Bahtiyar Mahnut

Bahtiyar Mahnut
Bahtiyar Mahnut
Born January 18, 1976(1976-01-18)
Ghulja, China
Detained at Guantanamo
Alternate name Sadir Sabit
ISN 277
Charge(s) No charge (unlawfully detained)
Status Transferred to Switzerland

Bahtiyar Mahnut (born January 18, 1976) is an Uyghur refugee best known for the seven and a half years he spent in the United States Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, in Cuba.[1] His Guantanamo Internment Serial Number was 277. The Department of Defense reports that Mahnut was born on January 18, 1976, in Ghulja, China.

He won his habeas corpus in 2008. Judge Ricardo Urbina declared his detention as unlawful and ordered to set him free in the United States.

Until his transfer to Switzerland on March 23, 2010 Bahtiyar Mahnut had been confined in the Guantanamo detention camps for more than seven and a half years despite it became clear as early as 2003 that he like the other Uyghurs in Guantanamo were innocent.[2]


Combatant Status Review

Mahnut was among the 60% of prisoners who chose to participate in tribunal hearings.[3] A Summary of Evidence memo was prepared for the tribunal of each detainee.

Mahnut's memo accused him of the following:[4]

a Detainee is a member of Al Qaida.
  1. detainee was in a Uighur training camp in Tora Bora from June 2001 to November 2001, and left the camp after the United States air campaign began.
  2. Detainee was trained on the Kalashnikov rifle and tactics.
  3. Detainee is a member of the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM).
  4. The Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement is an Islamic extremist movement linked to Al Qaeda.
  5. Detainee was arrested with Arabs as a Pakistan mosque.


Mahnut participated in his Combatant Status Review Tribunal.[5] His Tribunal convened on 23 October 2004 and 27 October 2004.

On March 3, 2006, in response to a court order from Jed Rakoff the Department of Defense published an eighteen page summarized transcript from his Combatant Status Review Tribunal.[6]

Witness requests

According to the study entitled, No-hearing hearings, Mahnut was an example of a captive whose witness rrequests were arbitrarily denied:[7]

"For example, ISN 277 requested 17 witnesses, and the Tribunal President decided that he could only have two of them, because he determined that 'all of the witnesses would probably testify similarly, if not identically.' No basis is given for the belief that the witnesses would testify similarly or identically, and, as ISN 277’s personal representative pointed out to the Tribunal, there is no basis in the CSRT procedures for denying a witness based on redundancy."

Mahnut's two witnesses were Saidullah Khalik and Hajiakbar Abdulghupur.[8]

Personal Representative's comments on ISN 277's Tribunal

Personal Representative were asked if they wanted to comment on their captives' Tribunals. Mahnut's Personal Representative was one of the very few who did comment.

He or she was critical of the President of Tribunal panel 12 for refusing to hear all of his witnesses, and for cutting off the testimony of one of the witnesses they had allowed.

The President justified cutting off the witness based on the assertion that the witnesses were never allowed to make unsolicited comments.

Commander Karen M Gibbs, the military lawyer who provided a legal sufficiency review, noted that the Tribunal President had not offered a justification for refusing to allow the testiomny of Mahnut's witnesses. But, in the end, Commander Gibbs concluded that the witnesses would not have made a difference to the conclusion the Tribunal drew.

He is one of approximately two dozen Uyghur captives accused by security officials of membership in the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement, which the People's Republic of China considers to be both terrorist and secessionist in nature.[9][10]

Documents released in response to the writ of habeas corpus Hassan Anvar v. George W. Bush contained a December 30, 2004 memo which provided one-paragraph information of 22 Uyghur detainees, all the detainees faced allegations from Joint Task Force Guantanamo intelligence officials of having received training at an "ETIM training camp".[9]

The information about Bahtiyar Mahnut stated:

Bahtiyar Mahnut is a 28-year-old Chinese citizen who is an ethnic Uighur from Ghalga province of China. Mahnut left China in May 2001 with the goal of reaching a western democracy (America) to live a better life. He was last interviewed at the end of 2002. He had disciplinary action on 4 March 2003 for participating in a riot in which he threw water, milk, food, body fluids, and feces on guards. Sabit [sic] is suspected as being a probable member of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM). He is suspected of having received training in an ETIM training camp in Afghanistan.
[citation needed]

The information paper also identified him as "Sadir Sabit".

Bahtiyar Mahnut v. George W. Bush

A writ of habeas corpus, Bahtiyar Mahnut v. George W. Bush, was submitted on Bahtiyar Mahnut's behalf.[11] In response, on 20 September 2005 the Department of Defense released 39 pages of unclassified documents related to his Combatant Status Review Tribunal.

He appeared before Tribunal panel 12. His Tribunal President disputed that he had denied Mahnut due process.

Administrative Review Board

Detainees whose Combatant Status Review Tribunal labeled them "enemy combatants" were scheduled for annual Administrative Review Board hearings. These hearings were designed to assess the threat a detainee may pose if released or transferred, and whether there are other factors that warrant his continued detention.[12]

Summary of Evidence memo

A Summary of Evidence memo was prepared for Bahtiyar Mahnut's Administrative Review Board, on 23 August 2005.[13] The memo listed factors for and against his continued detention.

The following primary factors favor continued detention

a. Commitment
  1. The detainee stayed in a Uighur guesthouse in Jalalabad, Afghanistan.
  2. The detainee, along with a group of Uighurs and Arabs, fled Afghanistan when the United States began bombing the Tora Bora Mountain area.
b. Training
The detainee received military training on the Kalishnikov rifle at a Uighur training camp in the Tora Bora Mountains of Afghanistan.
c. Connections/Associations
  1. The detainee attended a camp run by the Eastern Turkestan Organization (ETO).
  2. Hassan Mashum, the leader of the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Party, visited the detainee's training camp in Afghanistan while the detainee was there. While at the camp, Mashum lead prayer and gave a speech about the conditions of the Uighurs in China and the lack of funding at the training camp.
  3. Maksud aligned his organization with Usama Bin Laden (UBL) and it is now considered part of al Qaida. Since 2000, its core has been located at an al Qaida camp near Tora Bora. The fighters, under the authority of UBL, are considered a combat sub-unit of the Taliban.
  4. The Secretary of State has designated The Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement ETIM as Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). ETIM is a small Islamic extremist group based in China's western Xinjiang Province. ETIM is one of the most militant of the ethnic Uighur separatist groups pursuing an independent "Eastern Turkistan." ETIM is suspected of having received training and financial assistance from al Qaida.
  5. ETIM reportedly has financial support and direction from Usama Bin Laden, recruiting within Eastern China and shipping recruits to training camps in Afghanistan. These recruits then return to China to conduct terrorist activities and extend their influence. Training includes religious extremist theory, terrorism, explosives, and assassination. Some training camps also include the manufacturing of weapons, ammunitions, and explosive devices.
d. Other Relevant Data
  1. Pakistani authorities apprehended the detainee in late December 2001. At the time, he identified himself as an Afghan named Sadir Sabit, born in 1975 in Mazar-e-Sharif. He was detained with a Kalishnikove and 1,000 Pakistani rupees. He was serving with the Taliban in Mazar-e-Sharif until forced out by the Northern Alliance. He fled to Kabul, then Jalalabad, then Tora Bora, and finally Pakistan.
  2. The detainee is wanted by the Chinese police.
  3. The detainee has requested political asylum in the United States, and is certain that if returned to China, or any country influenced by China, he will be tortured and most likely executed.

The following primary factors favor release or transfer

a. The detainee stated he never fired a weapon at any person or aircraft while at the Tora Bora training camp.
b. According to the detainee, the Uighurs consider themselves an ally of the United States, and would not associate with terrorist organizations, especially those that target the United States.
c. The detainee asserted that ETO has no financial, logistical, operational, or philosophical connection to al Qaida, the Taliban, or any other Muslim extremist group.
d. The detainee stated that he had never heard of al Qaida until he heard of it from the Americans.
e. The detainee has no plans to return to Afghanistan or China to reunite with groups involved in fighting or to commit terrorist acts. He added that he has never fought against the United States and has no plans to fight against the United States in the future.


Mahnut chose to participate in his Administrative Review Board hearing.[14] In the Spring of 2006, in response to a court order from Jed Rakoff the Department of Defense published a thirteen page summarized transcript from his Administrative Review Board.[6]

Refused to be sent to Palau

The Washington Post reported that Palau had offered him asylum, but had not offered asylum to his brother Arkin Mahmud.[15][16] According to Del Quentin Wilber, writing in the Washington Post, Arkin developed mental health problems at Guantanamo so serious that he was the only captive not invited to stay in Palau.

According to the Washington Post, Abubakkir Qasim, one of the fellow Uyghurs, who was transferred to Albania in 2006, described the brother's situation as a "difficult and sad."[16]

"This is just very difficult and sad. Bahtiyar is turning away freedom for his brother. His brother is only there because of Bahtiyar. I feel sorry for both of them."

Arkin had traveled to Afghanistan after younger brother Bahtiyar had phoned from the Uyghur construction camp—a call that left the rest of their family worried about him.[16] They met at the camp, shortly before the 9-11. Although the men were captured in 2001, they were not allowed to see one another in the camp until 2003, when Bahtiyar asked to be moved from the camp for more compliant captives to the camp where Arkin was being held. From 2005 until the remaining Uyghurs were cleared of suspicion in September 2008 Arkin was held in isolation because guards reported infractions of the camp's rules.

Granted asylum in Switzerland

Switzerland granted political asylum to Arkin Mahmud and Bahtiyar Mahnut on February 4, 2010.[17][18][19][20] Swiss authorities helped them settle in Canton of Jura.


  1. ^ list of prisoners (.pdf), United States Department of Defense, May 15, 2006
  2. ^ "Fayiz Ahmad Yahia Suleiman – The Guantánamo Docket". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved 12 January 2010. 
  3. ^ OARDEC, Index to Transcripts of Detainee Testimony and Documents Submitted by Detainees at Combatant Status Review Tribunals Held at Guantanamo Between July 2004 and March 2005, September 4, 2007
  4. ^ OARDEC (29 September 2004). "Summary of Evidence for Combatant Status Review Tribunal -- Bahtiyar, Mahnut". United States Department of Defense. pp. page 19. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  5. ^ OARDEC (23 October 2004). "Summarized Statement". United States Department of Defense. pp. 11–28. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  6. ^ a b "US releases Guantanamo files". The Age. April 4, 2006. Retrieved 2008-03-15. 
  7. ^ Mark Denbeaux, Joshua Denbeaux, David Gratz, John Gregorek, Matthew Darby, Shana Edwards, Shane Hartman, Daniel Mann, Megan Sassaman and Helen Skinner. "No-hearing hearings" (PDF). Seton Hall University School of Law. p. 17. Retrieved April 2, 2007. 
  8. ^ Thomas Joscelyn (2009-04-21). "The Uighurs, in their own words". Long War Journal. Archived from the original on 2009-11-02. 
  9. ^ a b JTF-GTMO-JIG (2004-10-30). "Information paper: Uighur Detainee Population at JTF-GTMO". Department of Defense. pp. 28–34. Retrieved 2009-08-01.  mirror
  10. ^ "China's Uighurs trapped at Guantanamo". Asia Times. November 4, 2004. Archived from the original on 2009-08-01. Retrieved 2008-03-28. "Why the Uighur Muslims were captured, and why they were deemed no longer to pose a threat to the US, is not clear. However, there is little chance that the detainees will be freed from US custody any time soon, because there is little maneuverability for Washington's Xinjiang policy. The US will continue to search for a country that will accept the detainees, but China's importance to global capital markets makes this unlikely to succeed." 
  11. ^ "Bahtiyar Mahnut v. George W. Bush". United States Department of Defense. 20 September 2005. pp. 1–39. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  12. ^ "Annual Administrative Review Boards for Enemy Combatants Held at Guantanamo Attributable to Senior Defense Officials". March 6, 2007. Retrieved November 12, 2010. 
  13. ^ OARDEC (23 August 2005). "Unclassified Summary of Evidence for Administrative Review Board in the case of Mahnut, Bahtiyar". United States Department of Defense. pp. 51–53. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  14. ^ OARDEC (29 August 2005). "Summary of Administrative Review Board Proceedings for ISN 277". United States Department of Defense. pp. 43–55. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  15. ^ Del Quentin Wilbur (2009-09-27). "Attorney Discusses Uighur Brothers Detained at Guantanamo". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2009-09-27. 
  16. ^ a b c Del Quentin Wilber (2009-09-27). "2 Brothers' Grim Tale Of Loyalty And Limbo: To Leave Guantanamo Means Abandoning Family". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2009-09-28. 
  17. ^ Andy Worthington (2010-02-04). "Swiss Take Two Guantánamo Uighurs, Save Obama from Having to Do the Right Thing". Retrieved 2010-02-04. "Not mentioned publicly was the fact that, until Jura accepted the men’s asylum claims, one of them, Arkin Mahmud, appeared to stuck at Guantánamo, his only way out being to hope that the Supreme Court, which agreed to hear the Uighurs’ case last year, would overturn last February’s appeals court ruling, and allow cleared prisoners who cannot be repatriated into the United States."  mirror
  18. ^ "Ex-Guantanamo detainees thank Jura". World Radio Switzerland. 2010-10-04. Retrieved 2010-10-05. "They say that six months after their arrival in Switzerland, they are gradually acclimating to their new lives, but that the trauma of their experiences is still present."  mirror
  19. ^ "Uighur brothers in jura six months later". World Radio Switzerland. 2010-10-04. Retrieved 2010-10-05. "Switzerland granted Arkin and Bahtiyar Mahmud asylum on humanitarian grounds. The brothers now live in canton Jura and, a short while ago, met the media for the first time."  mirror
  20. ^ "Uighurs adjusting to new life in Switzerland". SwissInfo. 2010-10-04. Retrieved 2010-10-05. "The two Uighurs arrived in canton Jura on March 23 with one living in the town of Delémont and the other in Courroux. They were admitted to Switzerland on humanitarian grounds."  mirror

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