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Hassan GhulBookmark and Share


Nationality: Pakistani
Date of birth: unknown
Place of birth: unknown
Aliases: unknown

Capture: Iraqi Kurdistan Region, 20-24 January 2004
SSCI prisoner number: 98 (typo in report gives 97, but he was 98th prisoner)

Entered CIA custody: 24 January 2004
Period of CIA custody: 940-949 days
Left CIA custody: 21 August 2006 – 30 August 2006

Detained: Iraq; Afghanistan (COBALT); Romania (BLACK); Unknown; Pakistan

Current status: released, 10-31 May 2007, killed October 2012


Hassan Ghul is a Pakistani national who was captured by Kurdish forces between 20-24 January 2004. The SSCI report cites a former CIA officer, Nada Bakos, who has stated that he was interrogated but not tortured by Kurdish officials. He was then transferred to DoD custody, at some point 20-24 January 2004, whilst the CIA sought confirmation of his identity from other prisoners in the programme. Analysis by The Rendition Project and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has established that he was transferred into CIA custody on 24 January 2004. According to calculations published by the SSCI, he was held by the CIA for around (940-949 days). Once his identity had been confirmed, he was rendered to the CIA-run DETENTION SITE COBALT in Afghanistan.Analysis of flight data has determined that he was rendered on board a Boeing 737 with registration N313P. The aircraft landed in Baghdad with another prisoner, Khaled el-Masri, already on board. It then flew both men to CIA custody in Afghanistan.

Ghul was held at COBALT for two days, where he was interrogated but not subjected to “enhanced interrogation techniques”. At this point, he was rendered to DETENTION SITE BLACK in Romania, on board the same aircraft (which had waited on the tarmac at Kabul). Click here for our analysis of flight data and documentation concerning Ghul’s rendition from Iraq to Afghanistan and then Romania.

CIA records document Ghul’s treatment once he arrived at BLACK:

Upon arrival, Ghul was "shaved and barbered, stripped, and placed in the standing position against the wall" with "his hands above his head" with plans to lower his hands after two hours. The CIA interrogators at the detention site then requested to use the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques on Ghul, writing: “[the] interrogation team believes, based on [Hassan Ghul's] reaction to the initial contact, that his al-Qa'ida briefings and his earlier experiences with US military interrogators have convinced him there are limits to the physical contact interrogators can have with him. The interrogation team believes the approval and employment of enhanced measures should sufficiently shift [Hassan Ghul's] paradigm of what he expects to happen. The lack of these increasd [sic] measures may limit the team's capability to collect critical and reliable information in a timely manner."

CIA Headquarters approved the request the same day, and he was immediately subjected to the techniques. CIA records cited by the SSCI report document that “following 59 hours of sleep deprivation, Hassan Ghul experienced hallucinations, but was told by a psychologist that his reactions were ‘consistent with what many others experience in his condition,’ and that he should calm himself by telling himself his experiences are normal and will subside when he decides to be truthful.” Ghul also complained of back pain and asked to see a doctor, but interrogators responded that the "pain was normal, and would stop when [Ghul] was confirmed as telling the truth." One CIA doctor later noted that Ghul was experiencing  "notable physiological fatigue," including "abdominal and back muscle pain/spasm, 'heaviness' and mild paralysis of arms, legs and feet [that] are secondary to his hanging position and extreme degree of sleep deprivation.” Notwithstanding these signs, the doctor commented that Ghul was stable and had "essentially normal vital signs," despite an "occasional premature heart beat."

Nothing is known about Ghul’s fate and whereabouts after his detention and torture in Romania during January 2004. He would have been transferred out of CIA custody at some point between 21 August and 30 August 2006, at which point he was rendered to [redacted]. The length of this redaction is consistent with Pakistan, which has been reported elsewhere as his destination after CIA custody. CIA records cited by the SSCI report note that he was released from foreign government custody 10-31 May 2007, and it has since been reported that he was killed in a US drone strike in October 2012.



SSCI, Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program, 9 December 2014

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