Please Write to the Guantánamo Prisoners, Forgotten Under Donald Trump


Photos of some of the Guantanamo prisoners, included in the classified military files released by WikiLeaks in 2011.Please support my work as a reader-funded journalist! I’m currently trying to raise $2500 (£2000) to support my writing and campaigning on Guantánamo and related issues over the next three months of the Trump administration.


Back in June 2010, prompted by two Muslim activist friends in the UK, who had initiated a project to get people to write to the prisoners still held in the prison at Guantánamo Bay, I followed their lead, publishing an article similarly urging people to write to the men still held — 186 at the time. I then repeated the process in June 2011, and then every six months or so until July 2015, with two further calls in 2016, the last being in the dying weeks of the Obama presidency.

Over a year later, and with just four days remaining until the 16th anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo, I thought this was a good time to call for the first time for a letter-writing campaign under Donald Trump, who, of course, will have been in office for a year on January 20. Trump started his presidency threatening to send new prisoners to Guantánamo, but although he has not made good on his unacceptable, belligerent threat, he has, nevertheless, effectively sealed Guantánamo shut, refusing to contemplate releasing any of the prisoners still held, even those previously approved for release but still held.

At the time of my last appeal, 59 men were still held, but another 18 were freed by Obama before he left office, leaving 41 men held under Donald Trump. Five of these men were approved for release by high-level government review processes during Obama’s presidency, and just ten of them are facing or have faced trials, with the other 26 continuing to be officially held indefinitely without charge or trial, subject to a review process, the Periodic Review Boards, that led to 38 of their fellow prisoners being approved for release (of whom 36 were released) in Obama’s last years on office, but which has, in their case, failed to remove them from the legal limbo in which they continue to languish.

In the list below, I have divided the remaining 41 prisoners into those approved for release (5), those whose ongoing imprisonment has been approved by Periodic Review Boards (26), 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 — although, primarily, it should be noted, those held are not referred to by any name at all, but are instead identified solely by their prisoner numbers (ISNs, which stands for “internment serial 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).

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 5 prisoners approved for release by high-level government review processes under President Obama

ISN 038 Ridah Bin Saleh al Yazidi (Tunisia)
ISN 244 Abdul Latif Nasir (Morocco)
ISN 309 Muieen A Deen Jamal A Deen Abd al Fusal Abd al Sattar (UAE)
ISN 694 Sufyian Barhoumi (Algeria)
ISN 893 Tawfiq Nasir Awad Al-Bihani (Yemen)

The 26 prisoners whose ongoing imprisonment was approved by Periodic Review Boards

ISN 027 Uthman Abd al-Rahim Muhammad Uthman (Yemen)
ISN 028 Moath Hamza Ahmed al-Alwi (Yemen)
ISN 063 Mohamed Mani Ahmad al Kahtani (Saudi Arabia)
ISN 242 Khalid Ahmed Qasim (Yemen)
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 708 Ismael Ali Faraj Ali Bakush (Libya)
ISN 841 Said Salih Said Nashir (Yemen)
ISN 1017 Omar Mohammed Ali al-Rammah (Yemen)
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) aka Ahmad Rabbani
ISN 1463 Abd al-Salam al-Hilah (Yemen)
ISN 10016 Zayn al-Ibidin Muhammed Husayn aka Abu Zubaydah
ISN 10017 Mustafa Faraj Muhammed Masud al-Jadid al-Usaybi (Libya) aka Abu Faraj al-Libi
ISN 10019 Encep Nurjaman (Hambali) (Indonesia)
ISN 10021 Mohd Farik bin Amin (Malaysia)
ISN 10022 Bashir bin Lap (Malaysia)
ISN 10023 Guleed Hassan Ahmed (Somalia)
ISN 10025 Mohammed Abdul Malik Bajabu (Kenya)
ISN 3148 Haroon al-Afghani (Afghanistan)
ISN 10029 Muhammad Rahim (Afghanistan)

The 10 prisoners charged or tried

ISN 039 Ali Hamza al-Bahlul (Yemen)
ISN 768 Ahmed Al-Darbi (Saudi Arabia)
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) aka Abd al-Rahim al Nashiri
ISN 10018 Ali abd al Aziz Ali (Pakistan)
ISN 10020 Majid Khan (Pakistan)
ISN 10024 Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (Kuwait)
ISN 10026 Nashwan abd al-Razzaq abd al-Baqi (Hadi) (Iraq)

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 music is available via Bandcamp). He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign (and the Donald Trump No! Please Close Guantánamo initiative, launched in January 2017), 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...

    I first posted this on Facebook several hours ago, but it then disappeared because of server problems. When I re-posted it, I wrote:

    I’m re-posting my latest article, because I’ve been having server problems and it completely disappeared from my website a few hours ago.
    There are now just four days before a painful anniversary – the 16th anniversary of when the US turned its back on international norms and opened the prison at #Guantanamo Bay, and in this article I encourage people to write to the 41 men still held, to let them know they haven’t been forgotten. This is a project I’ve been running since 2010, although it’s the first time I’ve undertaken it since Donald Trump took office. I hope it’s of interest to you, and that you’ll take part, as the prisoners have been horribly neglected since Trump’s presidency began. He hasn’t sent anyone new the prison, as he has repeatedly threatened to do, but he has effectively sealed Guantanamo shut, refusing even to contemplate releasing the five men still held who were approved for release by high-level government review processes under President Obama.

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks as always, Shahrina Ahmed and Mahfuja Ahmed, for initiating this project back in 2010. There were 186 men held back then, but by the time Obama left office that was down to 41. That wasn’t good enough, however, from the figure of “hope” who came into office promising to close it, because in the year since, under Donald Trump, NO ONE has left Guantanamo, even though five of the 41 men still held were approved for release by high-level government review processes, and even though every day Guantanamo remains open is a source of shame for all decent Americans, who know that no civilized country holds people indefinitely without charge or trial.

  3. Tom Pettinger says...

    Thanks for this. Great idea.

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    You’re welcome, Tom. Good to hear from you.

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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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