Check out our definitive Periodic Review Board list
Dear friends and supporters,
As we approach President Obama's last year in office -- and the 14th anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo, taking place in January -- it is hugely important that the president increases the rate at which prisoners approved for release are being freed from the prison, and that prisoners not recommended for release are given the Periodic Review Boards they were first promised nearly five years ago.
In a new initiative, Andy Worthington has compiled the first definitive annotated list of all the prisoners eligible for Periodic Review Boards
, which lists not only the 20 men who have so far had reviews, but also the 44 others who are awaiting reviews.
The PRBs are extremely significant, because they were set up to review the cases of 46 men regarded as "too dangerous to release" by the high-level, inter-agency Guantánamo Review Task Force that President Obama established shortly after first taking office in 2009. Significantly, the task force members also acknowledged that there was insufficient evidence to put these men on trial, meaning, of course, that the so-called evidence was not evidence at all, but unreliable information, much of it derived through the use of torture and other forms of abuse.
The PRBs were supposed to start after President Obama issued an executive order
authorizing these men's ongoing imprisonment without charge or trial, which took place on March 7, 2011, but, shamefully, they did not begin until November 2013, even though the Executive Order stated, "For each detainee, an initial review shall commence as soon as possible but no later than 1 year from the date of this order."
By the time the PRBs began, 25 men initially recommended for trials had been added to the list of those eligible for reviews, making 71 men in total. Seven were then removed -- five were freed, and two put back for trials -- leaving 64, and these are the men covered in the list. Just four of them have been freed, meaning that the list looks at 60 of the 107 men still held, the others having been approved for release by the task force (37 men), or put forward for trials (just ten men in total).
The list provides links to the reviews of the 20 men whose cases have so far been reviewed, which we have been covering in depth here at "Close Guantánamo" since the PRBs began, and also lists the 44 others, divided equally between those the task force recommended for ongoing imprisonment without charge or trial, and those recommended for trials. They include a number of men held and tortured in CIA "black sites" -- and also in Guantánamo -- as well as others who had their habeas corpus petitions turned down years ago, and those listed include CIA torture victim Abu Zubaydah and best-selling author Mohamedou Ould Slahi.
For further information, also see Andy's article, "Presenting the First Annotated List of the 64 Guantánamo Prisoners Eligible for Periodic Review Boards
," introducing the list, and if you want to do more, please call the White House on 202-456-1111 or 202-456-1414 and ask President Obama to speed up the PRB process. You can also submit a comment online
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
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