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Khan Tumani, et al., v. Obama, et al.

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Khan Tumani, et al., v. Obama, el al., is a petition for habeas corpus filed on behalf Abdul Nasser Khan Tumani and Muhammed Khan Tumani, Syrian father and son who have been unlawfully detained in Guantánamo Bay since 2002.  Muhammed Khan Tumani was only 17 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 have been charged with any crime.  Both have suffered severe abuse in detention and Muhammed is currently detained in Camp 6, one of the most restrictive isolation facilities in Guantánamo.  The Khan Tumanis cannot safely return to Syria and will not be able to leave Guantánamo until a third country comes forward to offer them humanitarian protection.


Khan Tumani, et al., v. Obama, el al., was originally filed on March 14, 2005.  The case is pending in the D.C. District Court before Judge Ricardo M. Urbina and has not yet been heard on the merits. 


Khan Tumani, et al., v. Obama, el al., is a habeas corpus petition filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights and co-counsel on March 14, 2005 challenging the legality of the detention of Abdul Nasser Khan Tumani and Muhammed Khan Tumani, a father and son from Syria, by the United States in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

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 have been subjected to torture and detained in inhumane conditions. In connection with his interrogations, Muhammed, for example, has suffered a broken nose and a fractured hand, 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.

As Muhammed has previously described:

During our stay in the Pakistani prison, we were subject to beatings and harsh torture. The torture led to my nose being broken; you can see it in the front of you now.


During our stay in the American prison in Kandahar, we were subject to torture.  The reason was that they wanted us to say that we were from al Qaida or the Taliban by force.  My father’s forehead was fractured and the Red Cross saw this and wrote a report.  My left hand was fractured and I suffered many diseases as well and there were also other methods of psychological pressure and fatigue like sleep deprivation for long hours and not going to relieve yourself…


During our stay in [redacted by the government] we were subjected to bad treatment and the reason was so that we could say, by force, that we were from al Qaida or the Taliban. … [O]ne of the interrogators brought two wires connected to electricity and said that if you do not say that you and your father are from al Qaida or Taliban, I will place these in your neck.

Muhammed is one of roughly 22 Guantánamo detainees who were originally taken into U.S. custody as minors.  He has now spent close to one-third of his life in Guantánamo.  It became clear to interrogators in Guantánamo years ago that they had no reason to hold Muhammed.   As early as January 2003, interrogators at Guantánamo noted that Muhammed was not a threat to the United States, had no useful intelligence and should not continue to be detained in Guantánamo.  He is now in his seventh year of detention and has spent the past few years in solitary confinement in Camp 6, where he continues to be held apart from his father.  His mental and physical health have deteriorated dramatically, which is interfering with his ability to participate in his defense, despite his strong desire to pursue his habeas case.

Abdul Nasser Khan Tumani is an older gentleman.  His years of detention and abuse have taken a toll on his health.  His eyesight is failing him and he has chronic pain in his feet, which makes it difficult for him to walk.  His ailments have gone without adequate treatment in Guantánamo, and his attorneys’ efforts to provide him with medical shoes to ease the pain in his feet have been denied by the authorities at Guantanamo. 

For years, the elder and younger Khan Tumanis have been detained in separate camps and cells, and have been forbidden from communicating with each other.


On March 14, 2005, a petition for habeas corpus was filed on behalf of Muhammed Khan Tumani and Abdul Nasser Khan Tumani, Syrian father and son detained without charge at Guantánamo Bay since 2002.

On June 12, 2008, the Supreme Court decided the landmark case of Boumediene v. Bush, ruling that men detained at Guantánamo Bay had the constitutional right to challenge their detention through a petition of habeas corpus in federal court in the United States.

On February 9, 2009, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed an Emergency Motion for Independent Psychiatric and Medical Evaluation, Production of Medical Records and Additional Urgent Relief for Muhammed Khan Tumani in response to his deteriorating health and the interference with his ability to participate in his habeas case.  On February 23, 2009, District Court Judge Ricardo M. Urbina ordered the U.S. Government to produce Muhammed’s medical records.