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Swar Khan (born c. 1970) is a citizen of Afghanistan, who was held in extrajudicial detention in the United States's Guantanamo Bay detention camps, in Cuba.[1] His Guantanamo Internment Serial Number was 933. American intelligence analysts estimate Swar Khan was born in 1970, in Khost, Afghanistan.

Swar Khan was a security official for the Hamid Karzai government prior to his capture.[2] His boss told reporters that his capture was due to false denunciations from a jealous rival, whose sons worked as interpreters for the Americans, and that he had tried to tell the Americans he should be set free—without success.

Combatant Status Review TribunalEdit

File:Trailer where CSR Tribunals were held.jpg

Initially the Bush administration asserted that they could withhold all the protections of the Geneva Conventions to captives from the war on terror.[6] 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.

Khan chose to participate in his Combatant Status Review Tribunal.[7]


The allegations Swar Khan faced during his Tribunal were:

a. The detainee is a member of the Taliban.
  1. The detainee is a former intelligence officer for the Taliban.
  2. The Detainee participated in military operations against the United States and its coalition partners.
  3. The Detainee had approximately six truckloads of weapon and ammunition including mortars and artillery stored in his house.
  4. The Detainee was selling weapons and ammunition that were allegedly used against coalition forces.
  5. The Detainee swore written allegiance to the Union of Mujahadin under commander Malem Jan Sobari.
  6. Commander Malem Jan Sobari is a Taliban guerrilla warfare leader in certain areas of Afghanistan.


Writ of habeas corpusEdit

Swar Khan had a writ of habeas corpus, Swat Khan v. Bush, filed on his behalf in 2005.[8] He was represented by James Wyda and Martin Bahl, Federal Public Defenders in Maryland.

Publication of captives' CSR Tribunal documentsEdit

In September 2007 the Department of Justice published dossiers of unclassified documents arising from the Combatant Status Review Tribunals of 179 captives, prepared in response to their habeas petitions.[9] Swar Khan's documents were withheld.

Administrative Review Board hearingEdit

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.

Khan chose to participate in his Administrative Review Board hearing.[10]


On November 26, 2008 the Department of Defense published a list of when captives departed from Guantanamo.[11] According to that list Swar Khan was repatriated on October 11, 2006.

McClatchy interviewEdit

On June 15, 2008 the McClatchy News Service published articles based on interviews with 66 former Guantanamo captives. McClatchy reporters interviewed Swar Khan, who they called "Swatkhan Bahar". [2][12][13][14][15][16][17] Tom Lasseter, the lead McClatchy reporter, wrote that while his Tribunal President ruled that even though he had offered their phone numbers the witnesses he requested were not reasonably available McClatchy reporters "had little trouble" phoning his boss at the Interior Ministry, Mohammed Mustafa. Mustafa confirmed he had been falsely denounced by a rival in the Afghan security services.

"There was no proof against him, nothing indicating he was involved with these sorts of activities," Mustafa said. "I went to the Americans' base and asked them to release him, but they wouldn't."

In his interview Sawat Khan confirmed that he had acknowledged that the allegation that he had been involved with the "Union of Mujahedeen".[2] The McClatchy report paraphrased Sawat Khan's description of the group's activities as:

Bahar said that at the time, the U.S. military was working with the group's members to form a local security force.

The McClatchy report noted that a very serious allegation he faced during his Tribunal—that he had served as a Taliban intelligence officer—was not mentioned during his annual reviews.[2]

Sawat Khan told about being beaten in Bagram, and being hung from the ceiling by his wrists in an isolation cell.[2]

Sawat Khan described making two suicide attempts in Guantanamo.[2] Following his repatriation the Governor of his Province offered him another position as a Police officer, but he declined.

See alsoEdit


  1. "List of Individuals Detained by the Department of Defense at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba from January 2002 through May 15, 2006". United States Department of Defense. Retrieved 2006-05-15. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Guantanamo Inmate Database: Swatkahn Bahar [1] Tom Lasseter June 15, 2008 mirror
  3. Guantánamo Prisoners Getting Their Day, but Hardly in Court, New York Times, November 11, 2004 - mirror
  4. Inside the Guantánamo Bay hearings: Barbarian "Justice" dispensed by KGB-style "military tribunals", Financial Times, December 11, 2004
  5. "Annual Administrative Review Boards for Enemy Combatants Held at Guantanamo Attributable to Senior Defense Officials". United States Department of Defense. March 6, 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-22. 
  6. Q&A: What next for Guantanamo prisoners? [2] 2002-01-21 mirror
  7. Summarized transcripts (.pdf), from Swar Khan's Combatant Status Review Tribunal - pages 57-68
  9. OARDEC (August 8, 2007). "Index for CSRT Records Publicly Files in Guantanamo Detainee Cases". United States Department of Defense. Retrieved 2007-09-29. 
  10. Summarized transcript (.pdf), from Swar Khan's Administrative Review Board hearing - page 206
  11. Consolidate chronological listing of GTMO detainees released, transferred or deceased [4] OARDEC 2008-10-09
  12. Guantanamo Inmate Database: Page 2 [5] Tom Lasseter June 15, 2008 mirror
  13. U.S. hasn't apologized to or compensated ex-detainees [6] Tom Lasseter Wednesday June 18, 2008 mirror
  14. Pentagon declined to answer questions about detainees [7] Tom Lasseter June 15, 2008 mirror
  15. Documents undercut Pentagon's denial of routine abuse [8] Tom Lasseter June 16, 2008 mirror
  16. Deck stacked against detainees in legal proceedings [9] Tom Lasseter June 19, 2008 mirror
  17. U.S. abuse of detainees was routine at Afghanistan bases [10] Tom Lasseter June 16, 2008 mirror