View Part 1 (stream) Detention of Civilians by the United States and NATO in Afghanistan

View Part 2 (stream) Reforming US Detention Policy to Promote Security and Human Rights in Afghanistan

held: June 23rd, 2009, Washington, DC


Hope Metcalf is the Project Director of the National Litigation Project of the Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic at Yale Law School, which litigates civil liberties and human rights cases that arise out of U.S. counterterrorism policy. She is co-counsel in two damages actions challenging U.S. interrogation and detention policies, Padilla v. Rumsfeld and Mohammed v. Jeppesen, and has co-authored numerous amicus briefs at the Supreme Court and appellate court levels, including Boumediene v. Bush, Omar v. Geren, al-Marri v. Pucciarelli, and Arar v. Ashcroft. After graduating from New York University School of Law and clerking for the New Jersey Supreme Court, Ms. Metcalf practiced criminal defense and internal investigations at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP and Wiggin and Dana LLP. In private practice her pro bono docket included individual representation of undocumented workers, impact litigation on behalf of the healthcare rights of non-hearing persons, and projects in conjunction with the NLP.

Sahr Muhammed Ally
is a Senior Associate in the Law & Security Program at Human Rights First where she undertakes research and advocacy on U.S. counterterrorism and national security policies. Ms. Muhammed Ally has conducted fact-finding research in Afghanistan, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Pakistan. Before joining Human Rights First, Ms. Muhammed Ally worked at Human Rights Watch where she focused on counterterrorism issues in Asia. She is the author of Arbitrary Justice: Trials of Bagram and Guantanamo Detainees in Afghanistan and a forthcoming report on Bagram detentions. Ms. MuhammedAlly graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1995 and received her J.D. from Brooklyn Law School in 2002.

Barbara Olshansky
is the Litigation and Advocacy Director of the International Justice Network where she has helped lead the litigation on behalf of detainees at Bagram Prison. Ms. Olshansky is known for her groundbreaking work on the 2004 Rasul v. Bush, in which the Supreme Court of the United States found that American courts have jurisdiction over claims brought by Guantánamo detainees. She is also the co-author of several books, including Against War with Iraq and Democracy Detained: Secret, Unconstitutional Practices in the U.S. War on Terror. Ms. Olshansky also recently completed two years as the Leah Kaplan Distinguished Professor of Human Rights at Stanford Law School. Previous to coming to IJNetwork, Ms. Olshansky led the Global Justice Initiative at the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), and was its deputy legal director litigating civil and human rights cases.

Laura M. Olson is currently Senior Counsel for The Constitution Project in Washington, D.C. and President of Blackletter Consulting, LLC. From 1997-2008, she worked for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). From 2005-2007 she was Legal Advisor to the ICRC Regional Delegation in Washington, D.C. and responsible for legal support to ICRC activities in the U.S. and Canada, including for ICRC visits to the U.S. detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. She previously was Legal Advisor at the ICRC Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, and was Delegate responsible for the program to academic circles and universities at the ICRC Moscow Regional Delegation. Ms. Olson was recently a Visiting Scholar at Notre Dame Law School’s Center for Civil and Human Rights, an ASIL Fellow, and Project Director for ASIL’s Task Force on U.S. Policy Toward the International Criminal Court. Her writing covers matters of international humanitarian law, transitional justice, and the relationship between international humanitarian and human rights law during armed conflict.

Gabor Rona is International Legal Director of Human Rights First, where Mr. Rona advises Human Rights First programs on questions of international law and coordinates international human rights litigation. He also represents the organization with governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, the media and the public on matters of international human rights and international humanitarian law. Before coming to Human Rights First, Mr. Rona was a Legal Advisor in the Legal Division of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Geneva where he focused on the application of international humanitarian and human rights law in the context of counter-terrorism policies and practices and represented the ICRC in connection with the establishment of international and other criminal tribunals, including the International Criminal Court. Mr. Rona has taught International Humanitarian Law thoughout the world and does so currently at Columbia Law School, and he has been widely published.


Dr. Amir Attaran is an Associate Professor in Law and Medicine and holds the Canada Research Chair in Law, Population Health, and Global Development Policy at the University of Ottowa. Dr. Attaran uses his training as both a lawyer and a biologist to explore different drivers of human well-being, particularly regarding human rights, health, and international development. His current research interests include the financial and legal duties of international aid donors; evaluation of policy development in the UN’s technical agencies; and the engagement of the NATO militaries in the armed conflict in Afghanistan and its implications in human rights law and the law of armed conflict. Dr. Attaran has worked as an advisor to numerous NGOs, UN agencies, governments and corporations and published widely in academic journals and in the press.

Tina Monshipour Foster
is Executive Director of the International Justice Network and Litigation Facilitator for the National Litigation Project of the Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic at Yale Law School. As its founder, Ms. Foster has led IJNetwork’s groundbreaking legal cases on behalf foreign nationals who have been illegally detained abroad as part of US-led counterrorism efforts. This April, IJNetwork won the first legal ruling of its kind when a US Court in Maqaleh v. Gates granted detainees held without charge by the US government at Bagram Prison the right to challenge their detention in US courts, rights previously denied to foreign detainees in U.S. custody outside of the US or Guantánamo. Ms. Foster also works with NGOs on IJNetwork’s various human rights and rule of law projects around the world and as the Litigation Facilitator at Yale, where she helps to collaborate efforts among human rights and civil liberties advocates nationwide.

Jonathan Horowitz is an Open Society Institute consultant working on international and domestic counter-insurgency detentions in Afghanistan. Prior to this, as the Research Director for One World Research, Mr. Horowitz provided investigatory services in Afghanistan to U.S. civilian lawyers representing detainees at Guantánamo Bay and Bagram. He has also provided human rights investigation trainings to the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and coordinated human rights and asylum related investigations in Pakistan, Tajikistan, Honduras, and Guatemala. From 2005 to 2007, Mr. Horowitz was a United Nations human rights officer in Darfur and Khartoum, Sudan and later worked as a Darfur consultant for Human Rights Watch and as a Sudan analyst for the International Criminal Court. Mr. Horowitz has an LLM in international human rights law from the University of Essex, U.K.

Aziz Jamal is a Human Rights Investigator at the Afghanistan Human Rights Organization (AHRO), which is an independent, non-allied, non-governmental, non-political and humanitarian organization based in Afghanistan. AHRO was established to raise awareness of the daily human rights abuses taking place in Afghanistan, and to promote improved human rights situations in Afghanistan in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Jamal joined AHRO in January 2008 and works mainly in investigation of human rights cases; he also supports the programme section in the coordination of the on-going projects.

Ramzi Kassem is Clinical Lecturer in Law and Robert M. Cover Clinical Teaching Fellow at Yale Law School. Mr. Kassem presently co-teaches one clinical course on national security law and a second on worker and immigrant rights. Mr. Kassem is also counsel for a number of men at Guantánamo and Bagram, representing them in habeas and DTA litigation in federal courts and before the military commission at Guantánamo. Prior to joining the Yale faculty, Mr. Kassem served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Fordham University School of Law, where he co-taught the International Justice Clinic that represents Guantánamo Bay detainees. As a Civil Rights Fellow at Cochran Neufeld & Scheck, Mr. Kassem litigated high-impact cases stemming from wrongful convictions and police misconduct. He also served as legal consultant for the International Center for Transitional Justice in New York City. He is a graduate of Columbia Law School, the Sorbonne, and Columbia College.