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Marwan al-Jabour

Nationality: Palestinian
Date of birth: unknown
Place of birth: unknown

Capture: Lahore, Pakistan, 9 May 2004
SSCI prisoner number: 108

Entered CIA custody: 16 June 2004
Period of CIA custody: 770-779 days
Left CIA custody: 26 July 2006 – 4 August 2006

Detained: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Jordan, Israel

Current status: released, as of October 2006


Timeline of Key Events

9 May 2004
Captured, Lahore, Pakistan

9-13 May 2004
Held at the ISID station, Lahore

13 May - 16 June 2004
Transferred to the ‘Villa’, a suspected CIA-run detention facility, Islamabad

16 June 2004
Rendition by air to a detention facility believed to be in Afghanistan

16 June 2004 - 21 July 2006
Held in Afghanistan

21 July 2006
Rendition to Amman, Jordan

21 July - 18 September 2006
Held at Headquarters of the General Intelligence Directorate, Amman, Jordan

18 September 2006
Transferred across border into Israeli custody

18 September - late October
Detained in Israel

Late October 2006
Released in Gaza

Marwan al-Jabour's account of his time in CIA custody is drawn largely from the Human Rights Watch investigation, Ghost Prisoner: Two Years in Secret CIA Custody. We are grateful to Human Rights Watch for granting permission for us to use this information here.

Marwan al-Jabour was born in Jordan to Palestinian parents. He was raised in Saudi Arabia and settled in Pakistan where he married, studied and had three children. He received training in a camp run by militants in Afghanistan for three months in 1998. Al-Jabour was captured by Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence Directorate (ISID) on 9 May 2004 while at a friend’s house in Lahore, Pakistan. He was captured alongside two others; one was the resident of the house Jabour had been visiting and the other was another friend who had been present.

All three men were transferred to what al-Jabour believes to be the Lahore station of the ISID. The station was close to a large market in Lahore known as the Panorama Centre.

When he arrived at the ISID station al-Jabour claims that he was beaten. There were seven or eight officers present, and he explained that if he said he didn’t know anything, they beat him, slapped him, kicked him and hit him with a stick. They insulted and threatened him, and they kept him awake all night long. Al-Jabour was asked questions about his links to ‘Arab militants’ and those interrogating him threatened his wife. The three friends were held in three cells next to each other. When al-Jabour was in his cell he had shackles around his legs. The detainee claims that his friends were also beaten, but not as badly as him. On his third day of detention at this site, al-Jabour was questioned by what he believes to be people from the US. He was beaten in their presence and told he had a choice between spending his life in prison or aiding his interrogators. The detainee states that when the US interrogators left he was stripped and burnt with a metal rod. Al-Jabour estimates that he was allowed to sleep for three to four hours during his entire period of detention at this site. He was held at this site for four days.

On 13 May 2004 al-Jabour was transferred by car from the ISID station in Lahore to a ‘Villa’ in Islamabad. The journey took three and a half hours. The detainee knew of the location of the villa as he heard one of the men taking charge of the transfer mention it in the car.

Al-Jabour describes this site as a ‘Villa’. It was a large private compound that had been converted to hold detainees. The detainee claims that the compound appeared to be run by people from the US and that he saw three US women and one US man at the site, along with five or six Pakistani men. One of the women from the US claimed her name was Mary. He was questioned at the site for long periods of time. Some of those working at this site had also been present at the ISID station in Lahore.

He says he was beaten almost every night and told it would stop if he talked to his captors. He was also deprived of sleep at this site. In his first week at this site he was only allowed to sleep for one hour at a time. During his first week at the ‘Villa’ Jabour believes he had two heart attacks. He was held alongside a number of prisoners including a Yemani, an Afghan, a Libyan, an Algerian, a Palestinian and two 16 year old boys. He was held at this site for more than a month. His detention at this site ended on 16 June 2004.

Al-Jabour was driven from the ‘Villa’ in Islamabad to an airport that was less than 20 minutes away. He was taken alongside the Palestinian, the Afghan and the Libyan from his detention at the ‘Villa’. Analysis by The Rendition Project and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has established that these men are likely to have been Abd al-Bari al-Filistini, Mustafa al-Mehdi and Qattal al-Uzbeki. At the airport al-Jabour was seen by a doctor who took his blood pressure and gave him an injection. The injection made him ‘woozy, but he did not pass out’.

After he had been seen by the doctor the detainees went on to what seemed like a military ’plane by its rear entrance. The ’plane had the four prisoners and about a dozen personnel on it. The prisoners had their hands ‘cuffed behind their backs, and their legs were cuffed and shackled to the floor’. The flight took about two hours and al-Jabour believes he was flown to Afghanistan. Once the ’plane landed al-Jabour and another detainee were put into a Jeep and driven along an unpaved road to an unknown detention site.

Al-Jabour believes that this site was in Afghanistan. The reasons he gave for this include the food he was served, that the weather got colder than in most parts of Pakistan and the fact that one of the site’s directors spoke fluent Farsi. He claims that all of the staff, with the possible exception of the site’s Arabic translators, were from the US. Al-Jabour was told that he was in US custody. The staff had US accents. He was held at this site for 25 months.
On arrival at the site al-Jabour was taken into a cell and had his clothes cut off him and one of his hands let out of the handcuffs. His other hand was cuffed to a ring on the wall. The cell was about one meter wide by two meters long. The cell had a video camera near the ceiling, speakers and a listening device built into its walls.

After his first night at the facility he was taken, still naked, into an interrogation room. The room had a number of people in it including women, a doctor and someone who made a video of al-Jabour’s body. He was told by the "emir" (director) of the site that if he cooperated, he would be treated well.

Al-Jabour was interrogated regularly. He was shown photos of many individuals and asked to identify them. On a number of occasions his interrogators threatened to put him into a wooden container that measured 1 by 1 metre. Al-Jabour referred to this container as a ‘dog box’ and claims that he was told it had been used to gain the cooperation of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

Al-Jabour states that he was slapped a number of times during the initial period of his detention, but was not beaten while held at this site. However, the site guards often cuffed him in uncomfortable positions and rock music was often played at high volumes for prolonged periods of time, lasting up to a week. Low intensity ‘white noise’ was a constant presence.

CIA records cited by the SSCI report confirm that al-Jabour was tortured during his time in CIA detention, including through the use of “rectal rehydration” without evidence of medical necessity.

After a fortnight at the site al-Jabour was provided with a Koran. He was given a prayer mat three months later. Over the course of his first eight months at this site he received clothes in a piecemeal fashion. This process ended when he was given a pair of shoes.

Al-Jabour claims that his treatment improved considerably after his first six months at this site. He was moved, briefly, from his original cell to a larger one only to be moved back again. However, shortly after, on 18 December 2004, he was taken to a cell in another block. While in this block al-Jabour was, among other things, taught to play chess, given a small computer game and allowed to play with a football. He was also given a prayer schedule. The times on the prayer schedule chime with those in Afghanistan.

The detainee estimates that while at this site he saw about 70 personnel, 25 of whom were guards and 45 of whom were civilian personnel. He claims that during his detention at this site it had three directors and 5 sub-directors. The site’s doctors, translators and interrogators all wore civilian clothing, whereas, its guards ‘wore black uniforms and gloves, and had black masks covering their eyes’.

Al-Jabour has stated that he saw one of two psychologists (one man of about 50 and one woman of about 55) every few months while at this site. Al-Jabour estimates that the second block held 25-30 prisoners and that about 12-15 detainees were held in the same area as him during his stay. He told Human Rights Watch that other detainees at the site included Hudaifa, Adnan, Abdul Basit, Abdul Yassir al-Jazeeri and Ayoub al-Libi.

On 20 July 2006, according to Jabour, he was told by the sub-director of the site that he would be leaving the site the following day. Given his recorded duration in CIA custody, it would actually have been at some point between 26 July 2006 and 4 August 2006. He was informed that he should be ready to leave at 6pm and that as the ’plane would have no toilet he would have to wear a diaper. Before being transferred al-Jabour had cotton put over his eyes, and in his ears, and rubber over that. Then they put a band around his head, a mask over his face, and head phones over his ears. His hands were cuffed in front and his legs were shackled. A belt was put around his legs, above the knees, and his handcuffs were attached to it. “I felt like a mummy”,’ al-Jabour said.

Next, al-Jabour was taken out to a car and laid down flat. He believes another prisoner was next to him. Analysis by The Rendition Project and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has established that this was likely to have been Abd al-Bari al-Filistini. The car drove for an hour before al-Jabour heard three shots being fired. At this point he was taken aggressively out of the car and stripped. Next his body was videotaped prior to being prepared for transit, as he had been earlier. Al-Jabour was placed in a ’plane which he assumes was a civilian ’plane as it had seats facing forward. Once the ’plane was airborne it flew for about three and a half to four hours. Al-Jabour had his blood pressure taken by a doctor.

Once the ’plane landed, al-Jabour was driven by car for about 40 minutes. After the drive al-Jabour was taken into a building and had the coverings removed from his face. He was told by a guard that he was in Amman, Jordan. He later found out that he was in the headquarters of Jordan’s security services.

On 14 August 2006 al-Jabour was visited by representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Two weeks later he was visited by family members.

On 18 September 2006 Jabour was driven to King Hussein Bridge (on the border between Jordan and the Israeli occupied West Bank) and transferred to Israeli custody.

While held in Israel, al-Jabour was given access to a lawyer and brought before a judge. He was released into Gaza after six weeks in Israeli custody.


Further Reading

This analysis of the rendition of Marwan Ibrahim Ali al-Jabour is based upon his first-hand account of his treatment to Human Rights Watch.

Human Rights Watch (2007) Ghost Prisoner: Two Years in Secret CIA Custody



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