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Fan of Shakira, Taylor Swift and Game of Thrones seeks release from Guantánamo

Dear friends and supporters,

Here at "Close Guantánamo," we have spent a significant amount of time over the last two years covering the Periodic Review Boards, the high-level, inter-agency process designed to ascertain whether prisoners previously assessed as "too dangerous to release" -- despite the fact that the government acknowledges that insufficient evidence exists to put them on trial -- can be released from Guantánamo.

This process has been moving far too slowly, but to date 14 men have been approved for release, just two have had their ongoing imprisonment without charge or trial defended by the review board, and three others are waiting.

In his latest article, Fan of Shakira, Taylor Swift and Game of Thrones Asks Review Board to Free Him from Guantánamo, As an Afghan is Approved for Release, "Close Guantánamo" co-founder Andy Worthington looks at the cases of two of these men -- Mohammed Kamin, an Afghan whose PRB we wrote about here, who was approved for release on October 7, and Mansoor al-Zahari, a Yemeni who went before the board on September 29.

As his lawyers explained to the board (including in a letter that was made available exclusively to us), Mansoor was hostile to the U.S. authorities until 2008 or 2009, when he was assigned a lawyer, Andy Hart, who succeeded in building a powerful rapport with him, encouraging him to engage with every opportunity for learning that was presented to him. As a result, Mansoor has become fluent in English and fascinated by U.S. culture, as the references to Shakira, Taylor Swift and Games of Thrones demonstrate. 

The chief problem with the slowness of the reviews, as Andy mentions in his article, is that, although 19 men have now had reviews, "50 others are awaiting reviews, and at the current rate the first round of reviews will not be completed until 2020 at the earliest."

Another major problem, as Andy also notes, is that six of the men approved for release by the PRBs -- and 37 others approved for release by President Obama's Guantánamo Review Task Force in 2010, are Yemenis, and "the entire U.S. establishment is unwilling to repatriate Yemenis, because of the security situation in Yemen," so that "third countries must be found that are prepared to offer them new homes."

As Andy writes at the conclusion of his article, "I very much hope that Mansoor will be approved for release, but more than that I hope that the Obama administration will soon find new homes for the many Yemenis approved for release who are still held, because otherwise being approved for release means nothing, and is, instead, a cruelty that would make even a dictator blanch."

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.
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