Bisher Al-Rawi says he left Britain in 2002 for The Gambia to start a
peanut-oil processing business. Emad Abdalla Hassan says he set out for
Pakistan from Yemen in 2000 to study the Koran. Hadj Boudella, a professor
of physics in Algeria, claims he went to Bosnia in 1992 to do humanitarian
All three men say they have been illegally incarcerated at the
controversial prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where the U.S. military has
detained 550 suspected al-Qaeda and Taliban operatives for nearly three years.
The stories of how they came to be swept up in the United States’
worldwide, anti-terrorism dragnet are emerging in federal court in
Washington, D.C. Their cases offer a more complex picture of Guantanamo
captives than what has been described by U.S. officials, who generally have
portrayed men held in Cuba as fighters picked up on the battlefields of
The three detainees are among more than 60 Guantanamo captives who have
taken advantage of a Supreme Court ruling in June that allows them to
challenge their detentions in federal court. The ruling has set the stage
for federal judges to force the Bush administration to reveal who is being
held at this remote U.S. Navy base — and why.
Since the Pentagon began transferring detainees to the base in January
2002, U.S. officials have described Guantanamo captives collectively as
“the worst of the worst,” hardened terrorists determined to kill Americans.
Court papers filed in recent weeks suggest that the government indeed could
be holding al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters and financiers of al-Qaeda leader
Osama bin Laden’s network..