[JURIST] The US Department of Defense (DOD) announced [press release] Friday that an alleged top al-Qaeda operative has been transferred from CIA custody to Guantanamo Bay. Muhammad Rahim, a former messenger for Osama bin Laden said to have helped the terrorist leader escape from Afghanistan in 2001, was captured by local authorities in Pakistan last summer and turned over to the CIA in August. Rahim is the second detainee to be transferred to military custody since the administration confirmed [JURIST report] 18 months ago that it had maintained a network of secret CIA prisons to interrogate key suspects. The DOD statement did not say where the CIA had held Rahim prior to his transfer. The last transfer of a "high-value" CIA detainee to Guantanamo was that of Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi [DOD profile, PDF], which occurred last April [JURIST report]. Neither the CIA nor the DOD have disclosed the details of Rahim's capture, or revealed how he was interrogated. The New York Times has more.
Under the Geneva Conventions [text], the International Committee of the Red Cross must be permitted to visit with Rahim and the other 277 detainees in Guantanamo. The Bush administration continues to differ with the Red Cross over how quickly such visits are required and has refused to allow its delegations inside the CIA's secret prisons. This past week, the ACLU filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] seeking to compel the US government to release unredacted transcripts of military hearings for 14 of the "high value" detainees, during which the prisoners allegedly described torture and abuse experienced while confined in CIA secret prisons. None of the "high value" detainees, including Rahim and al-Iraqi, have been been formally charged with any crime.