Guantánamo’s population reaches 76
Dear friends and supporters,
When President Obama took office in January 2009, 242 men were still held at Guantánamo. That number has now fallen to 76, with the release of three men, whose stories our co-founder Andy Worthington has written about here: 76 Men Left in Guantánamo, as Yemeni Approved for Release in 2010 Starts New Life in Italy, and a Yemeni and the Last Tajik Go to Serbia
This is definitely progress, and it is also reassuring that another 19 or 20 men are set to be released in the near future, according to reports in May, which Andy wrote about here
However, it seems unlikely that President Obama will succeed in closing Guantánamo before he leaves office, because of the ongoing Congressional ban on bringing prisoners from Guantánamo to the U.S. mainland for any reason.
That said, it is reasonable to assume that only around 40 men will be held by the time he leave office — ten facing trials, and the rest having had their ongoing imprisonment approved by Periodic Review Boards, the most recent review process, set up in 2013, which we have been following closely. See our definitive PRB list here
We hope that the next president will finally finish what President Obama started, working out how to move the remaining prisoners to the U.S. mainland so that Guantánamo itself can finally be closed, and we will be making preparations for putting pressure on the next president as we get closer to that time.
For now, however, we believe it is important to keep pressure on President Obama, and to that end we’d like to thank everyone who sent in photos of themselves with posters for the latest stage of the Countdown to Close Guantánamo on July 3, when there were 200 days left for President Obama to close the prison as he promised when he first took office in 2009. If you missed our earlier posts about the Countdown, it began in January, when Andy appeared on Democracy Now! with music legend Roger Waters
, and it has involved campaigners for the closure of Guantánamo taken photos of themselves every 50 days reminding President Obama how many days he has left.
Please check out all the photos here
, and please be aware that the next stage of the countdown — reminding President Obama that he has just 150 days left — is on August 22. You can print off a poster
, take a photo with it, and send it to us anytime, at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please also visit, like, share and tweet the Gitmo Clock
, which we set up a few months ago, and which is counting down every day, hour, minute and second that President Obama has left to close Guantánamo.
For further information about Guantánamo, feel free to listen to Andy talking to Linda Olson-Osterlund
on the community radio station KBOO FM in Portland, Oregon. The MP3 for the show is here
Supporters may also be interested to know that Andy’s band The Four Fathers have re-recorded Andy’s “Song for Shaker Aamer
,” which was featured in the campaign video
for the We Stand With Shaker
campaign that Andy launched with activist Joanne MacInnes in November 2014 to campaign for the release of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in Guantánamo, who was finally freed last October. The re-recorded version features new vocals, reflecting Shaker’s release, and you can listen to it here for free — or buy it as a download
. It’s from the band’s newly released Fighting Injustice EP
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