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Guantánamo: first detainee transfer under Biden welcomed, but camp must close

Many at the camp have supposedly been cleared for release for years © Amnesty USA

Two decades on, 39 still held at the notorious detention centre

Toffiq al-Bihani’s case highlighted - tortured and held without charge since 2003

‘The detention facility has been allowed to stay open for far too long’ - Daphne Eviatar

Responding to the US authorities’ transfer of the first detainee out of Guantánamo Bay under the administration of President Joe Biden, Daphne Eviatar, Director of the Amnesty International USA’s Security With Human Rights programme, said:

“The Biden administration’s first transfer out of Guantánamo is a welcome step. 

“Now we need to see the remaining ten detainees already cleared for release transferred quickly. And we need to see clear plans for shuttering this unlawful facility once and for all.

“The detention facility has been allowed to stay open for far too long, now holding thirty-nine people for almost two decades, most without charge or trial.”

Still held without charge

Amnesty continues to campaign for the release of Toffiq al-Bihani and dozens of others unlawfully imprisoned in the facility, while calling for its closure. 

Al-Bihani, was sent to Guantánamo in 2003, tortured by the CIA and held without charge or trial by the US authorities ever since. In January 2010, the US authorities determined that al-Bihani could be transferred to Yemen if the security situation improved there, or to a third country. Saudi Arabia, where al-Bihani has eleven brothers and sisters, agreed to accept him, yet he remains in detention.

In January, Amnesty reported on ongoing human rights violations at Guantánamo, as detentions entered their 20th year. The report called for renewed urgency on the issue, accompanied by a genuine commitment to truth, accountability and remedy, as well as a recognition that indefinite detention at Guantánamo must not be allowed to continue. 

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