900 days of the Gitmo Clock - and the latest news about Guantánamo's review boards
Dear friends and supporters,
In the summer of 2013, we set up the Gitmo Clock
to mark how many days it was since President Obama's promise, in May 2013, to resume releasing prisoners from Guantánamo after a period of nearly three years in which just five prisoners had been released, even though 86 of the men still held at that time had been approved for release.
The president's promise came in response to a prison-wide hunger strike and widespread criticism of his inaction, and since that period of paralysis came to an end, 54 prisoners have been released, as the clock shows
This is commendable, but 53 men approved for release are still held, out of the 112 men still in Guantánamo
. 41 of these men were approved for release in January 2010 by the high-level, inter-agency Guantánamo Review Task Force that President Obama established shortly after taking office in January 2009. 12 others have been approved for release since January 2014, through the deliberations of Periodic Review Boards, another high-level governmental review process, which was established to review the cases of all the prisoners not approved for release by the task force, except the small number -- just ten -- facing trials.
So although there has been progress since 2013, it is abundantly clear that President Obama needs to speed up the process of releasing prisoners in the months to come -- preferably before any new restrictions imposed by Congress kick in in the new year.
Please visit, like and share the Gitmo Clock
to raise awareness of the current situation.
The latest news from the Periodic Review Boards
In his latest article, Eroding Hyperbole: The Steady Reclassification of Guantánamo's "Forever Prisoners"
, Andy Worthington looks at the latest news from the Periodic Review Boards -- the approval for release of another prisoner, Mansoor al-Zahari, a Yemeni, making 15 victories for the prisoners out of 18 cases so far decided (in other words, a success rate of 83%!), and the unfortunate decision to consign another man, Moath al-Alwi, another Yemeni, and a long-term hunger striker, to ongoing imprisonment without charge or trial, even though there is no evidence that he poses a threat to the U.S.
While the main problem with the PRBs is that they are moving far too slowly, with 45 other men awaiting reviews (which, at the current rate, will not be completed until the end of 2020), it is also important to recognize that a majority of the men approved for release -- 44 out of the 53 -- are Yemenis, and that a third country must be found that will offer them new homes, given that the entire U.S. establishment, across the political spectrum, is unwilling to repatriate them, fearing the security situation in their homeland.
Within the next six weeks, we'll be revamping the Gitmo Clock for a new initiative, counting down to the end of the Obama Presidency, for which we hope to enlist your support. For now, however, if you would like to take action to encourage the administration to work harder in finding new homes for the prisoners approved for release:
Please call the White House on 202-456-1111 or 202-456-1414 or submit a comment online.
You can also call the Department of Defense and ask Defense Secretary Ashton Carter to issue certifications for other cleared prisoners, as required by law: 703-571-3343.
With thanks, as ever, for your support.
The "Close Guantánamo" team
P.S. Please, if you will, also ask your friends and family to join us
-- just an email address is required to be counted amongst those opposed to the ongoing existence of Guantánamo, and to receive updates of our activities by email. Please also note that we can be found on Twitter here
and on Facebook here