Write to the Guantánamo Prisoners, Don’t Let Them Be Forgotten


Photos of some of the Guantanamo prisoners, made available when classified military files from Guantanamo were released by WikiLeaks in 2011.Every six months, I ask people to write to the prisoners in Guantánamo, to let them — and the US authorities — know that they have not been forgotten.

The letter-writing campaign was started five years ago by two Facebook friends, Shahrina J. Ahmed and Mahfuja Bint Ammu, and it has been repeated every six months (see here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here for my articles encouraging opponents of Guantánamo to write to the prisoners). Their latest campaign coincided with the start of Ramadan, on June 12, and I’m following up in the hope that, as Ramadan continues, you too can send a letter to some or all of the men to let them know they’ve not been forgotten.

See the video here of former prisoner Omar Deghayes explaining how important it is to receive cards and letters from the outside world.

Since the start of February, when — slightly belatedly — I last encouraged opponents of Guantánamo to write to the prisoners, just six men have been released. 116 men are now held — 44 cleared for release in January 2010 by the high-level, inter-agency Guantánamo Review Task Force established by President Obama when he took office in 2009, and eight others cleared for release in the last year and a half by a new review process, the Periodic Review Boards, which started in 2013.

In the list below, I have divided the remaining 116 prisoners into those cleared for release (52), those listed as being eligible for Periodic Review Boards (54) and those charged or tried in the military commissions system (10). Please note that I have largely kept the spelling used by the US authorities in the “Final Dispositions” of the Guantánamo Review Task Force, which was released through FOIA legislation in June 2013. Even though these names are often inaccurate, they are the names by which the men are officially known in Guantánamo  — even though, in their everyday dealings with the US authorities, they are all still referred to, not as human beings with names, but as numbers.

Writing to the prisoners

If you are an Arabic speaker, or speak any other languages spoken by the prisoners besides English, feel free to write in those languages. Do please note that any messages that can be construed as political should be avoided, as they may lead to the letters not making it past the Pentagon’s censors, but be aware that your messages may not get through anyway — although please don’t let that put you off.

When writing to the prisoners please ensure you include their full name and ISN (internment serial number) below (these are the numbers before their names, i.e. Shaker Aamer is ISN 239).

Please address all letters to:

Detainee Name
Detainee ISN
U.S. Naval Station
Guantánamo Bay
Washington, D.C. 20355
United States of America

Please also include a return address on the envelope.

The 52 prisoners approved for release

Below are the names of the 52 prisoners in Guantánamo — out of the remaining 116 — who have been cleared for release — or “approved for transfer,” as the authorities prefer. The phrase used by the task force to describe the recommendations for the first 14 of these men was “[t]ransfer to a country outside the United States that will implement appropriate security measures.” Their identities were first revealed in September 2012. See below for the 30 other Yemenis recommended for “conditional detention,” and also for the eight men recommended for release last year and this year by Periodic Review Boards.

The 7 non-Yemeni prisoners approved for release

ISN 038 Ridah Bin Saleh al Yazidi (Tunisia)
ISN 189 Salem Abdu Salam Ghereby (Libya)
ISN 197 Younis Abdurrahman Chekkouri (Morocco)
ISN 239 Shaker Aamer (UK-Saudi Arabia)
ISN 257 Imar Hamzayavich Abdulayev (Tajikistan)
ISN 309 Mjuayn Al-Din Jamal Al-Din Abd Al Fadhil Abd Al-Sattar (UAE)
ISN 757 Ahmed Abdel Aziz (Mauritania)

The 7 Yemeni prisoners approved for release

ISN 153 Fayiz Ahmad Yahia Suleiman (Yemen)
ISN 163 Khalid Abd Al Jabbar Muhammad Uthman Al Qadasi (Yemen)
ISN 249 Muhammed Abdullah Al Hamiri (Yemen)
ISN 255 Said Muhammad Salih Hatim (Yemen)
ISN 511 Sulaiman Awath Silaiman Bin Agell Al Nahdi (Yemen)
ISN 554 Fahmi Salem Said Al-Asani (Yemen)
ISN 566 Mansour Mohamed Mutaya Ali (Yemen)

The 30 Yemeni prisoners approved for release but designated for “conditional detention”

These men were cleared for release by the task force, although the task force members conjured up a new category for them, “conditional detention,” which it described as being “based on the current security environment in that country.” The task force added, “They are not approved for repatriation to Yemen at this time, but may be transferred to third countries, or repatriated to Yemen in the future if the current moratorium on transfers to Yemen is lifted and other security conditions are met.”

ISN 026 Fahed Abdullah Ahmad Ghazi (Yemen)
ISN 030 Ahmed Umar Abdullah al-Hikimi (Yemen)
ISN 033 Mohammed Al-Adahi (Yemen)
ISN 040 Abdel Qadir Al-Mudafari (Yemen)
ISN 043 Samir Naji Al Hasan Moqbil (Yemen)
ISN 088 Adham Mohamed Ali Awad (Yemen)
ISN 091 Abdel Al Saleh (Yemen)
ISN 115 Abdul Rahman Mohammed Saleh (Yemen)
ISN 117 Mukhtar Anaje (Yemen)
ISN 165 Adil Said Haj Ubayd (Yemen)
ISN 167 Ali Yahya Mahdi (Yemen)
ISN 171 Abu Bakr ibn Ali Muhammad al Ahdal (Yemen)
ISN 178 Tariq Ali Abdullah Ba Odah (Yemen)
ISN 202 Mahmoud Omar Muhammad Bin Atef (Yemen)
ISN 223 Abd al-Rahman Sulayman (Yemen)
ISN 233 Abd al-Razaq Muhammed Salih (Yemen)
ISN 240 Abdallah Yahya Yusif Al Shibli (Yemen)
ISN 251 Muhammad Said Salim Bin Salman (Yemen)
ISN 321 Ahmed Yaslam Said Kuman (Yemen)
ISN 440 Muhammad Ali Abdallah Muhammad Bwazir (Yemen)
ISN 461 Abd al Rahman al-Qyati (Yemen)
ISN 498 Mohammed Ahmen Said Haider (Yemen)
ISN 506 Mohammed Khalid Salih al-Dhuby (Yemen)
ISN 509 Mohammed Nasir Yahi Khussrof (Yemen)
ISN 549 Umar Said Salim Al-Dini (Yemen)
ISN 550 Walid Said bin Said Zaid (Yemen)
ISN 578 Abdul al-Aziz Abduh Abdullah Ali Al Suwaydi (Yemen)
ISN 688 Fahmi Abdullah Ahmed al-Tawlaqi (Yemen)
ISN 728 Abdul Muhammad Nassir al-Muhajari (Yemen)
ISN 893 Tawfiq Nasir Awad Al-Bihani (Yemen)

The eight prisoners approved for release by Periodic Review Boards

ISN 031 Mahmud Abd Al Aziz Al Mujahid (Yemen)
ISN 037 Abdel Malik Ahmed Abdel Wahab al Rahabi (Yemen)
ISN 042 Abd al Rahman Shalbi Isa Uwaydah (Saudi Arabia)
ISN 045 Ali Ahmad al-Rahizi (Yemen)
ISN 128 Ghaleb Nassar al Bihani (Yemen)
ISN 235 Saeed Ahmed Mohammed Abdullah Sarem Jarabh (Yemen)
ISN 324 Mashur Abdullah Muqbil Ahmed al-Sabri (Yemen)
ISN 535 Tariq Mahmoud Ahmed Al Sawah (Egypt)

The 54 prisoners eligible for Periodic Review Boards

Of the 54 remaining prisoners notified that they were eligible for Periodic Review Boards in April 2013, the first 32 were recommended for continued imprisonment without charge or trial in January 2010 by President Obama’s Guantánamo Review Task Force, and the 22 others were recommended for prosecution in the military commissions, but those intended prosecutions were dropped after judges dismissed the convictions against two prisoners on the basis that the war crimes for which they has been tried had actually been invented by Congress and were not legally recognized.

The 21 prisoners recommended in January 2010 for continued detention (without possible transfer to imprisonment in the US), but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013

ISN 028 Moath Hamza Ahmed al-Alwi (Yemen)
ISN 041 Majid Mahmud Abdu Ahmed (Yemen)
ISN 044 Muhammed Rajab Sadiq Abu Ghanim (Yemen)
ISN 131 Salem Ahmad Hadi Bin Kanad (Yemen)
ISN 195 Mohammed Abd al Rahman al Shumrant (Saudi Arabia)
ISN 242 Khalid Ahmed Qasim (Yemen)
ISN 244 Abdul Latif Nasir (Morocco)
ISN 434 Mustafa Abd al-Qawi Abd al-Aziz al-Shamiri (Yemen)
ISN 441 Abdul Rahman Ahmed (Yemen)
ISN 508 Salman Yahya Hassan Mohammad Rabei’i (Yemen)
ISN 552 Faez Mohammed Ahmed al-Kandari (Kuwait)
ISN 695 Omar Khalif Mohammed Abu Baker Mahjour Umar (Libya)
ISN 708 Ismael Ali Faraj Ali Bakush (Libya)
ISN 836 Ayub Murshid Ali Salih (Yemen)
ISN 837 Bashir Nasir Ali al-Marwalah (Yemen)
ISN 838 Shawqi Awad Balzuhair (Yemen)
ISN 839 Musab Omar Ali al-Mudwani (Yemen)
ISN 840 Hail Aziz Ahmed al-Maythali (Yemen)
ISN 841 Said Salih Said Nashir (Yemen)
ISN 1045 Mohammed Kamin (Afghanistan)
ISN 10025 Mohammed Abdul Malik Bajabu (Kenya)

Note: 131, 195, 242 and 552 had their ongoing imprisonment approved by Periodic Review Boards in 2014 and 2015.

The 11 prisoners recommended in January 2010 for continued detention (with possible transfer to imprisonment in the US), but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013

ISN 027 Uthman Abd al-Rahim Muhammad Uthman (Yemen)
ISN 029 Mohammed al-Ansi (Yemen)
ISN 522 Yassim Qasim Mohammed Ismail Qasim (Yemen)
ISN 560 Haji Wali Muhammed (Afghanistan)
ISN 576 Zahar Omar Hamis bin Hamdoun (Yemen)
ISN 975 Karim Bostan (Afghanistan)
ISN 1017 Omar Mohammed Ali al-Rammah (Yemen)
ISN 1119 Ahmid al Razak (Afghanistan)
ISN 1463 Abd al-Salam al-Hilah (Yemen)
ISN 10023 Guleed Hassan Ahmed (Somalia)
ISN 10029 Muhammad Rahim (Afghanistan)

The 22 prisoners recommended for prosecution but not charged, who were determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013

ISN 063 Mohamed Mani Ahmad al Kahtani (Saudi Arabia)
ISN 569 Suhayl Abdul Anam al Sharabi (Yemen)
ISN 682 Abdullah Al Sharbi (Saudi Arabia)
ISN 685 Said bin Brahim bin Umran Bakush (Algeria) aka Abdelrazak Ali
ISN 694 Sufyian Barhoumi (Algeria)
ISN 696 Jabran Al Qahtani (Saudi Arabia)
ISN 702 Ravil Mingazov (Russia)
ISN 753 Abdul Sahir (Afghanistan)
ISN 760 Mohamedou Ould Slahi (Mauritania)
ISN 762 Obaidullah (Afghanistan)
ISN 1094 Saifullah Paracha (Pakistan)
ISN 1453 Sanad Al Kazimi (Yemen)
ISN 1456 Hassan Bin Attash (Saudi Arabia)
ISN 1457 Sharqawi Abdu Ali Al Hajj (Yemen)
ISN 1460 Abdul Rabbani (Pakistan)
ISN 1461 Mohammed Rabbani (Pakistan)
ISN 10016 Zayn al-Ibidin Muhammed Husayn aka Abu Zubaydah
ISN 10017 Mustafa Faraj Muhammed Masud al-Jadid al-Usaybi (Libya)
ISN 10019 Encep Nurjaman (Hambali) (Indonesia)
ISN 10021 Mohd Farik bin Amin (Malaysia)
ISN 10022 Bashir bin Lap (Malaysia)
ISN 3148 Haroon al-Afghani (Afghanistan)

The 10 prisoners charged or tried

The seven prisoners currently facing charges

ISN 10011 Mustafa Ahmad al Hawsawi (Saudi Arabia)
ISN 10013 Ramzi Bin Al Shibh (Yemen)
ISN 10014 Walid Mohammed Bin Attash (Yemen)
ISN 10015 Mohammed al Nashiri (Saudi Arabia)
ISN 10018 Ali abd al Aziz Ali (Pakistan)
ISN 10024 Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (Kuwait)
ISN 10026 Nashwan abd al-Razzaq abd al-Baqi (Hadi) (Iraq)

The two prisoners already convicted via plea deal

ISN 768 Ahmed Al-Darbi (Saudi Arabia)
ISN 10020 Majid Khan (Pakistan)

One other prisoner convicted under President Bush

ISN 039 Ali Hamza al-Bahlul (Yemen)

He was not included in the task force’s deliberations, as he had been tried and convicted in a one-sided trial by military commission in October 2008, at which he refused to mount a defense. His conviction was dismissed by an appeals court in a series of rulings from January 2013 to June 2015 — although the government may yet appeal to the Supreme Court.

Note: For further information about the prisoners, see my six-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list (Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five and Part Six).

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer, film-maker and singer-songwriter (the lead singer and main songwriter for the London-based band The Four Fathers, whose debut album, ‘Love and War,’ was released in July 2015). He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign, the co-director of We Stand With Shaker, calling for the immediate release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison, and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by the University of Chicago Press in the US, and available from Amazon, including a Kindle edition — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here — or here for the US).

To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to Andy’s RSS feed — and he can also be found on Facebook (and here), Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Also see the six-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, and The Complete Guantánamo Files, an ongoing, 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011. Also see the definitive Guantánamo habeas list, the full military commissions list, and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.

Please also consider joining the Close Guantánamo campaign, and, if you appreciate Andy’s work, feel free to make a donation.

15 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Every six months I ask people to remember the ‪Guantanamo‬ prisoners, and to write to them to let them know they haven’t been forgotten. Here’s the latest letter-writing campaign. The 116 men still held are listed, divided into those approved for release (52, mostly Yemenis, but also inc. Shaker Aamer), those awaiting reviews to see if they can be approved for release (54) and those facing trials (10).

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Ruth Gilburt wrote:

    Thanks for the reminder, Andy. Will try and do this as work winds down xx

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Ruth. That’s very good to hear.

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Zareen Taj wrote:

    Thanks Andy. That is the most useful list I’ve seen. On my bookmark bar now 🙂

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Excellent, Zareen. I’m very glad to hear that it’s the most useful list you’ve seen.

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Zareen also shared the link, and wrote:

    This is another vital bit of work from Andy Worthington
    Even if you’ve never written to a prisoner before this makes it really clear what to do.

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks for this encouragement to other readers, Zareen!

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    Julia Igaz suggested:

    A short message inside a card maybe, just to say `you are not forgotten`, I like to focus on the picture, usually a beautiful nature scene. If you buy, write and post as soon as possible. Personally also like to scent the card with smell of flowers to accompany the picture 🙂

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks for sharing, Julia, and for your recommendations.

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    Rachel Taylor-Beales wrote:

    Hi Andy, thanks for this- just wondering what constitutes a political message? Sort of things not to say etc?

  11. Andy Worthington says...

    Hi Rachel​, I wrote in greater depth abut what may or may not be appropriate five years ago, when I first encouraged opponents of Guantanamo to write letters. Have a read of it, and I hope it’s useful: http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/2010/06/23/write-to-the-forgotten-prisoners-in-guantanamo/

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    Marion Heads wrote:

    I’ll write Andy – took part in the one Mahfuja arranged for Ramadan too – will you allocate someone to me?

  13. Andy Worthington says...

  14. Afroze Ali says...

    Hi Andy, I had written to 3 detainees in January as part of this campaign coordinated by Mafuja. All 3 letter were returned to me with yellow stickers saying Camp 160 Unable to forward/for review . There were also various numbers/letters on the sticker. The letters were to 030, 031, 033.


  15. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Afroze. I’m sorry to hear that, but it fits an unpleasant pattern – that, despite promised improvements in the treatment of prisoners since Barack Obama became president, the authorities are still being obstructive just as they were under George W. Bush, when letters regularly disappeared. I can only suggest that people aren’t put off by this, as some letters undoubtedly get through.

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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