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Abdullah Tabarak Ahmad
Born December 12, 1955(1955-12-12) (age 65)
Place of birth Casablanca, Morocco
Abdullah Tabarak Ahmad (عبدالله تبارك أحمد) (Guantanamo detainee ID is 56) is a citizen of Morocco, held in extrajudicial detention in the United States Guantanamo Bay detainment camps, in Cuba.[1]

The Department of Defense reports that Ahmad was born on December 12, 1955, in Casablanca, Morocco.

Abdullah Tabarak was captured near the Pakistan-Afghan border in December 2001 and he was transferred to Morocco on July 1, 2003.[2]


Tabarak is alleged to have been one of Osama bin Laden's guards.[3] He is alleged to have volunteered to have taken bin Laden's satellite phone, in order to sacrifice himself, by diverting the attention of US authorities, allowing bin Laden to escape from Tora Bora.[4]

Access deniedEdit

The Red Cross reported that Tabarak was one of the detainees that they were not allowed access to.[5] A memo from a meeting held on October 9, 2003 summarizing a meeting between General Geoffrey Miller and his staff and Vincent Cassard of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), acknowledged that camp authorities were not permitting the ICRC to have access to Ahmad, due to "military necessity".[6]

Release to MoroccoEdit

In August 2004 Abdullah Tabarak Ahmad was released from Guantanamo to Morocco police custody where he was then released four months later on bail.[7][8][9][10] Security analysts puzzled over the release as camp commander General Geoffrey Miller on February 2, 2004 told the Red Cross that Tabarak was the sole remaining detainee they would not be allowed access to and the Moroccan authorities described him as the emir of Guantanamo.

December 15, 2001 captureEdit

Tabarak was captured on December 15, 2001 or December 16, 2001, together with approximately thirty other Arabs trying to cross the Afghan-Pakistan border.[11] Tabarak was described as one of four "major prizes" among these Arab captives—a follower of Osama bin Laden, who had worked on his farm in Sudan, and followed him to Afghanistan. The other three men, Ali Hamza al-Bahlul, Ibrahim al-Qosi and Mohammed al-Qahtani were all to face charges before Guantanamo military commissions. Tabarak, on the other hand, was among the first captives to be repatriated. Historian Andy Worthington, author of The Guantanamo Files, speculated as to whether Tabarak's early release was a tacit admission that Tabarak had played a more peripheral role than first imagined.

Role described during Salim Hamdan's TribunalEdit

On July 24, 2008 Michael St. Ours, a Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent, testified during his interrogation of Salim Ahmed Hamdan, an alleged Osama bin Laden bodyguard and driver, had told him that Abdellah Tabarak had been in charge of Osama bin Laden's security detail.[12] The Associated Press reported that:

St. Ours, who also questioned Tabarak at Guantanamo, said he was surprised to learn from Hamdan's lawyers that the Moroccan had been released because he was a "very hard individual."

According to Carol Rosenberg of the Miami Herald St Ours "looked stunned" when Hamdan's Defense Counsel asked him if he knew that Tabarak had been released without charge.[13]

Andrew Cohen, a legal affairs commentator for CBS News, called the testimony that Tabarak had been released a "colossal embarrassment".[14] He commented:

Oops. Bet the Administration would rather have Tabarak on trial than Hamdan.


  1. OARDEC (May 15, 2006). "List of Individuals Detained by the Department of Defense at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba from January 2002 through May 15, 2006" (PDF). United States Department of Defense. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-29. 
  2. "Abdullah Tabarak - The Guantánamo Docket". The New York Times. 
  3. "Morocco: U.S. Hands Over 5 Guantánamo Suspects". New York Times. August 3, 2004. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  4. Captive helped trick US while bin Laden escaped, Sydney Morning Herald, January 22, 2003
  5. Camp X-ray memos tell of life in the cages, Sydney Morning Herald, June 14, 2004
  6. ICRC Meeting with MG Miller on 09 Oct 2003 (.pdf), Department of Defense, October 9, 2003
  7. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Wapo060129
  8. Judge releases 'Bin Laden guard', BBC, December 21, 2004
  9. A trial without a case: Moroccan Ex-Guantanamo detainees' hearing postponed to March 7, Morocco Times, February 23, 2005
  10. Guantanamo sends Moroccans home, BBC, August 4, 2004
  11. Andy Worthington (October 2007). The Guantanamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America's Illegal Prison. Pluto Press. pp. 40–41. ISBN 9780745326658. "Four of them -- Ali Hamza al-Bahlul, Ibrahim al-Qosi, Abdullah Tabarak and Mohammed al-Qahtani -- were regarded as major prizes, although it was apparent none of them had held leadership positions in al-Qaeda." 
  12. "Detainee on trial said boss left Guantanamo". Associated Press. 2008-07-24. Archived from the original on 2 August 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-25.  mirror
  13. Carol Rosenberg (2008-07-25). "U.S. had top al-Qaida guard, let him go free". Seattle Times. Archived from the original on 31 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-25. "Chief among them was Casablanca-born Abdallah Tabarak, then 47, described by St. Ours as 'a hard individual,' and, thanks to Hamdan, 'the head bodyguard of all the bodyguards.'"  mirror
  14. Andrew Cohen (2008-07-25). "Ho Hum Hamdan". CBS News. Retrieved 2008-07-25. "...the only true news to have emerged so far from the trial is a colossal embarrassment to the government and has nothing to do with Hamdan. Evidently, Hamdan told his interrogators years ago that they had released from Gitmo (back to Morocco) a "hard guy" terror suspect named Abdellah Tabarak. Oops. Bet the Administration would rather have Tabarak on trial than Hamdan."  mirror

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