Huzaifa Parhat is a citizen of China, held in extrajudicial detention in the United States of America Guantanamo Bay detention camps, in Cuba. His Guantanamo Internee Security Number is 320. Joint Task Force Guantanamo counter-terrorism analysts report he was born in February 11 1971, in Ghulja, China.
Information paper: Uighur Detainee Population at JTF-GTMO
Documents released in response to the writ of habeas corpus Hassan Anvar v. George W. Bush contained a memo entitled: "Information paper: Uighur Detainee Population at JTF-GTMO". This memo, dated 30 October 2004, provides one paragraph biographies of 22 Uighur captives. The memo asserts that all 22 captives are suspected of membership in the "East Turkistan Islamic Movement". The memo describes the Uighur camp as an "ETIM training camp".
This memo was drafted prior to the Summary of Evidence memo prepared for Parhat's Combatant Status Review Tribunal.
The portion of the document devoted to Hozaifa Parhat states:
- Hozaifa Parhat is a 33-year-old Chinese citizen. who is an ethnic Uighur from the (sic) Ghulja province of China. He claims to have fled the Xinjiang province, China to train in Afghanistan and return to fight Chinese oppression of ethnic Uighurs. He was last interviewed in mid 2004. He has no reported incidents of violence in his discipline history. Parhat 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.
Combatant Status Review Tribunal
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 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.
Summary of Evidence memo
- a. The detainee is associated with al Qaida and the Taliban:
- The detainee departed China in May 2001 and traveled to Tora Bora, Afghanistan via Pakistan.
- The detainee received training on the Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifle and other light weapons at a Uighur training camp in Tora Bora, Afghanistan.
- The training camp was provided to the Uighurs by the Taliban.
- The East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) operated facilities in the Tora Bora region of Afghanistan in which Uighur expatriates underwent small arms training. The camps were funded by Bin Laden and the Taliban.
- The detainee lived at the Uighur training camp from early June through mid-October 2001 until the United States bombing campaign that destroyed the camp.
- b. The detainee participated in military operations against the United States and its coalition partners.
- The detainee stated that the Uighur training camp was destroyed during the first night of the United States bombing campaign.
- The detainee fled along with others farther into the mountains of Tora Bora with the initiation of the United States bombing campaign.
- The detainee was captured in Pakistan fleeing Afghanistan with other Uighur and Arab personnel in 2001.
Parhat chose to participate in his Combatant Status Review Tribunal. On March 3 2006, in response to a court order from Jed Rakoff the Department of Defense published a nine page summarized transcripts from his Combatant Status Review Tribunal.
- Parhat confirmed he left China in May 2001, traveled through Krygizstan and Pakistan, and lived at the Uyghur camp in Afghanistan from approximately June through October 2001.
- Parhat confirmed he was shown how to fire two weapons in Afghanistan, an AK-47 and a pistol.
- Parhat testified he didn't know who funded the Uyghur camp, but he did not believe it was funded by either the Taliban or al Qaeda.
- Parhat confirmed that he and the other Uyghurs fled the American bombing campaign together, after American bomber attacked the camp, and crossed into Pakistan together, and were captured together. He testified he and the other Uyghurs didn't associate with the Taliban.
After addressing the allegations in the Summary of Evidence memo Parhat clarified that Uyghurs, like himself, did not have animosity for any other nation than China. And, in particular, he admired the USA and thought that the USA could be an ally to the Uyghur people.
After Parhat responded to the allegations in the Summary of Evidence memo, and started responding to general questions from his Tribunal, his Tribunal's President explained that some of these questions were based on the testimony of other Uyghur captives who had previously appeared before them.
- Parhat confirmed he had met Hassan Maksum who the Tribunal officers described as "an important gentleman in the Uighur community". He confirmed that Maksum was the leader of his "Uighur group".
- Parhat confirmed that he saw Maksum visit the camp twice.
- Parhat confirmed that Maksum met with Abdul Haq and confirmed Haq was the camp's leader.
- Parhat was asked to address the "concern that Mr Hassan Maksum may have relationships with al Qaida people". He replied:
- I don't think so. The people in Turkistan will not associate with al Qaida.
- Parhat confirmed that his beige uniform signified he was a level one, or "compliant" captive, who was being rewarded for good behavior.
- Parhat testified that he never met any Arabs during his travel to Afghanistan, or within Afghanistan, prior to arriving at the camp. Parhat testified no Arabs ever visited the camp.
- Parhat testified that during their flight from the American bombing the Uyghurs came across a group of approximately 60 Arab refugees, who had an Afghan guide. They followed the Arab refugees and their Afghan guide, across the border to Pakistan.
- Parhat testified that when the Afghan guide lead them across the border to a Pakistani village, the villagers welcomed them, offered to help them, killed a sheep, served them a feast, but instead of helping them delivered them to a Pakistani prison.
- Parhat confirmed the Guantanamo camp authorities had allowed for him to be interviewed by Chinese officials.
- Parhat testified the Chinese official told him he would be sent to prison if he were returned to China.
- Parhat testified he had not had any contact with his family during the three years he had spent in Guantanamo.
- In response to questions about his travels Parhat testified he had never traveled to Kyrgizstan.
- Parhat testified he knew nothing about an attack on the US Embassy in Krygztan.
- Parhat testified he never had any contact with Uzbek Muslims, and had never heard of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.
- Parhat testified testified that when he left China he traveled to Afghanistan with three other Uyghur men, but he lost track of them during the confusion that followed the US bombing.
- Parhat testified that during the four months he spent at the camp he and his companions built a house. They were not visited by representatives of the Taliban or any other people. Their food had been brought to them by two Uyghurs, who were among the Uyghurs in Guantanamo.
- Parhat testified that he had been treated well by the camp guards.
Administrative Review Board hearings
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.
In September 2007 the Department of Defense published all the Summary of Evidence memos prepared for the Administrative Review Boards convened in 2005 or 2006. There is no record that an Administrative Review Board convened in 2005 or 2006 to review his detention.
Parhat v. Gates
Parhat and six other Uyghurs are challenging their detention in Parhat v. Gates. When the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 stripped Guantanamo captives of the right to file new habeas corpus petitions, it also opened a more limited route of appeal through the US Justice system. Starting in 2006 captives could file challenges over their designation as "enemy combatants" in a Washington DC court of appeal, if they could argue that the Office for the Administrative Review of Detained Enemy Combatants did not follow its own rules.
In September 2007 the Department of Justice argued the captive's attorneys didn't need access to any more evidence than the Summary of Evidence memos. Susan Baker Manning, one of Parhat's attorneys, commented:
“If we’re going to hold people, possibly for the rest of their lives, it seems eminently fair that we should look at all the evidence to see if they are or are not the people who should be at Guantánamo.”
In October 2007 the Department of Justice revealed asserted they could not provide the evidence upon which the captive's enemy combatant statuses had been confirmed, because it hadn't been preserved.
On June 12 2008 the Supreme Court of the United States ruled on Boumediene v. Bush. Its ruling overturned aspects of the Detainee Treatment Act and Military Commissions Act, allowing Guantanamo captives to access the US justice system for habeas petitions.
On Monday June 23 2008 it was announced that a three judge Federal court of appeal had overturned the determination of Parhat's Combatant Status Review Tribunal on Friday June 20 2008. Parhat's was the first case to ruled on since the Supreme Court's ruling in Boumediene v. Bush. The court had only published a one paragraph announcement as its full ruling contained classified material, and an unclassified version had not yet been prepared.
"Now all of these cases have been revived and this is the first case to move forward. And here is somebody that the military has been holding on to for six years and the federal court now says he shouldn't have been held in the first place.
Absent this independent judicial review, he might have been sitting there for another 10 to 15 years. Now he has a chance to find freedom."
Renewed habeas corpus petition
On July 23 2008 Susan Baker Manning filed a motion requesting Parhat be released on parole in the USA, until his habeas petition was completed. On August 5 2008 the United States Department of Justice opposed Parhat being released in the USA, and to having a judgment made on his habeas petition.
The Department of Justice had initially claimed it was necessary to convene a new Combatant Status Review Tribunal, which might consider new evidence supporting a determination that Parhat was indeed an "enemy combatant". On September 2 2008 the DC Circuit Court denied the Department of Justice plea, ensuring that there would be no re-hearing for Parhat.
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