Please Read My New Article for Al-Jazeera About the Five Men Still Held at Guantánamo Who Were Approved for Release Under Obama

30.6.17

A screenshot of my latest article for Al-Jazeera on June 30, 2017.Dear friends and supporters — and any casual passers-by,

I’m delighted to announce that my latest article for Al-Jazeera, Abdul Latif Nasser: Facing life in Guantánamo, has just been published, and I encourage you to read it, and to share it as widely as possible if you find it useful.

In it, I look at the cases of the five men still held at Guantánamo who were approved for release under President Obama, but who didn’t make it out before Donald Trump took over, with a particular focus on Abdul Latif Nasser, a Moroccan whose government sought his release, but failed to get the paperwork to the US authorities in time. I also look at the cases of Sufyian Barhoumi, an Algerian, and Tawfiq al-Bihani, a Yemeni. The two other men, sadly, don’t wish to have their cases discussed.

It’s important for these men’s cases to be remembered, because, although Donald Trump has not followed up on threats he made after taking office to send new prisoners to Guantánamo and to reintroduce torture, he has effectively sealed the prison shut for the last five months, releasing no one, and showing no signs of wanting to release anyone, and those of us who care about the ongoing injustice of Guantánamo must continue to do what we can to bring this deplorable state of affairs to an end.

As I have stated more often than I care to remember, the prison at Guantánamo is a legal, ethical and moral abomination, and every day that it stays open is an affront to any claim by the US that it is a nation founded on the rule of law that respects the rule of law. Only dictatorships hold people indefinitely without charge or trial, and the US can be no exception to this rule.

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.

4 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here’s my latest, a shout out for my new Al-Jazeera article, about the five men still held at Guantanamo who were approved for release under President Obama, but have been left to languish at the prison by Donald Trump. I focus in particular on Abdul Latif Nasser, a Moroccan represented by Reprieve, who missed being released by just eight days. I also look at the cases of Sufyian Barhoumi, an Algerian, and Tawfiq al-Bihani, a Yemeni. Sadly, the other two men, approved for release since 2010, don’t want any media attention.

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks to everyone liking and sharing this. I hope to have more work published in the mainstream media in the coming months, but, as I’m sure readers realize, one of the main problems with Donald Trump is that he is crippling so many government functions that topics that should be discussed are being frozen by inaction, as though they no longer exist. Guantanamo is a clear case in point, with no one in Trump’s administration in charge of it, and the military at Guantanamo itself just going through the motions waiting for some meaningful direction that never materializes.

  3. Lucas says...

    Very informative article. I didn’t know Bihani almost went to Saudi Arabia. So Defense Secretary Ashton Carter believed that Bihani and Barhoumi were too dangerous to be transferred so he rejected Saudi Arabia and Algeria’s requests to transfer them. I guess Carter was worried about Bihani’s threats against Bush and U.S. citizens and Barhoumi plotting IED attacks against U.S. troops in Afghanistan so he rejected transfer recommendations from the GRTF and PRB.

    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/guantanamo/detainees/893-tolfiq-nassar-ahmed-al-bihani?mcubz=0

    Anyway, Morocco knew about the 30 day deadline when they accepted another Moroccan detainee so I don’t know why they took took their sweet time regarding Nasir. I do believe Nasir and Barhoumi will be transferred by 2021 if Trump is not re-elected but Bihani and the other three detainees will never be transferred.

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks for your thoughts, Lucas. Sorry for the delay in replying. I was offline on holiday for a week. Very refreshing!
    I’d still hope, by the way, that al-Bihani will also be freed (along with Nasir and Barhoumi), as his brother was in the dying days of the Obama administration.

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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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