Fawzi al-Odah traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan in 2001 for the stated purpose of teaching and doing charity work. He was among a group of non-Pakistanis detained in Pakistan in late 2001 who were subsequently turned over to U.S. forces, detained in Kandahar, and later flown to Guantánamo. He alleges having been tortured by U.S. forces and was subjected to forced feeding during a hunger strike at Guantánamo. After his capture, Fawzi al-Odah's father organized the Kuwaiti Family Committee, an organization of relatives of Kuwaitis detained by the U.S. As a member of the Kuwaiti Air Force, the elder al-Odah had flown missions with U.S. servicemen during the Persian Gulf War.
Fawzi al-Odah sued the U.S. government, and his case was consolidated with that of another Guantanamo detainee, Lakhdar Boumediene. In June 2008, the Supreme Court's ruling in Boumediene v. Bush established the right of habeas corpus for Guantanamo detainees, that is, the right to have a judge review the legality of their detention.
Fawzi al-Odah's petition for habeas corpus was denied two years later. Although the judge raised significant concerns about the accuracy of the government's evidence because of its basis on "unfinished intelligence," multiple layers of hearsay, translation errors, and other serious flaws, she based her ruling on doubts about al-Odah's credibility. The denial of Fawzi al-Odah's habeas petition was subsequently upheld on appeal.
Fayiz al-Kandari has said he went to Afghanistan as a student in 2001 during his summer vacation to deliver humanitarian aid, which included building two wells and repairing a mosque. He said that he had decided to go to Pakistan in the aftermath of the U.S invasion after seeing a leaflet encouraging Afghans to turn in Arabs in exchange for bounties. He was captured by Afghan forces in December 2001 as he tried to cross the mountains into Pakistan and was sold to the U.S. military.
After being detained by U.S. forces, al-Kandari wrote in a message to his family that an American investigator had questioned him and found nothing against him, leading him to believe he would soon be released. He wrote a message conveyed by the Red Cross that "if the construction of a mosque?or the digging of a well is a sin that makes me a detainee, then I willingly accept my detention." According to his military attorney, al-Kandari was subjected to a variety of illegal and abusive tactics, including sleep deprivation, stress positions, loud music and temperature extremes.
Al-Kandari's petition for habeas corpus was denied in September 2010. As in the case of Fawzi al-Odah, the judge cited inconsistencies in details of his testimony as the grounds for her ruling, even though she also expressed concerns about the reliability of the government's evidence.