Abu Zubaydah

Abu Zubaydah

Date of Birth: 12 March 1971
Nationality: Stateless Palestinian
Arrested: 2002, Pakistan
Location: Guantánamo Bay
Legal Status: Detained


Abu Zubaydah is currently being detained in Guantánamo  Bay. Falsely suspected of being a high-value member of al Qaeda and the organisation’s Chief of Operations, he has been held in secret prisons around the world for over eight years without trial or charge and subjected to horrendous torture. 

Abu Zubaydah was seized in Pakistan in March 2002. Initially regarded as the first “high value detainee”, he became the guinea pig for “enhanced interrogation techniques” then being developed by the CIA. US government documents have attested that Abu Zubaydah was chained to a chair for weeks, forced into a cramped box, hanged naked from the ceiling, inflicted with cold, kept awake for 11 consecutive days, and subjected to the “waterboard” 83 times in one month. His itinerary of incommunicado detention between 2002 and 2006 included Thailand, Poland, Guantánamo Bay, Morocco and Lithuania. In September 2006 he was transferred back to Guantanamo Bay, where he remains.

The US government has not charged Abu Zubaydah, and no longer maintains that any of the claims it made about his association with al Qaeda at the time of his capture are true. The justification for his continued detention has not been made public, however.

During the time he was travelling between secret prisons, in particular at some point between his arrival in Morocco in 2004 and his arrival in Guantánamo in 2006, Reprieve believes that Abu Zubaydah was detained in Lithuania. Reprieve and Amnesty International are asking the President and Prosecutor General of Lithuania fully and thoroughly to investigate allegations that Lithuanian officials were complicit in his secret detention.

According to Lithuania’s Parliamentary Committee on National Security and Defence, officials from Lithuania’s state security department assisted in the construction of a CIA prison in Lithuania. The intensity and frequency of Mr Zubaydah’s torture make it vital that the sites of his abuse are exposed, if only to prevent it from happening again. 

Abu Zubaydah's case history

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