At a Glance
After being cleared for release in 2009, Mohammed Khan Tumani was resettled in Portugal in August 2009, and Abdul Nasser Khan Tumani was resettled in Cape Verde in July 2010. They remain apart from each other and the rest of their family, who are living as refugees in Turkey.
Abdul Nasser Khan Tumani and Muhammed Khan Tumani, a father and son from Syria
Khan Tumani, et al., v. Obama, el al., was a habeas corpus petition filed on behalf of Abdul Nasser Khan Tumani and Muhammed Khan Tumani, a father and son from Syria who were unlawfully detained in Guantánamo Bay from 2002 to 2009 and 2010. Muhammed Khan Tumani was only 17 years olf when he was first taken into custody, making him one of roughly 22 individuals originally detained as minors in Guantánamo. Neither Abdul Nasser nor Muhammed were ever charged with a crime. They were held apart for most of their detention and suffered severe abuse. In 2009, Muhammed and Abdul Nasser were cleared for transfer by the Obama administration. As Syrians who feared torture by the Assad regime, Muhammed was resettled in Portugal in August 2009 and, a year later, Abdul Nasser was resettled in Cape Verde. Their CCR attorney, Pardiss Kebriaei, tells their story in this piece for Harper’s Magazine. Muhammed is also represented by CCR in efforts in Canada and Spain seeking accountability for his torture.
Muhammed Khan Tumani was just a high school student with one year left to graduate when he left Syria with nine members of his family, including his mother, his 67 year-old grandmother, and his infant nephew of eight months. His father, Abdul Nasser Khan Tumani, had set out from Syria in advance of his family in hopes of finding a stable country with good economic opportunities where they could all start a new life. Immigration and economic barriers eliminated many countries as options, but the elder Khan Tumani was able to find employment in Kabul, selling prepared food in the markets, and hoped eventually to save enough money to resettle his family in Saudi Arabia.
The Khan Tumani family traveled legally and with proper documents. Once in Afghanistan, the family was forced to flee for their safety when they learned that there might be a war with the United States. Muhammed and his father set out ahead of the family and traveled to Pakistan, where villagers seized and handed them over to local authorities. They were held and tortured first in a Pakistani prison and then at the American-run prison in Kandahar, Afghanistan, before being transferred to Guantanamo. Muhammed was only 17 when he came into U.S. custody.
In Pakistan, Kandahar and at Guantanamo, Muhammed and Abdul Nasser were subjected to torture and detained in inhumane conditions. In connection with his interrogations, Muhammed, for example, suffered a broken nose and a fractured hand, was shocked with electric cables, threatened with a knife, and threatened with rendition to Egypt or Jordan. In other instances, soldiers told Muhammed and Abdul Nasser that they would kill, or had killed their family members.
Muhammed was one of roughly 22 Guantánamo detainees who were originally taken into U.S. custody as minors. He spent close to one-third of his life in Guantánamo, despite the fact that, as early as January 2003, interrogators had noted that Muhammed was not a threat to the United States, had no useful intelligence and should not continue to be detained in Guantánamo.
Today, Muhammed has come a long way in rebuilding his life, but he still feels the pain of separation from his family. He and his father have yet to be allowed to visit each other, let alone to be reunified. And Abdul Nasser has yet to be allowed to see his wife and other children, who are now living under hardship as refugees in Turkey as a result of the Syrian civil war.