US: Release Cleared Men From Guantánamo

Toffiq al-Bihani (c) private
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Under the presidential administration of Joseph Biden in the USA, four men have been transferred out of the military prison at the US naval base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
In July 2021 the Biden administration transferred a 56-year-old Moroccan citizen, Abdul Latif Nasser, to Morocco. Nasser had been cleared for release in 2016, but was held in Guantánamo for another five years. In total, he spent 19 years at Guantánamo without being charged.

In April 2022 the US government repatriated Sufyian Barhoumi to Algeria. He was captured in Pakistan in March 2002 and soon taken to Guantánamo Bay, where he never faced trial. He was notified under the Obama administration in August 2016 that he was eligible for release, but his case was stalled by a Trump administration policy that generally halted transfers.

 In March 2022 the US government repatriated detainee Mohammed al-Qahtani to Saudi Arabia for mental health care. al-Qahtani was tortured so badly by US authorities that he was found ineligible for trial as the alleged 20th hijacker in the September 11th attacks.

In June 2022 Asadullah Haroon Gul, an Afghan prisoner held in US custody for nearly 15 years, was released from Guantánamo pursuant to a U.S. federal court order.
While these transfers are welcome, the administration must move much more quickly to transfer out the remaining 19 men cleared to leave, and to transfer, release or bring to a judicial resolution all those who remain. 

Amnesty International calls on the Biden administration to close the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay once and for all. All those still detained there must either be released and transferred out or if there is sufficient admissible evidence under international law to prosecute internationally recognizable criminal offences then the authorities should do so through fair judicial resolution before a federal court without recourse to the death penalty. Detainees held at Guantánamo and elsewhere by the USA since 9/11 have been subjected to torture and enforced disappearance. The USA must investigate and bring suspected perpetrators of these crimes under international law to justice, whatever their current or former level of office. 

Closing Guantánamo is not only about the current detentions, but also about crimes under international law from the past 20 years and the lack of accountability and remedy for them. 

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