Dorsey and Whitney, LLP Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp Records
Language of Materials
This collection documents the detention of six Bahraini men at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp and their legal representation by a group of attorneys from the firm of Dorsey & Whitney, LLP. Included are correspondence, a variety of legal documents, and press from online and print sources.
With approximately 650 lawyers and 850 support staff, Dorsey & Whitney, LLP, is the 60th largest law firm in the United States with 19 offices in the U.S., Europe and Asia-Pacific The firm's home base and its largest office is in Minneapolis. It offers services in more than 50 different areas of legal practice. Dorsey was a 1993 charter signatory of the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge, which asks firms to contribute 3% of billable hours to pro bono work. As of 2008, Dorsey had met the challenge for 16 consecutive years. One of its many pro bono activities involved Guantanamo Bay detainees. At the request of the Center for Constitutional Rights in 2004, a team of Dorsey attorneys provided representation for six detainees from Bahrain.
In mid-2004 Dorsey lawyers filed an initial petition in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for writ of habeas corpus on behalf of the detainees (Isa Ali Abdulla Al Murbati, et al. v. George Walker Bush, et al.), beginning a process that lasted over three years. The case for the six Bahraini detainees was at times consolidated with others such as Khaled A.F. Al Odah, et al. v. United States of America, et al. and In re Guantanamo Detainee Cases, as there were many similar efforts underway to obtain for the detainees the right to challenge in federal courts their detention and conditions of confinement.
Dorsey attorneys visited the detainees a number of times at the Guantanamo Bay Camp and also traveled to Bahrain to meet with family members and government officials.
By August 2007 all six of the men had been released -- Adel Kamil Abdulla Haji (Al Wadi), Salman Bin Ibrahim Bin Mohammed Bin Ali Al Khalifa, and Abdullah Majed Sayyah Hasan Al Noaimi, in November 2005; Salah Abdul Rasul Ali Al Bloushi in October 2006; Jum'ah Mohammed Abdul Latif Al Dossari in July 2007; and Isa Ali Abdulla Al Murbati in August 2007.
Folders are arranged alphabetically with the exception of court documents, which are arranged in chronological order. The collection is composed of the following 3 series:
- Series I: Correspondence and Related Material, 2004-2007;
- Series II: Court Documents, 2004-2008;
- Series III: Press, 2004-2008.
Scope and Content Note
This collection describes the detention of six Bahraini nationals at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp and their representation by a group of attorneys from the firm Dorsey & Whitney, LLP. The sequence of events is recounted in three series, each using a different medium to tell the detainee stories.
Series I: Correspondence and Related Materials, 2004-2007. A great deal of the correspondence in this series involves the attorneys (primarily Joshua Colangelo-Bryan) and the detainees. It relates the progression of the various cases as well as descriptions of detainee treatment at the camp. Colangelo-Bryan outlines difficulties encountered in arranging meetings with detainees, shares with the men information from their families, and attempts to improve their morale and provide emotional support. There are also letters to and from the Department of Justice concerning ongoing legal issues. A dialog between the Dorsey team and government officials of Bahrain is included as are letters written to U.S. politicians voicing opposition to legislation affecting the rights of Guantanamo detainees.
Many of the letters involve Ju'mah Al Dossari who writes in great detail about his treatment at the camp. Mr. Dossari attempted suicide on numerous occasions before he was finally released, once during a visit by Colangelo-Bryan. Notes describing that event are included in the series. There is also a folder containing photocopies of photographs taken during the attorneys' visit to Bahrain. The photos were shared with the detainees.
Series II: Court Documents, 2004-2008. This series provides a chronology of the detainees' Guantanamo experience and legal challenges. It begins with material from Combatant Status Review Tribunals and Administrative Review Boards for each detainee. The reports outline the Government's representation of the capture of each man and the justification for his incarceration. Lengthy statements by several of the detainees describe conditions at the camp, interrogations, experiences while in custody at other locations, hunger strikes and medical treatment.
The remainder of the series documents the various cases that continued from the initial petition for writ of habeas corpus through the release of each detainee and the resolution of Al Odah v. U.S.A and Boumediene v. Bush, Supreme Court cases with which the Bahraini appeals were consolidated and which resulted in a June 12, 2008, decision holding that the prisoners had a right to the habeas corpus under the U.S. Constitution and that the Military Commissions Act of 2006 was an unconstitutional suspension of that right. By the time of this opinion, all of the Bahrain detainees had been released.
(Note: The consolidated case Al Odah v. U.S.A. appears in two forms - one referencing case numbers 05-5064 and 05-5095 - 05-5116 and the other numbers 05-5117 - 05-5027. Because the first case grouping is much more frequent, it has been considered the default. This numeric annotation is reflected in the folder title only if the documents are associated with the second case reference.)
Series III: Press, 2004-2008. The final series contains many news articles and essays collected by Dorsey & Whitney that relate to Guantanamo detention and activities involving the six Bahraini detainees. In two of the folders are items from the Arabic language press; all of the remaining material is in English. Many of the news articles come from online sources, particularly Bahrain's Gulf Daily News.
In addition, there are online articles and photocopies of print articles from English language international sources such as the BBC News, Aljazeera.com, Prensa Latina, Guardian, International Herald Tribune and a number of middle eastern online newspapers. Much U.S. press coverage (online and print) is included, from such diverse sources as Mother Jones, Crain's, CNN.com, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, military sources (e.g. American Forces Information Services, The Wire and press releases from the Department of Defense), New York Newsday, The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, USA Today, LA Times, Boston Globe and many others. There are printouts from websites such as Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, Common Dreams Newswire and The Raw Story.
Several lengthy essays from publications in the U.S. and the U.K. (e.g. The New Yorker, American Lawyer, The New York Review of Books, Harper's Magazine and The Telegraph) provide more detail and opinion. Press coverage from such a variety of perspectives helps give a more comprehensive overview of the experiences of the six Bahraini detainees in particular and the Guantanamo Detention Camp issues in general.
Conditions Governing Access
Repository permission is required for access. Please contact the Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive, firstname.lastname@example.org, 212-998-2630.
Conditions Governing Use
Copyright (or related rights to publicity and privacy) for materials in this collection, created by Dorsey & Whitney, LLP, was not transferred to New York University. Permission to use materials must be secured from the copyright holder.
Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date; Collection name; Collection number; box number; folder number;
Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012, New York University Libraries.
Donated by Dorsey & Whitney, LLP in 2009. The accession number associated with this collection is 2009.053.