Latest News

Somali: I did not fight, or plot against U.S.

A Somali man held as a high-value Guantánamo detainee denied through a representative fighting or training against U.S. forces in the Horn of Africa, according to a transcript released by the Pentagon Friday of a hearing the captive boycotted.

Guleen Hassan Ahmed, believed to be in his 30s, skipped his 17-minute April 28 status-review tribunal before a panel of military officers assigned to review whether he is properly classified as an enemy combatant.

The U.S. alleges he had joined an al Qaeda faction named al-Ittihad al-Islami by 2002, and battled Ethiopians in Moghadishu, Somalia, and their collaborators.

He had been earlier identified by intelligence agencies as Goulad Hassan Dourad.

Speaking through a U.S. military representative, he acknowledged that he trained in Afghanistan for holy war in his homeland. But he denied links to al Qaeda.

The United States lists al-Ittihad al-Islami as a terrorist group.

The transcript was the 13th of 14 hearings so far held for 15 of the so-called high-value detainees now held at Guantánamo. The first 14 arrived at the remote U.S. Navy base in September after years in secret CIA prisons, among them former Baltimore area high school student Majid Khan, whose transcript has yet to be released.

The 15th, Abdul Hadi al Iraqi, arrived late last month, and after likewise being secretly held by the CIA.

''I did fight jihad alongside al-Ittihad against Ethiopians, which is my right to do,'' Ahmed is quoted as saying.

He also acknowledged taking paramilitary training in Afghanistan, although, not as alleged in Lugh, Somalia. But, he said, ``My training was solely for the purpose of fighting in Somalia, but not against Americans.''

The three-officer panel also gets to examine classified information in considering the U.S. military allegations against the captive; those details were not available.

But the head of the panel, a U.S. Air Force colonel, is quoted as asking an Army lieutenant colonel, who brought the file against the captive to the session, to break down some African war-on-terror coalition loyalties as part of the consideration.

Air Force colonel: ``The Tribunal has completed its review of the unclassified evidence provided. We do have one question . . . Is Somalia, Ethiopia, and/or Kenya a coalition partner?''

Army lieutenant colonel: ``Somalia is not; Ethiopia is; and Kenya is a coalition partner of the United States.''

  Comments