Slah Muhamed Salih Al Zabe is a citizen of Saudi Arabia, held in extrajudicial detention in the United States Guantanamo Bay detainment camps, in Cuba.[1] His Guantanamo Internment Serial Number is 572. American intelligence analysts estimate he was born in 1972 in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

As of December 4, 2009, Slah Muhamed Salih al Zabe has been held at Guantanamo for seven years seven months.[2]


Although the US Department of Defense identifies Al Zabe as a citizen of Saudi Arabia Al Zabe said that although he was born and raised in Saudi Arabia, he wasn't a Saudi citizen. He was a Yemeni.

Combatant Status Review Tribunal

Trailer where CSR Tribunals were held

Combatant Status Review Tribunals were usually held in a trailer.

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 a competent tribunal 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 Tribunals. 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.

Al Zabe chose to participate in his Combatant Status Review Tribunal.[3]


Al Zabe's transcript does not contain the allegation he faced during his Tribunal.

Al Zabe's statement

Al Zabe Personal Representative had helped him prepare a statement, which his Personal Representative read aloud. His Personal Representative said Al Zabe couldn't read anything himself, because he needed glasses.

Al Zabe said that although he was born and raised in Saudi Arabia, he was not a Saudi citizen. He was a Yemeni. Following the Gulf War Saudis started treating resident Yemenis badly, so he moved to Yemen, the country of which he was a citizen. According to Al Zabe Yemen is a very poor country. So he started considering moving to a third country. Among the few countries the allowed Yemenis to get visas was Afghanistan. He traveled to Afghanistan to check out whether he wanted to move there in 1997 or 1998. He couldn't remember the exact dates, but it was in his passport.

Al Zabe said he spent four or five months looking around. During that time he was offered military training at the Al Sadeeq training camp. He said he accepted, but spent less than a week there. He said he discovered he wasn't cut out for military training. He claimed he didn't remember very much of it. He said he didn't take it very seriously. During the time he was at the camp there was no talk about attacking the United States.

Al Zabe said returned to Afghanistan in 1999, with his family this time. He acknowledged having a gun in Afghanistan. He said everyone had a gun. Al Zabe said he was able to pay for his first trip, and relocating his family, from his savings from when he worked as a taxi driver in Saudi Arabia.

Al Zabe said when America was attacked he didn't anticipate it would lead to war. And when it lead to war he didn't anticipate it would be serious. He had sent his family to safety, as a precaution. But he had remained in Kabul. He didn't expect anti-foreigner riots and chaos. So he fled Kabul about a week before it fell. He had to surrender his rifle when he left the city. He traveled with other refugees to Pakistan. He said he didn't know them, when he fell in with them, but they were unarmed, like he was, so he assumed they were civilians.



  1. "List of Individuals Detained by the Department of Defense at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba from January 2002 through May 15, 2006". United States Department of Defense. Retrieved 2006-05-15. 
  3. Summarized transcripts (.pdf), from Slah Muhamed Salih Al Zabe's Combatant Status Review Tribunal - pages 74-81

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