Ex-Guantanamo detainee reportedly killed in Syria


Slimane-Hadj-Abderrahmane.jpg

On its Facebook page earlier this week, Islamisk Budskab in Denmark claimed that Slimane Hadj Abderrahmane was killed while fighting in Syria.

A former Guantanamo detainee named Slimane Hadj Abderrahmane has reportedly been killed while fighting in Syria. The Copenhagen Post and other Danish media outlets have cited multiple sources indicating that Abderrahmane was killed earlier this month, but the Danish intelligence agency (PET) has not yet confirmed or denied these reports.

Abderrahmane, who was born to a Danish mother and an Algerian father, was detained while fleeing Afghanistan in late 2001 and transferred to the Guantanamo detention facility, where he was held until early 2004.

According to a leaked Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO) threat assessment dated Dec. 6, 2003, US officials deemed Abderrahmane a "high" risk "threat to the US, its interests, or its allies."

JTF-GTMO also recommended that Abderrahmane be retained in the Defense Department's custody. However, less than three months later, on Feb. 24, 2004, he was transferred to his home country of Denmark.

The Facebook page for a group named Islamisk Budskab in Denmark announced Abderrahmane's martyrdom earlier this week. The group, which has al Qaeda in Iraq's flag on the header of its Facebook page, said that Danes should be "proud" of Abderrahmane because he finally achieved his goal.

The group wrote that Abderrahmane "was a man who could not stand to see Muslims suppressed, so a few months ago he traveled to Syria to once again perform Jihad and do his duty to fight Allah's enemies." Islamisk Budskab also set up a bank account for donations to support Abderrahmane's wife and two daughters.

Controversial remarks after transfer from Cuba

After his transfer from Guantanamo, Abderrahmane made a number of controversial comments to the press. American officials had him sign an agreement that he would not wage jihad against the US or its allies. Such agreements were standard at Guantanamo, according to senior intelligence officials contacted by The Long War Journal.

But after he left Guantanamo in 2004, Abderrahmane announced that the agreement was the equivalent of "toilet paper." Citing Abderrahmane's appearance on Danish television, BBC News reported that the ex-Gitmo detainee promised to "try to find a way to Chechnya."

"I am going to Chechnya and fight for the Muslims," Abderrahmane swore. "The Muslims are oppressed in Chechnya and the Russians are carrying out terror against them."

Abderrahmane also said that Danish officials may be legitimate targets for terrorist attacks given their support of the Iraq War.

Despite his controversial remarks, Abderrahmane was given a job at the postal service. He was "convicted of stealing credit cards" while working as a postman in 2007, according to The Copenhagen Post.

"GSPC member and al Qaeda sympathizer"

The leaked JTF-GTMO threat assessment describes Abderrahmane as a well-connected member of the GSPC (or Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat), a jihadist group that maintained significant ties to al Qaeda before formally merging with bin Laden's operation and renaming itself al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in 2007.

JTF-GTMO found that Abderrahmane "was recruited to be a courier" for the GSPC, and "transported equipment, money and false documents between the United Kingdom (UK), Algeria, Germany, Spain, Mali, and Denmark."

JTF-GTMO further alleged that Abderrahmane "was involved with the highest leadership of the GSPC while conducting his courier duties."

Several well-known al Qaeda-linked jihadists are listed as Abderrahmane's associates in the JTF-GTMO file.

One of them is Abu Hamza, the former imam of the Finsbury Mosque in London who was arrested by British authorities in 2004 and extradited to the US in October 2012 to stand trial on terrorism charges. Abu Hamza has well-known ties to al Qaeda. JTF-GTMO alleged that he was a "close associate" of Abderrahmane.

A second jihadist listed in the file is Jaffar al Jazeeri, an al Qaeda facilitator who greeted Abderrahmane in Afghanistan in August 2001. Abderrahmane was just beginning to cement his ties to al Qaeda in Afghanistan when the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks occurred, according to JTF-GTMO.

And a third jihadist listed in the file is Bensayah Belkacem, the leader of the so-called "Algerian Six." Belkacem and five others were initially suspected of plotting an attack on a US Embassy and other targets in late 2001, but were acquitted by a Bosnian court of the charges.

American officials detained the six and transferred them to Guantanamo in 2002. Five of the six ultimately had their habeas corpus petitions granted by a DC District Court judge and were transferred. Belkacem had his petition denied and he remains at Guantanamo. He is one of the 55 detainees currently held at Guantanamo who has been approved for transfer by the Obama administration.

Belkacem is described in the leaked threat assessment for Abderrahmane as an "al Qaeda contact" and Osama bin Laden's "representative in the Balkans."

Abderrahmane had "connections" to Belkacem, JTF-GTMO alleged, but the substance of these ties was not specified.

In addition, the JTF-GTMO file reads: "[Abderrahmane] is also associated with many GSPC members that are also associated with the Al Qaeda Zarqawi network." This last bit of intelligence is especially intriguing as it is known that members of al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) have played an instrumental role in setting up the Al Nusrah Front in Syria. Jihadists who fought alongside deceased AQI emir Abu Musab al Zarqawi have taken on leadership roles within Al Nusrah.

If these latest reports concerning Abderrahmane's fate are accurate, then it is likely he died fighting for Al Nusrah or one of the other al Qaeda-linked groups in Syria, such as the Muhajireen Brigade, which includes leaders and fighters from the Islamic Caucasus Emirate. His desire for 'martyrdom' was, therefore, finally granted.



Advertisement:


READER COMMENTS: "Ex-Guantanamo detainee reportedly killed in Syria"

Posted by Niels Brinch at February 20, 2013 6:42 PM ET:

Regarding Abderahmane he was convicted in 2007 while he was working as a postman in the city of Greve outside of Copenhagen, Ha had stolen two passports and 3 creditcards, that he used to withdraw 100.000 kroner -approx 16.000 US dollars. He was sentenced 10 months in prison.


]

Posted by tONY LARREMORE at February 20, 2013 8:37 PM ET:

Good!

Posted by Knighthawk at February 20, 2013 10:01 PM ET:

Excellent news.

Posted by Leroy marnolejo at February 20, 2013 10:03 PM ET:

You got a chance to be free and you blew it!!!!!

Posted by Witch Doctor at February 21, 2013 12:16 AM ET:

If the article is accurate an I am sure it is, why do we let these people out?

We are turning into a nation where political appearance is outweighing what is good for our country.

And @blert, you are a great asset to this blog. Thank you for having the patience to spell it out for my interested, but uneducated self. I am smarter for your postings, thank you.

Posted by Thomas Weaver at February 21, 2013 5:10 AM ET:

Hmmm, I wonder if any of those offenders that were transferred to Guantanamo recall that 'special' out patient treatment when they checked in?
Oh, you didn't? Well that ultra small micro chip that they inplanted shows up so well on most GPS tracking devices and of course, all drone weapons have that following capability as well.
You never realized that? Did you ever wonder why they so readily released and transferred you?
Ooops, did I let the cat out of the bag? (There's a pun in there somewhere)

Posted by Mr T at February 21, 2013 5:31 PM ET:

Weaver,

Now you let them know about the chip. You know they can find that chip if they look for it. It is somewhat painful and humiliating for the searcher and the searchee but if they want to protect themselves from drone attacks, they will need to do that search. Some of the Al Qaeda types are sick enough, they may enjoy it.

So now they know. Happy hunting.

Posted by Witch Doctor at February 22, 2013 11:24 PM ET:

@Mr.T my medic friends in Afghanistan are saying that the locals are enjoying searching for the chip. I am not kidding. They spend more time treating the local male population for STD's than they do for any other type of disease. I wonder if trading STD's is permitted under Sharia law?

Posted by Nic at February 24, 2013 12:05 PM ET:

"If the article is accurate an I am sure it is, why do we let these people out?" Good thinking!! If we caught Hitler would we let him go? Hell no!! Terrorists have a one track mind, hard wired to kill for Allah. They are similar to the Japs in WW II, crazy SOBs. Unfortunately, we here in the United States are burdened with a form of stupidity called Political Correctness. We release a person whom we know wants to kill us. Catch and release is great for bass fishing but not for terrorists. LWJ has printed many stories about the members of the Gitmo Alumni Club who returned to their chosen line of work, killing Americans.