Yemenis in Guantanamo

Mansoor Adayfi’s “Don’t Forget Us Here”: A Devastating Account of Guantánamo’s Cruelty, But One Suffused with Hope, Humor and Humanity

18.8.21

My review of “Don’t Forget Us Here: Lost and Found at Guantánamo,” former prisoner Mansoor Adayfi’s riveting account of his 14 years in the prison, much of which was spent in fierce resistance to the injustice and brutality of everyday life in this fundamentally lawless facility. While the subject matter is bleak, Mansoor somehow never loses touch with his hope, his sense of humor and his humanity.

URGENT ACTION REQUIRED for Six Former Guantánamo Prisoners Repatriated to Yemen from the UAE

28.7.21

My report about disturbing news regarding six former Guantánamo prisoners who have been repatriated to Yemen from the UAE, where they had been arbitrarily detained in abusive conditions since their transfer from Guantánamo in 2015 and 2016. Although this sounds like a positive move, their safety cannot be guaranteed in war-torn Yemen, and I urge campaigners to call on the State Department to take urgent action to support them, and to guarantee their safety.

UN Experts Condemn UAE Plans to Forcibly Repatriate Former Guantánamo Prisoner Ravil Mingazov to Russia, Where He Faces “Substantial Risk of Torture”

3.7.21

My response to UN human rights experts condemning the UAE for its proposal to forcibly repatriate Ravil Mingazov, a Russian sent to the UAE from Guantánamo in 2016, even though he faces “substantial risk of torture” in his home country. I call on the US government to respond by urgently appointing a Special Envoy for Guantánamo Closure to intervene of Mingazov’s behalf — and also on behalf of 19 other men sent to the UAE from Guantánamo (18 Yemenis and an Afghan). All have been subjected to arbitrary detention and enforced disappearance since their resettlement, despite having been promised their freedom when they were first transferred.

Who Are the Two “Forever Prisoners” Approved for Release from Guantánamo by Periodic Review Boards?

23.6.21

The stories of Abdulsalam al-Hela and Sharqawi al-Hajj, the two Guantánamo prisoners approved for release last week by Periodic Review Boards, and what they tell us about how difficult it is for men designated as “forever prisoners,” held for nearly 20 years without charge or trial, to convince the US authorities that they do not pose a threat, and can be safely released.

The 15th Anniversary of the Contentious “Triple Suicide” of Three Prisoners at Guantánamo

10.6.21

My article marking the 15th anniversary of the death at Guantánamo of three prisoners — all long-term hunger strikers and fiercely resistant to the brutal lawlessness of the prison — who, according to the US authorities, died in a “suicide pact,” although that explanation has been robustly challenged on several occasions in the intervening years.

Fighting Guantánamo in the Courts Under President Biden

3.6.21

A detailed examination of the current Guantánamo cases before the US courts, some involving a long-running struggle for due process rights, others involving the imminent end to the war in Afghanistan, and another involving severe mental health issues. There are glimmers of hope in the litigation, but it already seems clear that the Biden administration is intent on resisting judicial interference when it comes to Guantánamo, and is more interested in making decisions about whether or not to release prisoners through the purely administrative Periodic Review Board process, which, just last month, approved three long-standing “forever prisoners” for release.

Great News from Guantánamo As Three “Forever Prisoners,” Including 73-Year Old Saifullah Paracha, Are Approved for Release

19.5.21

My detailed report about some extremely encouraging news from Guantánamo: that three men, including the prison’s oldest inmate, Saifullah Paracha, have been approved for release from the prison by Periodic Review Boards, the high-level government review process established under President Obama.

The Shameful Human Cost of Inertia at Joe Biden’s Guantánamo

13.4.21

84 days into Joe Biden’s presidency, I look at how his lack of prompt action regarding Guantánamo — in the first instance, by not reviving the Office of the Special Envoy for Guantánamo Closure in the State Department — has left six men approved for release between 2009 and 2020 still languishing at the prison. It is also impacting on the lives of men already released, who, as under Donald Trump, have no one within the administration to communicate with when they face life-threatening problems, which, in the case of Lutfi bin Ali, a Tunisian, recently led to his death.

In Trump’s Dying Days, Guantánamo Review Board Approves Yemeni Prisoner for Release

16.12.20

Responding to the good news that Said Nashir (aka Hani Abdullah), a Yemeni prisoner at Guantánamo, has been approved for release by a Periodic Review Board, the first such decision to take place under Donald Trump. Unfortunately, two other men had their ongoing imprisonment approved by PRBs, nearly three and four years after their last hearings took place. These are unacceptable delays, and it is to be hoped that Joe Biden will not only release Nashir (and five other men long cleared for release), but will also urgently overhaul the review process.

After Years in Secret Prisons, UAE Threatens Unsafe Repatriations to Yemen for Former Guantánamo Prisoners

24.10.20

Sad news via the United Nations and the Associated Press, updating the story of 18 Yemenis sent to the United Arab Emirates between 2015 and 2017, after being unanimously approved for release from Guantánamo by high-level US government review processes. Promised new lives, they — and a handful of other ex-prisoners, including some Afghans and Guantánamo’s last Russian prisoner — found themselves imprisoned in abusive conditions instead, and, adding insult to injury, the Yemenis are now being threatened with repatriation to Yemen, where their lives are at risk.

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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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