Khan v. Obama/Khan v. Gates/United States v. Khan

CCR has represented Majid Khan in three cases: Khan v. Obama, a habeas corpus petition filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia; Khan v. Gates, a petition for review under the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit; and United States v. Khan, a military commission prosecution at Guantánamo Bay.

CCR’s representation of Khan is part of our efforts to end indefinite detention without charge or trial and close Guantánamo and to ensure accountability for U.S. torture.  We were among the first attorneys to work on behalf of Guantánamo prisoners, and we will continue to do so until the prison is closed.

Majid Khan is unique among Guantánamo prisoners in two important respects. First, a citizen of Pakistan, he has long had political asylum status in the United States and other substantial ties to this country. He grew up outside of Baltimore, Maryland, graduated from Owings Mills High School, and lived and worked in the area. He is married and has a young daughter he has never met. Several of his other family members are U.S. citizens and still live near Baltimore.  Second, in March 2003, Khan was captured and forcibly disappeared by the United States. There is no serious dispute that he was abducted, imprisoned, and tortured by U.S. officials at secret overseas “black sites” operated by the Central Intelligence Agency before he was transferred to Guantánamo Bay in September 2006. Nor is there any serious dispute that Majid Khan’s detention and interrogation violated U.S. and international law.

Majid Khan’s torture is described at length in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on the CIA’s post-9/11 detention and interrogation program, key findings of which were released on December 9, 2014. The report describes some of the methods inflicted on Majid Khan, which were deliberately and systematically applied to cause him severe physical and psychological harm, but which produced no actionable intelligence. The report states that Majid Khan was subjected to torture methods such as sleep deprivation and nudity. The report also states that he was subjected to “rectal feeding,” a form of rape. In May 2015, CCR obtained declassified notes describing some of Khan’s personal recollections of his experience in secret detention, including additional details of his torture such as the fact that he was waterboarded and threatened with harm to himself and his family.

In its initial representation of Khan, CCR had to fight for more than a year just to meet with our client, as the government objected because of the “unique circumstances” of his case, which CCR argued was an attempt to conceal illegal conduct and acts that would embarrass the United States.  Because Khan was initially denied access to counsel in his habeas case, Khan v. Obama, he filed a petition for review under the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, Khan v. Gates.