into the used car business. He found he had free time on his hands, so he decided to travel. A friend named Hassan suggested he travel to do charitable work. Two religious leaders, Sheik Abdul Aziz Al Sheik and Sheik Allehidan endorsed the suggestion of doing charitable work. When he traveled to Iran he met another man named Hassan, who was already doing the kind of charitable work he had in mind. The two of them worked together buying food and clothes in bulk, and then traveling to Afghanistan to distribute them to refugees in Afghanistan. When they heard of the terrorist attacks in America they decided to leave Afghanistan and work distributing aid to refugees who made it across the Afghan/Pakistani border. The two of them did this for several months. Then Al Malki's passport and money were stolen from a mosque where he had left them for safekeeping. So he sought out a Police station, where he thought he would be helped. Instead he was arrested, and transferred to American custody.

Al Malki's answers to the Tribunals officer's questions

In answer to the Tribunal officer's questions:

  • Al Malki confirmed he had his passport authenticated and stamped every time he crossed a border.
  • Al Malki clarified he never officially worked for the Al Birr Foundation. He thought Hassan worked for Al Birr.
  • Al Malki confirmed that he never saw his traveling companion Hassan engage in anything other than charitable work.
  • Al Malki confirmed he never visited Al Farouq, and didn't even know where it was.
  • Al Malki and his companion Hassan left Afghanistan before the bombing started.

Al Malki's final statement

Al Malki reminded the Tribunal that he traveled to Afghanistan prior to the attacks of 9-11. His nation, Saudi Arabia, had full diplomatic relations with the Taliban. Travel to Afghanistan was completely legal at that time.

Al Malki told his Tribunal he did not support Islamic fundamentalism. He told the Tribunal that he had been a completely compliant detainee. He told them that there had been half a dozen occasions when he found nails, pens, and discarded pieces of metal, which could have been turned into improvised weapons. He told his Tribunal that he secured these objects and promptly turned them over to camp guards.

Al Malki expressed his concern that his dossier contained material that really belonged in another detainees file. He had been shown that his dossier contained pictures of currency, a watch, calculator, none of which had belonged to him. He described being tested with Computerized Voice Stress Analysis, where he was required to read for twenty minutes, to form a baseline. The technicians didn't have anything for him to read, so they had him read a letter from his dossier. When he started to read the letter he recognized that it didn't belong in his dossier. He told his interrogators, who gave him another document to read, but returned the letter to his dossier.

Al Malki wanted his Tribunal to know that he condemned the attacks of 9-11. He wanted them to know he understood that the USA had a responsibility to hunt and imprison the perpetrators, and those who had aided them.

Saed Farhan Al-Maliki v. George W. Bush

Saed Farhan Al-Maliki had a writ of habeas corpus filed on its behalf, Saed Farhan Al-Maliki v. George W. Bush.[9] The United States Department of Defense published dossiers of the unclassified documents arising from the Combatant Status Review Tribunals of 179 captives who had habeas petitions filed on their behalf.[10] But the Department withheld Al-Maliki's documents.

The Department has not explained why they withheld Al-Maliki's documents.

Administrative Review Board hearing

Administrative Review Board hearing room

Hearing room where Guantanamo captive's annual Administrative Review Board hearings convened for captives whose Combatant Status Review Tribunal had already determined they were an "enemy combatant".[11]

Detainees who were determined to have been properly classified as "enemy combatants" were scheduled to have their dossier reviewed at annual Administrative Review Board hearings. The Administrative Review Boards weren't authorized to review whether a detainee qualified for POW status, and they weren't authorized to review whether a detainee should have been classified as an "enemy combatant".

They were authorized to consider whether a detainee should continue to be detained by the United States, because they continued to pose a threat—or whether they could safely be repatriated to the custody of their home country, or whether they could be set free.

annual Administrative Review Board

A Summary of Evidence memo was prepared for Saed Khatem Al Malki's Administrative Review Board, on 24 August 2005.[12] The memo listed factors for and against his continued detention.

The following primary factors favor continued detention

  1. The detainee worked as a security officer for a firm called the Hajj Mawsem where he earned 4,600 Saudi Riyals per month.
  2. The detainee agreed to help distribute aid, (food, clothing, etc.) in Afghanistan at the request of Sheik Al-Shaykh [sic]. Sheik Al-Shaykh [sic] was the senior sheik of the Masjid Al Harem Mosque, which is a large mosque near Kaaba, Saudi Arabia.
  3. Sheik al Shaykh [sic] suggested that the detainee work for the Al Birr Foundation. A man named Hassan Al Nashiri, a fellow student with the detainee, asked him to help distribute goods to poor Muslims.
  4. The purpose of the Al Birr organization was the help [sic] poor Muslims in Saudi Arabia and other countries.
  5. The detainee left Saudi Arabia sometime around January 2001.
  6. The detainee and Nashiri flew Saudi airlines from Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, to Damascus, Syria, then a Syrian airline to Mashhad, Iran, where they stayed for two months.
  7. The detainee and Nashiri spent two months in Herat, Afghanistan, and in addiiton to food and clothing, they also bought books and tapes regarding Islam. Traveling through Afghanistan, the men stayed in various mosques, but provided no details on the mosques, sheiks, guides or names of villages.
  8. The detainee and Nashiri also travled to Spin Buldak, Afghanisan, then on to Quetta, Pakistan. They said they traveled to Pakistan to obtain better quality of goods to distribute. Several trips were made between Spin Buldak and Quetta.
  9. The detainee claims he traveled for approximately eight months distributing supplies with Al Nashiri, whom he referred to as the "money man".
  10. The detainee was arrested in Pakistan around December 12-17, 2001, while on his way to reenter Afghanistan with aid supplies.
b. Training
  1. The detainee attended a mountain tactics class.
  2. The mountain tactics course was a seven-week course held at the Faruq [sic] training camp, which covered guerilla warfare in mountainous terrain.
  3. The Al Faruq [sic] camp provided a general program that consisted of a fundamental or basic course lasting 40 days. The course provided trainees with fundamental military skills in light and heavy weaponry, field guns, warheads, topography and explosives.
c. Other relevant data
  1. The detainee was unable to provide any names of individuals who were connected to the Al Birr Foundation. He stated there was no need for him to register with the foundation because he was not going to receive a salary.
  2. The detainee has always maintained that he was in possession of a letter for [sic] the Al Birr Foundation that explained the purpose of his work in Afghanistan. However, he was unable to explain how he obtained the letter from the foundation if he never registered there.
  3. The detainee had his passport and other documents stolen. After hearing about the detainee's loss, an unknown guide gave him 1,000 Rupees and took him to a bus headed to Peshawar, Pakistan.
  4. The detainee has provided four different versions of his personal history and how he came to be detained. During initial screening, he first stated the non-governmental organization was Yemeni based, and then later said it was Saudi based.
  5. The detainee told agents he was divorced four or five years ago. However, he could not, or would not, explain how his divorce, five years previous seemed to contradict the ages of his children.
  6. The detainee told agents, after his divorce, he got a job selling cars. He said he sold only one car for his uncle, but he did not know how much it sold for because his uncle set up the deal.
  7. A passport from Iraq, with one of the detainee's aliases, Ahmad Muhammad Salih, was recovered from the master bedroom of a suspected al Qaida operative's house.
  8. The detainee may have been involved in a November 1995 bomb attack on the Egyptian Embassy in Islamabad. He then escaped to the Shamshad and Deruntah camps in Afghanistan the day of the attack.
  9. The Deruntah training camp has a poisons course that lasts approximately two weeks and teaches students how to poison food and drinks.

The following primary factors favor release or transfer

  • The detainee claims he had no association with Taliban or al Qaida forces and he denies having any knowledge of the attacks in the United States prior to their execution on September 11th. Additionally, he denies any knowledge of any rumors or plans of future attacks on the United States or its interests.
  • The detainee had no concern about the doings or whereabouts of al Qaida or the Taliban, and stated that he doesn't feel members of those organizations are Muslim at all due to their actions against others.
  • The detainee stated that although he feels a great injustice has been done and is being to him by his detainment here at GTMI, he would still never take up arms against anyone, and would never want to leave Saudi Arabia to try and help other out of his country.


Al Malki chose to participate in his Administrative Review Board hearing.[13] In the spring of 2006, in response to a court order, the Department of Defense published a fifteen page summarized transcript of his Board hearing.

  • Al Malki clarified that "Hajj Mawsem" is "not a company". He said its name translated as the "Army of Pilgrimage and Ceremonies", and it was staffed by military police officers.
  • Al Malki confirmed that he planned to go to Afghanistan to distribute humanitarian aid.
  • Al Malki clarified that he traveled to Afghanistan alone. He met Nashiri in Afghanistan.
  • Al Malki confirmed that he and Nashiri worked together distributing food and clothing.
  • Al Malki disputed that he was arrested trying to cross into Afghanistan with humanitarian supplies, on December 17, 2001. He was arrested inside Pakistan, while traveling to Peshawar.
  • Al Malki disputed that he received any military training in Afghanistan. The closest he came to military training was his police training.
  • Al Malki confirmed that he was not a registered with the Al Birr Foundation, because he was a volunterr, not an employee, who would be drawing a salary, it hadn't been necessary for him to registered.
  • Al Malki clarified that he never claimed he had a letter from the Al Birr Foundation, explaining the nature of his work. Rather Hassan Nashiri had the letter of introduction.
  • Al Malki confirmed that his identity documents were stolen from him.
  • Al Malki disputed that he had offered conflicting accounts of his personal history.
  • In response to the allegation a passport with one of his aliases on it was recovered from a suspected al Qaida operative's residence, al Malki replied Ahmad Muhammad Salih was not a name he used:

I do not have an alias under this name. The name I use and the one I mentioned to the Pakistani Police is Muhammed Ahmad Abdullah Salih.

  • Al Malki disputed involvement in the 1995 bombing of the Egyptian embassy in Islamabad.
  • Al Malki confirmed he knew nothing of plans to attack the USA.
  • Al Malki confirmed that he does not consider the Taliban and al Qaida "'..are Muslims at all due to their actions against others."
  • Al Malki confirmed that he considered his continued detention to be a great injustice.

Response to Board questions

  • Al Malki answered that he finished tenth grade.
  • Al Malki confirmed that he left paid employment to volunteer to distribute.
  • Al Malki said he had never heard of the al Farouq training camp prior to his interrogations.
  • When asked his view on Osama bin Laden Al Malki replied:

He is terrorist that says he's a Muslim, but is not a Muslim. That's what I think. I'm not deep in religion to tell you exactly, but that's my idea.

  • When asked why he used an alias Al Malki replied:

It's not an alias, but when I was arrested in Pakistan, I was scared and I gave them any name.

  • Al Malki said the Pakistani Police didn't tell him why they arrested him, except that he was an Arab, and was "good value".

Board recommendations

In early September 2007 the Department of Defense released two heavily redacted memos, from his Board, to Gordon England, the Designated Civilian Official.[14][15] The Board's recommendation was unanimous The Board's recommendation was redacted. England authorized his transfer on 9 December 2005. The memos stated:

The Administrative Review Board determined ISN 157 continues to be a threat to the United States and its allies and remains a ####### a threat.


Al Malki was repatriated to Saudi Arabia on May 19, 2006 with 14 other men.[2][16]


  1. 1.0 1.1 OARDEC (May 15, 2006). "List of Individuals Detained by the Department of Defense at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba from January 2002 through May 15, 2006" (PDF). United States Department of Defense. Retrieved 2007-09-29. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Saudi detainees at Guantanamo returned to the Kingdom; names given". Royal Saudi Embassy, Washington. May 19, 2006. Retrieved 2007-03-22. 
  3. "Exhibit B: List Of Enemy Combatant Detainees With Pending Habeas Corpus Petitions Who Have Been Released From United States Custody" (PDF). United States Department of Justice. April 17, 2007. Retrieved 2008-05-05. 
  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 (27 September 2004). "Summary of Evidence for Combatant Status Review Tribunal -- Al Malki, Saed Khatem". United States Department of Defense. pp. page 59. Retrieved 2008-03-13. 
  8. OARDEC (date redacted). "Summarized Statement". United States Department of Defense. pp. pages 150-160. Retrieved 2008-03-13. 
  9. "Petition for writ of habeas corpus" (PDF). United States Department of Justice. 2006-10-16. Retrieved 2008-07-03.  mirror
  10. OARDEC (August 8, 2007). "Index for CSRT Records Publicly Files in Guantanamo Detainee Cases" (PDF). United States Department of Defense. Retrieved 2007-09-29. 
  11. Spc Timothy Book (Friday March 10, 2006). "Review process unprecedented". JTF-GTMO Public Affairs Office. pp. pg 1. Retrieved 2007-10-10. 
  12. OARDEC (24 August 2005). "Unclassified Summary of Evidence for Administrative Review Board in the case of Al Malki, Saed Khatem". United States Department of Defense. pp. pages 79-81. Retrieved 2008-03-13. 
  13. OARDEC (date redacted). "Summary of Administrative Review Board Proceedings of ISN 157". United States Department of Defense. pp. pages. Retrieved 2008-03-13. 
  14. OARDEC (9 December 2005). "Administrative Review Board assessment and recommendation ICO ISN 157". United States Department of Defense. pp. page 32. Retrieved 2008-03-13. 
  15. OARDEC (14 September 2005). "Classified Record of Proceedings and basis of Administrative Review Board recommendation for ISN 157". United States Department of Defense. pp. pages 33-37. Retrieved 2008-03-13. 
  16. Anant Raut, Jill M. Friedman (March 19, 2007). "The Saudi Repatriates Report" (PDF). Retrieved April 21, 2007. 

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