Another man freed, prisoner lists and hunger strikes
Dear friends and supporters,
In our most recent articles here at "Close Guantánamo," we have been trying to keep the prison in the public eye, as the weeks turned to months since the last prisoner was released. There was a flurry of activity in the run-up to the 12th anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo in January, with nine prisoners released in December, but then we saw a return to the much more familiar silence and inaction from the Obama administration.
Today, however, we're delighted to note that another prisoner has been freed -- Ahmed Belbacha, an Algerian who was first cleared for release by a review board under President Bush in 2006, and again by President Obama's Guantánamo Review Task Force in 2009. Ahmed spent years fighting repatriation in the US courts, but is now apparently satisfied that he will not be subjected to ill-treatment on his return. We will be covering this story in detail soon, but for more now please see this press release by Reprieve
. There are now 154 prisoners remaining at Guantánamo, and 76 of these men have been cleared for release.
Last week, after the investigative journalist Jason Leopold obtained, through FOIA legislation, a list of the 71 Guantánamo prisoners who were determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013, Andy Worthington analyzed the list for an article entitled, "A Few Surprises in the New Guantánamo Prisoner List
," and explained which of the men who had been recommended for prosecution by President Obama's high-level, inter-agency Guantánamo Review Task Force in 2010 were now to be put forward for reviews as an alternative to prosecution, joining 46 others who has specifically been approved for reviews when they were consigned by the task force to ongoing imprisonment without charge or trial.
The results, we believe, are both interesting and enlightening, although, above all, as Andy notes, the Obama administration needs to release the 76 prisoners already cleared for release, and to speed up significantly the process of conducting the Periodic Review Boards, which, at the current rate (two since October), will not be completed until 2031.
After the article was completed, Andy added the information to our prisoner list
, which we hope you find useful.
In addition, Andy has also recently updated the definitive prisoner list on his own website
, which he first published five years ago, in March 2009, and last updated in April 2012. Providing a list of all the prisoners held at Guantánamo since it opened, and links to everything Andy has written about them in the last eight years, this project has been expanded from four parts to six, and also includes more photos of the prisoners than before.
Here at "Close Guantánamo," Andy's latest article is entitled, "Guantánamo Prisoner Force-Fed Since 2007 Launches Historic Legal Challenge
," and in it he reports on a historic legal challenge mounted on March 11 by Emad Hassan, a Yemeni prisoner cleared for release by the task force, who, nevertheless, has been on a hunger strike -- and horribly force-fed -- since 2007. As a result of an appeals court ruling last month, overruling a 2009 decision -- and two rulings last summer -- claiming that the courts have no say in how the authorities treat prisoners at Guantánamo, Emad Hassan is the first prisoner to test the parameters of this new ruling in court.
A decision is expected by the end of the month, but until then, we thank you, as ever, for your support, and ask you to 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.
The "Close Guantánamo" team