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Rendition Circuit: 12-15 August 2003

Rendition of Hambali and Lillie, Thailand to Afghanistan (via Sri Lanka)


On 13 August 2003, Riduan Isamuddin (Hambali) and Mohammed Nazir Bin Lep (Lillie) were rendered from Thailand to CIA detention in Afghanistan. Both detainees were captured in Bangkok two days before, in a joint operation between the Thai security forces and the CIA. Their fate and whereabouts between that date and their appearance in Guantanamo Bay in September 2006 - over three years later - is still unclear. However, analysis of flight data by The Rendition Project has revealed that it is likely that the two detainees were rendered from Thailand to CIA detention in Afghanistan soon after their capture. Indeed, the Gulfstream IV jet with registration N85VM, operated by Richmor Aviation and known to be a key renditions aircraft, flew between Thailand and Afghanistan on 13 August 2003. This was the only flight in the entire dataset made by this aircraft into and out of South East Asia, and corresponds closely with the timing of Hambali and Lillie’s capture.






N85VM left one of Richmor’s home airports, Schenectady County Airport (KSCH), late morning of 12 August 2003, the day after Hambali and Lillie had been captured by the CIA in Bangkok. The aircraft flew to Washington Dulles International Airport (KIAD), before heading north and west to Cold Bay, Alaska (PACD). It then flew cross-Pacific, stopping at Kanasi International Airport, Japan (RJBB) and landing at Trat Airport in Thailand (VTBO). Here it almost certainly picked up Hambali and Lillie, and flew to Kabul (OAKB) via a refuelling stop in Colombo, Sri Lanka (VCBI).

After Kabul, the aircraft flew to Dubai (OMDB) and then Shannon, Ireland (EINN), landing around lunchtime of 15 August. From Shannon, it returned to Washington and then Schenectady, landing in the evening of 15 August 2003.

Overall, Richmor billed SportsFlight Air for $301,113.92 for undertaking this rendition circuit, in an invoice dated 21 August 2003. This fee included 50 hours of flying time for this circuit, at the agreed rate of $4900 per hour ($245,000 in total), as well as landing and handling fees, two extra members of crew, and expenses for all four crew to stay overnight in Japan and Dubai. It also included so-called ‘incentive expenses’ of $4000 for the two extra crew.


Rendition Research Team - © University of Kent
University of Westminster University of Kent E.S.R.C