Guantanamo lawyers

Guantánamo Scandal: Eleven Men Were Set to Be Freed Last October, Until “Political Optics” Shifted After Hamas’ Attack on Israel

22.5.24

My unapologetic condemnation of the Biden administration for stopping the release from Guantánamo, in October, of eleven men who have long been approved for release. The men were supposed to be resettled in Oman, but the deal was pulled at the last minute, as a result of what NBC News, which broke the story, based on the accounts of four administration officials, called the “political optics after Hamas’ attack on Israel.” These men, all Yemenis, who were unanimously approved for release by high-level US government review processes between 607 and 1,301 days ago — and, in one case, 5,234 days ago — cannot even challenge the outrageous politicized decision to cancel their release, because the decisions taken to free them in the first place were purely administrative, meaning that they are completely outside the US legal system. With no ability to ask a judge to order their release, these men, held for the most part for over 20 years without charge or trial, have no idea if they will ever be freed, as that decision is dependant on the whims of two men in particular — President Biden and Antony Blinken — who wield absolutely power over their lives, just as George W. Bush did when he first opened Guantánamo over 22 years ago.

Held for 600 Days Since Being Approved for Release from Guantánamo: Khaled Qassim, a Talented Artist

13.3.24

The seventh article in my ongoing series of ten articles about the 16 men approved for release from Guantánamo, noting how long they have been held since those decisions were taken, telling their stories, and tying publication of these articles into significant dates in their long ordeal. The articles are published alternately here and on the Close Guantánamo website, and this particular article highlights the case of Khaled Qassim, a Yemeni, and a talented artist, whose ongoing imprisonment without charge or trial was upheld for many years because of his “non-compliance” — his resistance to the injustice and brutality of Guantánamo, including through persistent hunger strikes — far more than anything he was alleged to have done before he was seized and taken to Guantánamo in the first place.

Held for 800 Days Since Being Approved for Release from Guantánamo: Moath Al-Alwi, Zakaria Al-Baidany and Mohammed Abdul Malik Bajabu

6.3.24

The fifth article in my ongoing series about the 16 men approved for release from Guantánamo, noting how long they have been held since those decisions were taken, telling their stories, and tying publication of these articles into significant dates in their long ordeal. The articles are published alternately here and on the Close Guantánamo website, and this particular article highlights three men approved for release in December 2021 — the talented artist Moath al-Alwi, and two victims of extraordinary rendition and torture: Zakaria al-Baidany and Mohammed Abdul Malik Bajabu.

Held for 5,150 Days Since Being Approved for Release from Guantánamo: Toffiq Al-Bihani and Two “Ghosts,” Ridah Al-Yazidi and Muieen Abd Al-Sattar

28.2.24

The third article in my ongoing series about the 16 men approved for release from Guantánamo, noting how long they have been held since those decisions were taken, telling their stories, and tying publication of these articles into significant dates in their long ordeal. This particular article highlights the three especially unfortunate men who were approved for release over 14 years ago.

Held for 1,000 Days Since Being Approved for Release from Guantánamo: Uthman Abd Al-Rahim Muhammad Uthman

7.2.24

The first of a series of articles focusing on the 16 men still held at Guantánamo who have long been approved for release by high-level US government review processes. Published to coincide with significant dates in these men’s long wait for freedom, this first article focuses on Uthman Abd Al-Rahim Muhammad Uthman, a Yemeni who was approved for release 1,000 days ago.

Video: My Impassioned Speech at the EU Parliament’s “Close Guantánamo!” Event on Sep. 28, 2023

26.10.23

The video of my speech at the inspiring “Close Guantánamo!” event at the European Parliament on September 28, 2023, hosted by the Irish MEPs Clare Daly and Mick Wallace, at which I stressed how the men still held at Guantánamo are as fundamentally without rights as they were when the prison first opened nearly 22 years ago, and called on EU countries to help resettle the men approved for release but who cannot be repatriated.

Video and Report: The Incredibly Powerful “Close Guantánamo!” Event in the EU Parliament, September 28, 2023

1.10.23

My detailed report about, and the video of ‘Close Guantánamo!’, an extraordinary and hugely powerful three-hour event held at the EU Parliament on September 28, 2023, featuring nine speakers, including Mansoor Adayfi (on what was only his second trip to freedom since he finally got a passport earlier this year) and two other former prisoners, two lawyers, a UN Rapporteur, myself and others, hosted by the inspiring independent Irish MEPs Clare Daly and Mick Wallace. As the event highlighted, the priorities for anyone concerned with justice, and with bringing to an end Guantánamo’s vile existence, are to resettle 16 men still held who have been approved for release (for which the countries of EU can help), providing adequate medical care for everyone still held at the prison, reminding the US government that it continues to have an obligation to ensure the welfare of former prisoners, even after their release, and, eventually, seeking accountability for the crimes that the US government has committed, and still continues to commit at Guantánamo.

Despite 9/11 Accused Being Mentally “Unfit To Stand Trial,” Biden Refuses Plea Deal That Would Provide Mental Health Care, As Required By International Law

26.9.23

My analysis of the significance of a DoD Sanity Board’s assessment that Ramzi bin al-Shibh, one of five men accused of involvement in the 9/11 attacks, who are caught up in seemingly endless pre-trial hearings in Guantánamo’s broken military commissions, is unfit to stand trial because he suffers from PTSD and psychosis. That assessment has been accepted by the military judge in the 9/11 case, but meanwhile President Biden has refused to accept conditions requested by the 9/11 co-accused in plea deals that have been ongoing for the last 18 months, since prosecutors finally recognized that the use of torture had made a successful trial untenable. The conditions include the lifelong provision of adequate physical and mental health care, which has not been provided at Guantánamo, and which, ironically, has contributed significantly to bin al-Shibh’s inability to stand trial.

Sep. 28: EU Parliament Holds “Most Significant Gathering Ever Assembled on Guantánamo”, With Former Prisoners, Lawyers, Myself and Others

10.9.23

Announcing “the most significant gathering ever assembled on Guantánamo in the European Parliament,” on September 28, which I helped to initiate and organize, at which MEPs and members of the public will hear from ten speakers, including three former prisoners (Mansoor Adayfi, Moazzam Begg and Lakhdar Boumediene), Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism, three lawyers (Beth Jacob, Alka Pradhan and Mark Denbeaux), Valerie Lucznikowska of September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, former Muslim Chaplain James Yee, and myself. The main thrust of the event will be to encourage EU governments to help with the resettlement of men still held at Guantánamo who have long been approved for release but who cannot be repatriated.

“Forever Prisoner” Muhammad Rahim, the Last Afghan in Guantánamo, Eloquently Pleads For His Release

22.8.23

My report about a recent Periodic Review Board hearing in Guantánamo, not reported in the mainstream media, about Muhammed Rahim, the last Afghan in the prison, who delivered a heartfelt plea for his release. Despite claims that he was connected with Al-Qaeda, the US authorities have never provided any evidence to back up their claims.

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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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