Who Are the Ten Guantánamo Prisoners Released in Oman, Leaving 45 Men Still Held, Including Nine Approved for Release?

19.1.17

The ten prisoners released from Guantanamo on Jan. 16, 2017. Top, from L to R: Abdul Zahir (Afghanistan) and the Yemenis Mohammed al-Ansi, Mohammed Ahmed Said Haidel (aka Muhammed Ahmad Said Haydar), Salman Yahya Hassan Mohammed Rabei’i and Musa’ab al-Madhwani (aka Musab Omar Ali al Madhwani). Bottom, from L to R: Bostan Karim (aka Karim Bostan) (Afghanistan) and the Yemenis Ghaleb al-Bihani, Mustafa al-Shamiri, Walid Said Bin Said Zaid and Hail al-Maythali (aka Hayil al-Maythali). All the photos are from the files leaked by Chelsea Manning and released by WikiLeaks in 2011 except the photo of al-Bihani, which was taken by the International Red Cross, and made available by his lawyers at the Center for Constitutional Rights.Please support my work! I’m currently trying to raise $2500 (£2000) to support my writing and campaigning on Guantánamo during the first two months of the incoming Trump administration.

 

So there was great news from Guantánamo on Monday, when ten men — eight Yemenis and two Afghans — were released and sent to Oman, which has previously taken in 20 Yemenis. The Yemenis have been the most difficult category of prisoners to be freed from Guantánamo, because the entire US establishment is unwilling to repatriate them, fearing the security situation in their home country, meaning that third countries must be found that are prepared to offer them a new home — and are prepared to overlook the fact that the US itself is unwilling to do that, and, in fact, that Congress has, for many years, passed laws specifically preventing any Guantánamo prisoner from being brought to the US mainland for any reason.

The ten releases leave 45 men still held at Guantánamo, with three or four more releases expected before President Obama leaves office on Friday, according to the latest reports. At present, however, nine men approved for release are still held, and the release of those left behind when Obama leaves the White House must be a priority for campaigners as soon as Donald Trump takes office.

Of the ten men released, two were approved for release in 2009 by the high-level, inter-agency Guantánamo Review Task Force that President Obama established shortly after first taking office, while the other eight were approved for release between May 2014 and December 2016 by Periodic Review Boards, another high-level, inter-agency review process, and one that campaigners must also press Donald Trump to keep.

Conceived of in 2009, after the deliberations of the Guantánamo Review Task Force, which was assigned to work out who to release and who to prosecute, the PRBs were designed for a third category of prisoners invented by the task force — those regarded as “too dangerous to release.” 48 men were placed in this category, while 126 other prisoners were approved for release, 30 Yemenis were approved for release when it was perceived that the security situation in Yemen had improved (another invention of the task force), and 36 others were recommended for prosecution.

The “too dangerous to release” tag was scandalous, because the task force conceded that there was insufficient evidence to put them on trial; in other words, it was not reliable evidence at all, and consisted, to a shockingly large degree, of information extracted from the prisoners themselves, when they were subjected to torture or other forms of abuse, or bribery with better living conditions, or when they had simply become exhausted by non-stop interrogations and had decided to tell their interrogators whatever they wanted to hear.

When the PRBs finally started in 2013, just 41 of the 48 remained eligible (two died, and five had been freed), but 23 of the 36 men recommended for prosecutions were also made eligible, as the basis for their prosecution — in the troubled military commission trial system that was unwisely dragged out of the history books by the Bush administration, and in particular by Dick Cheney — had largely collapsed under scrutiny in the generally quite conservative appeals court in Washington, D.C. — on the embarrassing basis that the war crimes for which Guantánamo prisoners were being tried were not legitimate, as they had been invented by Congress.

Of the 64 men eligible for PRBs, which, crucially, function like parole boards, assessing contrition, and plans for a peaceful and constructive post-release life, 38 have been approved for release, while just 26 have had their ongoing imprisonment upheld. Moreover, the reviews continue — and must continue, as two of the men freed in Oman only secured approval for their release on their second time before the board, joining five others, and other men still held are currently awaiting reviews, or the results of reviews, on the same basis.

The two Yemenis approved for release by the 2009 Guantánamo Review Task Force

The two Yemenis approved for release by the 2009 task force had actually been placed in the sub-category into which 30 Yemenis were inserted, whereby the task force members approved them for release only when it was perceived that the security situation in Yemen had improved. The task force invented a phrase for this particular form of limbo — “conditional detention” — but no sign was given as to who would make a decision regarding the security situation, or how it would happen. In fact, all the Yemenis languished until November 2014, when Obama finally began finding third countries that would take them in, and from then until the start of this month 65 Yemenis in total were released in third countries, including all but the last two of those placed in ”conditional detention” back in 2009.

The first of the two is Mohammed Ahmed Said Haidel (aka Haydar, Haider) (ISN 498, Yemen), born in 1978, according to the US authorities, who had been recommended for “Transfer Out of DoD Control” on April 21, 2007, but had then been recommended for continued detention on March 7, 2008, until the task force reversed that decision, albeit with the “conditional detention” tag that led to him languishing at Guantánamo for another seven years.

In a profile of Haidel in September 2010, I described him as follows:

In Guantánamo, Haidel stated that he traveled to Afghanistan “to get married and for a change of environment.” The US authorities alleged that he trained at al-Farouq, was sent to the front lines in Kabul, and was then driven with other fighters, to Tora Bora, where, he said, “he sat in a cave for fifteen days,” and was then injured by a bomb blast, captured by the Northern Alliance and taken to a prison in Kabul, before being handed over to the Americans. In response to an allegation that he received mortar training, Haidel said, “When I was in the Kandahar prison, the interrogator hit my arm and told me I received training in mortars. As he was hitting me, I kept telling him, ‘No, I didn’t receive training.’ I was crying and finally I told him I did receive the training. My hands were tied behind my back and my knees were on the ground and my head was bleeding. I was in a lot of pain, so I said I had the training. At that point, with all my suffering, if he had asked me if I was Osama bin Laden, I would have said yes.” A long-term hunger striker at Guantánamo, Haidel weighed just 105 pounds on arrival in May 2002. In November 2002, his weight dropped to just 90 pounds, and at the time that the Pentagon’s declassified weight records came to an end, in November 2006, he weighed just 102 pounds.

In contrast, the US authorities tried to make more of his status as a soldier and his time in Tora Bora, but there was nothing that made him out to be anything more than a foot soldier, and it seems likely instead that he was placed in the “conditional detention” category because of his hunger striking. In terms of his behavior, however, he was “assessed to be a LOW threat from a detention perspective,” because “[h]is overall behavior ha[d] been compliant and non-hostile to the guard force and staff.”

The second man is Walid Said bin Said Zaid (ISN 550, Yemen), born on February 2, 1978, according to the US authorities, who I also profiled in September 2010, when I stated:

As I explained in The Guantánamo Files, Zaid, who was wounded in the left foot in an air raid in the Tora Bora region, and was then hospitalized in Jalalabad before being handed over — or sold — to US forces, denied that he went to Afghanistan for “Jihad readiness military training,” as alleged, and said that he had just finished his final year studying Arabic literature at college, and went to Afghanistan a fortnight before 9/11 because he hoped to teach Arabic in an Afghan school. He admitted attending al-Farouq, but said that he had only done so because some Afghan acquaintances said that Afghanistan “was a country with a great deal of fighting,” and suggested that he should get some training in self-defence. At other times, he appears to have conceded that he traveled to Afghanistan to support the Taliban, but he has maintained that he “harbors no ill will towards the United States” and “only wishes to return home and put this part of his life behind him.”

Like Haidel, Zaid had been recommended for “Transfer Out of DoD Control” — on December 17, 2006, but had then been recommended for continued detention on January 16, 2008, until the task force reversed that decision, again with the “conditional detention” tag that led to his imprisonment for another seven years.

It is impossible to see why he was placed in the “conditional detention” camp, as he was also “assessed to be a LOW threat from a detention perspective,” with additional notes that his “overall behavior has been mostly compliant” and “rarely hostile towards the guard force and staff.”

Mistaken identities and excessive caution

Of the eight men released who faced Periodic Review Boards, the first to be approved for release was Ghaleb Nassar al Bihani (ISN 128, Yemen), who was reviewed on April 8, 2014 and approved for release on May 15, 2014. Born in 1979, according to the US authorities, al-Bihani had been a cook in Afghanistan, but had, shamefully, had his habeas corpus petition turned down in January 2009, because, as the judge in his case (Judge Richard Leon) described it, “Faithfully serving in an al-Qaida affiliated fighting unit that is directly supporting the Taliban by helping to prepare the meals of its entire fighting force is more than sufficient [for continued detention]. After all, as Napoleon himself was fond of pointing out, ‘An army marches on its stomach.’”

Al-Bihani is also ill, as the US authorities acknowledged, and as his lawyers at the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights explained, highlighting how his health problems “include Type 2 Diabetes, asthma, chronic migraine headaches, chronic neck and lower back pain, depression, and anxiety.”

A painting by Guantanamo prisoner Ghaleb al-Bihani, freed in Oman in January 2017.Nevertheless, he has been learning all he can at Guantánamo, becoming “an avid reader,” and “learning English and Spanish,” and just last week I had the good fortune to realize how talented he is as an artist, when I visited Washington, D.C. to take part in protests on the 15th anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo, and attended a wonderful exhibition, the Tea Project, which features ceramic pots bearing the names of all the Guantánamo prisoners, and which also featured some of his many paintings, released to his attorneys by the authorities at Guantánamo. I photographed a few of his paintings, and they are included here.

On his release, his attorney, Pardiss Kebriaei, said, “Mr. Al-Bihani’s detention for 15 years was senseless, but he and we are relieved that his ordeal is finally over. After having lost a third of his life in Guantanamo, what he needs now is support for a real chance to rebuild. We are hopeful that he will have that opportunity in Oman.”

The second of the eight PRB prisoners to be freed is Mustafa Abd al-Qawi Abd al-Aziz al-Shamiri (ISN 434, Yemen), born on July 7, 1978, according to the US authorities, who was reviewed on December 1, 2015 and approved for release on January 12, 2016. In al-Shamiri’s case, the US authorities accepted, at his PRB, that he was a case of mistaken identity, conceding that he was “previously assessed” as “an al-Qa’ida facilitator or courier, as well as a trainer, but we now judge that these activities were carried out by other known extremists with names or aliases similar to [his].” The Pentagon’s profile, used for the PRB, added, “Further analysis of the reporting that supported past judgments that [al-Shamiri] was an al-Qa’ida facilitator, courier, or trainer has revealed inconsistent biographical, descriptive, or locational data that now leads us to assess that [he] did not hold any of these roles.”

A painting by Guantanamo prisoner Ghaleb al-Bihani, freed in Oman in January 2017.As I also explained at the time of his PRB, he “survived the Qala-i-Janghi massacre in November 2001, which followed the surrender of the northern city of Kunduz, when several hundred Taliban foot soldiers — and, it seems, a number of civilians — all of whom had been told that they would be allowed to return home if they surrendered, were taken to a fortress run by General Rashid Dostum of the Northern Alliance. Fearing that they were about to be killed, a number of the men started an uprising, which was suppressed by the Northern Alliance, acting with support from US and British Special Forces, and US bombers. Hundreds of the prisoners died, but around 80 survived being bombed and flooded in the basement of the fort, and around 50 of these men ended up at Guantánamo.” Most of those men have already been released.

The next two men, Musab Omar Ali al-Mudwani (aka Musa’ab al-Madhwani) (ISN 839, Yemen), and Hail Aziz Ahmed al-Maythali (aka Hayil al-Mithali) (ISN 840, Yemen) are also cases of mistaken identity. Al-Madhwani, born in 1979, according to the US authorities, was reviewed on June 28, 2016 and approved for release on July 28, 2016, while al-Maythali, born in 1977, according to the authorities, was reviewed on June 30, 2016 and approved for release on August 1, 2016. Both men had been picked up in house raids in Karachi, Pakistan on September 11, 2002, the first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, when one of the alleged 9/11 co-conspirators, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, was also captured, but although al-Madhwani, al-Maythali and four others were described as the “Karachi Six” and regarded as members of a cell, by the time of their PRBs the authorities had walked back from these claims.

In both cases, the authorities stated that, although they had been “labeled as the ‘Karachi Six,’ based on concerns that they were part of an al Qa’ida operational cell intended to support a future attack in Karachi,” they now “judge[d] that it is more likely the six Yemenis were among a large pool of Yemeni fighters that senior al-Qa’ida planners considered potentially available to support future operations.” In the cases of both men, the military authorities also added that they were “probably awaiting a chance to return to Yemen at the al-Qa’ida Karachi safe house” when they were seized.

With these releases, five of the non-existent cell have been released, with only one still imprisoned, awaiting the result of a further review undertaken last month.

Also released was Karim Bostan (aka Boston Karim) (ISN 975, Afghanistan), who was only released in Oman because Congress, in recent years, has passed a ban on repatriating any Afghans from Guantánamo. Bostan, born in 1970, according to the US authorities, had his case reviewed on May 3, 2016 and was approved for release on June 2, 2016, and his release finally brings to an end the long-standing US alarm over its claim that, as I put it when his habeas corpus petition was turned down in 2011, the preacher and shopkeeper, who was seized on a bus that traveled regularly between Afghanistan and Pakistan, was reportedly ‘apprehended because he matched the description of an al-Qaeda bomb cell leader and had a [satellite] phone,’ which he had apparently been asked to hold by a fellow passenger, Abdullah Wazir (who was released from Guantánamo in December 2007).”

Another prisoner, Obaidullah, who was freed in the United Arab Emirates in August 2016 after being approved for release by a PRB in May, consistently said that he had told lies about Bostan after being seriously abused by US soldiers in Afghanistan, and in contrast to the al-Qaeda cell claim, the military acknowledged that Bostan himself “consistently denied affiliation with any terrorist or extremist group or involvement in any terrorist or extremist activities,” and “has been highly compliant with the guard staff at the Guantánamo Bay detention facility since his arrival in March 2003.”

Two other men freed had first had their ongoing imprisonment approved by Periodic Review Boards, but were approved for release a second time around, joining five other men for whom second reviews had recommended their release — a good example, if any were needed, of why the PRBs should continue.

Approved for release the second time around

The first, Salman Yahya Hassan Mohammad Rabei’i (aka al-Rabie) (ISN 508, Yemen), had his case reviewed on July 14, 2015, but was not approved for ongoing detention until May 19, 2016, ten months later, as the board members were obviously divided, even though Rabei’i, born on June 30, 1979, according to the US authorities, was nothing more, at most, than a foot soldier for the Taliban, and may, in fact, have only gone to Afghanistan to bring back a brother.

However, just over three months after the decision to continue holding him, his file was reviewed again, and a decision taken that, “After reviewing relevant new information related to the detainee as well as information considered during the full review, the Board, by consensus, determined that a significant question is raised as to whether the detainee’s continued detention is warranted and therefore an additional full review should be conducted.”

That review took place on November 1, 2016, leading to him being approved for release on December 1, 2016, just before the cut-off for release, as Congress, by law, has to be notified 30 days prior to any release. He was, therefore, one of the luckiest prisoners in terms of being released, not obliged to wait many months, or years after being told that he would be released, like so many other prisoners. As I explained at the time of his second review, it was clear that a new attorney appointed to represent him, Shelby Sullivan-Bennis of Reprieve, had made a big difference to his case.

On his release, Shelby Sullivan-Bennis stated, “We welcome Salman’s release, which is nearly 15 years overdue. Barely an adult when he entered, Salman leaves Guantánamo now a grown man, having had almost half his life stolen from him. It takes a relentless spirit to endure the damage that over a decade in Guantánamo does, and that he has. A shy and smart man, our hopes for his future are high and bright. His large and loving family will rejoice at the news of his freedom.”

Mohammed al-Ansi (ISN 029, Yemen), born in 1975 according to the US authorities, was also lucky. Another foot soldier, who, with many others, had unconvincingly been portrayed as a bodyguards for Osama bin Laden (as one of the so-called “Dirty Thirty”), he had his case reviewed on February 23, 2016 and was approved for ongoing detention on March 23, 2016, but like Salman al-Rabei’i, a file review six months later called for a second full review because the board members “determined that a significant question is raised as to whether the detainee’s continued detention is warranted and therefore an additional full review should be conducted.”

That review took place on December 6, 2016, and he was approved for release on December 9, 2016 — perhaps, in part, because of the representations of a newly appointed attorney, Beth Jacob. It was clear throughout his PRB experience that he had become a talented artist, which should have counted for something, but the board eventually also took on board his health issues, his candor and his lack of extremism.

Another case of mistaken identity

The last man to be freed is the only one of the men who had initially been recommended for prosecution, although the case against him seems to have been shelved many years ago. Abdul Zahir (ISN 753, Afghanistan), born in 1972, according to the US authorities, had his case reviewed on June 9, 2016 and was approved for release on July 11, 2016.

He had been put forward for a trial by military commission under George W. Bush in 2006, accused of taking part in a grenade attack on a vehicle carrying Toronto Star journalist Kathleen Kenna, her husband Hadi Dadashian, photographer Bernard Weil, and an Afghan driver in Zormat on March 4, 2002, but he always denied the charges, and for his PRB they were not mentioned, leading me to write at the time that “it must be concluded that the US authorities no longer think that he had any involvement” in the attack. In fact, as the summary for his PRB made clear, the authorities also acknowledged that, at the time of his capture, Zahir was “probably misidentified as [an] individual who had ties to al-Qa’ida weapons facilitation activities” — another of the mistaken identities that continue to undermine the supporters of Guantánamo’s outlandish claims about the men held there.

On his release, his civilian attorneys, David Sleigh and Robert Gensburg, and his military defence attorney, Lt. Col. Sterling Thomas, issued a press release in which they lamented the ten years in which lawyers had “sought to have Zahir released or, at the very least, tried in a fair hearing,” noting how “Vermont lawyer Robert Gensburg initially challenged Zahir’s confinement in a Habeas Corpus action,” and adding, “That proceeding proved futile. To this day, the court presiding over the habeas action has defense motions that have been pending years without decision.”

The press release also noted how Zahir was then notified that he would face trial before a military commission, for which Gensburg was “joined by fellow Vermont lawyer David Sleigh and military co-counsel, Lt. Col. Sterling Thomas, to prepare for the trial that was never to be. Years went by as the team literally pleaded with the Government to charge Zahir so that he could have a fair hearing before some tribunal, confident that Zahir would be cleared.”

The lawyers’ press release concluded: “Throughout his ordeal, Zahir, married and the father of three sons, suffered enormously. His mental and physical health was, at times, seriously compromised. Never the less, Zahir has remained a thoughtful, generous and insightful man. Nearly miraculously, he has not become embittered or vengeful. He is, however, no longer ‘ISN 753.’”

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’ and EP ‘Fighting Injustice’ are available here to download or on CD via Bandcamp). He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign (and the Countdown to Close Guantánamo initiative, launched in January 2016), the co-director of We Stand With Shaker, which called for the release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison (finally freed on October 30, 2015), 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.

See the following for articles about the 142 prisoners released from Guantánamo from June 2007 to January 2009 (out of the 532 released by President Bush), and the 182 prisoners released from February 2009 to early January 2017 (by President Obama), whose stories are covered in more detail than is available anywhere else –- either in print or on the internet –- although many of them, of course, are also covered in The Guantánamo Filesand for the stories of the other 390 prisoners released by President Bush, see my archive of articles based on the classified military files released by WikiLeaks in 2011: June 2007 –- 2 Tunisians, 4 Yemenis (herehere and here); July 2007 –- 16 Saudis; August 2007 –- 1 Bahraini, 5 Afghans; September 2007 –- 16 Saudis1 Mauritanian1 Libyan, 1 Yemeni, 6 Afghans; November 2007 –- 3 Jordanians, 8 Afghans14 Saudis; December 2007 –- 2 Sudanese; 13 Afghans (here and here); 3 British residents10 Saudis; May 2008 –- 3 Sudanese, 1 Moroccan, 5 Afghans (herehere and here); July 2008 –- 2 Algerians1 Qatari, 1 United Arab Emirati, 1 Afghan; August 2008 –- 2 Algerians; September 2008 –- 1 Pakistani, 2 Afghans (here and here); 1 Sudanese, 1 Algerian; November 2008 –- 1 Kazakh, 1 Somali, 1 Tajik2 Algerians; 1 Yemeni (Salim Hamdan), repatriated to serve out the last month of his sentence; December 2008 –- 3 Bosnian Algerians; January 2009 –- 1 Afghan, 1 Algerian, 4 Iraqis; February 2009 — 1 British resident (Binyam Mohamed); May 2009 —1 Bosnian Algerian (Lakhdar Boumediene); June 2009 — 1 Chadian (Mohammed El-Gharani); 4 Uighurs to Bermuda; 1 Iraqi; 3 Saudis (here and here); August 2009 — 1 Afghan (Mohamed Jawad); 2 Syrians to Portugal; September 2009 — 1 Yemeni; 2 Uzbeks to Ireland (here and here); October 2009 — 1 Kuwaiti, 1 prisoner of undisclosed nationality to Belgium; 6 Uighurs to Palau; November 2009 — 1 Bosnian Algerian to France, 1 unidentified Palestinian to Hungary, 2 Tunisians to Italian custody; December 2009 — 1 Kuwaiti (Fouad al-Rabiah); 2 Somalis4 Afghans6 Yemenis; January 2010 — 2 Algerians, 1 Uzbek to Switzerland1 Egyptian1 Azerbaijani and 1 Tunisian to Slovakia; February 2010 — 1 Egyptian, 1 Libyan, 1 Tunisian to Albania1 Palestinian to Spain; March 2010 — 1 Libyan, 2 unidentified prisoners to Georgia, 2 Uighurs to Switzerland; May 2010 — 1 Syrian to Bulgaria, 1 Yemeni to Spain; July 2010 — 1 Yemeni (Mohammed Hassan Odaini); 1 Algerian1 Syrian to Cape Verde, 1 Uzbek to Latvia, 1 unidentified Afghan to Spain; September 2010 — 1 Palestinian, 1 Syrian to Germany; January 2011 — 1 Algerian; April 2012 — 2 Uighurs to El Salvador; July 2012 — 1 Sudanese; September 2012 — 1 Canadian (Omar Khadr) to ongoing imprisonment in Canada; August 2013 — 2 Algerians; December 2013 — 2 Algerians2 Saudis2 Sudanese3 Uighurs to Slovakia; March 2014 — 1 Algerian (Ahmed Belbacha); May 2014 — 5 Afghans to Qatar (in a prisoner swap for US PoW Bowe Bergdahl); November 2014 — 1 Kuwaiti (Fawzi al-Odah); 3 Yemenis to Georgia, 1 Yemeni and 1 Tunisian to Slovakia, and 1 Saudi; December 2014 — 4 Syrians, 1 Palestinian and 1 Tunisian to Uruguay4 Afghans2 Tunisians and 3 Yemenis to Kazakhstan; January 2015 — 4 Yemenis to Oman, 1 Yemeni to Estonia; June 2015 — 6 Yemenis to Oman; September 2015 — 1 Moroccan and 1 Saudi; October 2015 — 1 Mauritanian and 1 British resident (Shaker Aamer); November 2015 — 5 Yemenis to the United Arab Emirates; January 2016 — 2 Yemenis to Ghana1 Kuwaiti (Fayiz al-Kandari) and 1 Saudi10 Yemenis to Oman1 Egyptian to Bosnia and 1 Yemeni to Montenegro; April 2016 — 2 Libyans to Senegal9 Yemenis to Saudi Arabia; June 2016 — 1 Yemeni to Montenegro; July 2016 — 1 Tajik and 1 Yemeni to Serbia, 1 Yemeni to Italy; August 2016 — 12 Yemenis and 3 Afghans to the United Arab Emirates (see here and here); October 2016 — 1 Mauritanian (Mohammedou Ould Slahi); December 2016 — 1 Yemeni to Cape Verde; January 2017 — 4 Yemenis to Saudi Arabia.

4 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here are my profiles of the ten men – eight Yemenis and two Afghans – freed in Oman on Monday. Two were approved for release in 2009 by Obama’s Guantanamo Review Task Force, while the other eight were approved for release between May 2014 and December 2016 by Periodic Review Boards. Particularly worth noting is that there are some notable cases of mistaken identity amongst those freed, revealing that the miasma of lies and distortions that constitutes “intelligence” at Guantanamo continues to exert its baleful influence. Expect news of 3 or 4 more releases before Obama leaves office, but please take note that 41 or 42 men will be inherited by Trump, that 5 or 6 of these men have been approved for release (two since 2009), and that only ten are facing – or have faced – trials. We need to work together from Day One to prevent Trump from shutting the door on Guantanamo – or thinking of re-opening the door only to send new prisoners there.

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks to everyone liking and sharing this. Please share it far and wide. It has more detail than any other article published about these men, the penultimate group to be freed under President Obama, whose stories reveal how lies and distortions still plague everything that purports to be “evidence” at Guantanamo.

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Four more prisoners released, leaving 41 men in Donald Trump’s hands. The identities of the 4 men just released, and where they were sent to, have not been released yet: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/guantanamo/article127473314.html

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    When Betty Molchany shared this, she wrote:

    Shame isn’t a strong enough word to condemn those who insist on keeping Guantanamo Bay prison of horrors and injustices open. All these years of keeping prisoners with mistaken identities.

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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, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer.
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