Monday, January 4, 2016

Salem Abdul Salem Ghereby

Nationality: Libyan
ISN: 189
Age: 53

The following is a summary of the allegations against Salem Abdul Salem Ghereby found in publicly available US military documents. If US military documents about this prisoner are inaccurate or misleading then this summary will be as well. The introduction to this set of summaries explains some of the terms used below. 

The US military believes Salem Ghereby was a member of a militant organization known as the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG). The US also believes Ghereby fought against US and coalition forces during the battle of Tora Bora, in Afghanistan, in 2001.

Like many prisoners at Guantanamo, Ghereby denied fighting against the United States and claimed to have simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

According to Ghereby, his troubles began in his home country of Libya. He told others not to attend Libyan government-sponsored public meetings. After the Libyan government sent him a letter asking him to stop, he left for Saudi Arabia.

But Ghereby worried about being sent back to Libya because he didn’t have a valid passport. Instead, a person by the name of Ahmed Al Masri helped him obtain a visa so he could travel to Pakistan.

In 1994, Ghereby said he traveled to Tajikistan as an Islamic missionary. However, when he was there, he said he lost some of his fingers during a fishing accident.

Later, Ghereby said he traveled to Afghanistan to teach at a school. After the US began bombing Afghanistan in October 2001, he fled to the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Other prisoners captured during the War on Terror presented a different picture of Ghereby’s activities in Afghanistan and surrounding countries.

Abdul Zahir said Ghereby often visited the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group’s main office in Kabul. Zahir also said Ghereby was a Libyan Al Qaeda member who often talked to Abdal Hadi Al Iraqi, an Al Qaeda commander in Afghanistan.

Abu Zubaydah and Ibn Al Shaykh Al Libi both identified Ghereby as a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group who participated in hostilities against the Russians in Tajikistan in the mid-1990s.

Abu Zubaydah was subjected to waterboarding during his interrogations by the CIA. Al Shaykh was beaten and put through a mock burial by Egyptian interrogators.

It is unclear whether their allegations against Ghereby occurred before, during or after the torture of these alleged terrorist leaders.

Guantanamo prisoner Ashraf Sultan (LY-263) and Abu Zubaydah both said Ghereby fled to Osama Bin Laden’s Tora Bora Mountain complex in December 2001.

Al Qaeda explosives expert Abu Khabab Al Masri wrote in his diary that Ghereby lost some of his fingers, and the ability to use one of his eyes, during an accident. Ghereby was trying to extract a substance from a mine fuse so he could use it during explosives training.

Al Masri also wrote in his diary that he and Ghereby agreed to throw a short piece of cord with a mortar shell into the water to catch fish. Masri slipped and fell after lighting the cord, but was able to throw it into the water just before the bomb went off. The explosion killed 10 fish.

Abu Zubaydah identified Ghereby as Luqman Al Libi. Zahir also said Ghereby went by the alias Luqman during his time in Afghanistan.

A person using the alias Luqman wrote a letter to Al Masri asking about explosives. The letter was uncovered during raids in Afghanistan in February 2002. 

The Libyan External Security Organization reported Ghereby received militant training at Al Shaykh’s Khaldan Training Camp and fought in Tajikistan.

Al Shaykh Al Libi and Sultan both said they were captured alongside Ghereby. They attempted to flee with a group of suspected Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters from Afghanistan to Pakistan after the beginning of the Afghan War. They were arrested by Pakistani forces following their arrival in the country.

Ghereby was tranferred to US custody on December 31, 2001. He arrived at Guantanamo on May 5, 2002.

In January 2010, Ghereby was approved for transfer by Obama’s Guantanamo task force.

After Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in 2011, the country was divided by rival militias. To this day, those militias continue to fight each other to control as much territory as possible. 

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