Appendix I. Letter to the US officials

September 27, 2006

Sandy Hodgkinson

U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Ms. Hodgkinson:

I am writing to you for information about the seven Russian citizens who were repatriated to the Russian Federation from the US detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on February 28, 2004.

Russian and U.S. media have provided somewhat contradictory accounts of this repatriation, so I hope to ascertain the facts by turning directly to you. Human Rights Watch is currently preparing a report on the treatment of former Guantanamo detainees after the return to Russia, and this information will be critical to providing a full account of their experience.

As you may know, Human Rights Watch is an international human rights research and advocacy organization, working in more than 70 countries around the world. For the accuracy and credibility of our reports, we seek information about human rights abuse from a wide variety of sources, including governments.

In particular, we are interested in the following information:

1) The U.S. State Department’s statement on March 1, 2004 says that “The transfer is the result of discussions between our two governments over the past year, including assurances that the individuals will be detained, investigated and prosecuted, as appropriate, under Russian law and will be treated humanely in accordance with Russian law and obligations.” What was the substance of these assurances? Were they made in written or oral form? If written form, could a copy of them be provided to Human Rights Watch?

2) The detainees with whom I spoke said that they talked to both US officials and the ICRC about their fears of being returned to Russia. Did anyone in the US government respond formally to the detainees’ concerns? Did the ICRC convey the detainees’ concerns to the US government, and if so, how did the US government respond to them?

3) Did the U.S. government put in place any monitoring mechanism to determine if the detainees were, in fact, treated humanely by the Russians after their return?

4) The March 1, 2004 statement of the General Procuracy of the Russian Federation stated that “charges had been filed” against all seven detainees. Did the U.S. government provide case files on the detainees to the Russian government to substantiate such charges?

5) Why was Russian citizen Ravil Mingazov not part of the agreement that secured the release of the other seven detainees? Is the Russian government currently attempting to secure his release from Guantanamo?

6) Did the Russian government give advance notice to the U.S. government that it intended to release the seven men on June 22, 2004? If not, how did the U.S. government learn of their release? Did the U.S. government raise any objections to their release, either before or after June 22, 2004?

Thank you in advance for your assistance. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at 212-216-1244.


Carroll Bogert

Associate Director

Human Rights Watch