Half of Prisoners Still Held at Guantánamo Have Actually been Cleared for Release
“Released” has become a meaningless word at Guantánamo Bay for nearly 90 detainees who continue to be held after the U.S. government said they could be freed.
President Barack Obama’s interagency Guantánamo Review Task Force approved the release of 126 prisoners in early 2010. Of this total, 87 have not been let out, remaining instead behind bars at the military detention facility along with another 82 detainees who received no official clearance for release.
The government will not reveal who the 87 men are because the Obama administration has classified this information. However, Andy Worthington, a journalist who has investigated Guantánamo, claims to have identified 40 of the detainees, either during the administration of President George W. Bush or that of President Obama.
Twenty-three of the prisoners are from Yemen, and that none of this group was allowed to leave Guantánamo following the hysteria surrounding Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s failed attempt to blow up a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day 2009. U.S. officials linked the Yemeni detainees and Abdulmutallab through al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the organization based in Yemen that recruited Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian.
Five more of the unreleased prisoners are from Tunisia, three are from Algeria and three are anti-communist Uighurs from China.
To Learn More:
Guantánamo Scandal: The 40 Prisoners Still Held But Cleared for Release At Least Five Years Ago (Andy Worthington)
Guantánamo Files Reveal Confused Mixture of Innocents Detained and Terrorists Released (by David Wallechinsky and Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
Final Report Guantanamo Review Task Force (Department of Justice, Department of Defense, Department of State, Department of Homeland Security, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Joint Chiefs of Staff) (pdf)
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