Ahmed Belbacha was cleared for release from Guantánamo five years ago. Why is he still held?
Ahmed, a refugee from Islamist militants in his home country, was cleared for release from Guantánamo over five years ago, in February 2007, but is still held because he is terrified of being repatriated -- and with good reason. Not only did he leave the country of his birth because he was threatened by Islamists, but in 2010 the Algerian government gave him a show trial in his absence -- resulting in a 20-year sentence -- for no reason except to punish him for speaking out about his fears of returning home.
Ahmed's story is the latest prisoner profile here at "Close Guantánamo," and the article about him, written by Andy Worthington and drawing on material provide by his lawyers at the legal action charity Reprieve, is entitled, "Ahmed Belbacha, A Refugee in Guantánamo, Has Been Waiting for a New Home for Five Years."
If Ahmed's long wait for a new home angers you or upsets you, please be aware that there are many more men like him in Guantánamo, waiting, seemingly forever, for a new home. And consider too that Ahmed has been offered a home in Amherst, Massachusetts, but the Obama administration, Congress and the U.S. courts have all raised obstacles to prevent him from taking up this kind offer.
To find out more about the offer made by Amherst, and to find out how you can help mobilize your community in support of cleared prisoners who cannot be safely repatriated, please visit the website of "No More Guantánamos," the organization behind the Amherst resolution, which has also been involved in the successful passage of similar resolutions in Leverett, Massachusetts and Berkeley, California.
As ever, we thank you for your support, and, to help us to continue to push for the closure of Guantánamo, and to build a campaign to call for the release of prisoners in the U.S., please forward this email to your family and friends, and ask them to join us -- just an email is required!