National Security

Three Guantánamo Bay detainees cleared for release

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The Biden administration has cleared three more Guantánamo Bay detainees for release, including the oldest of the remaining prisoners.

According to The New York Times, the countries where the three detainees will be released have agreed to impose security conditions on them.

With Monday’s announcement, the number of current detainees at Guantánamo Bay who have been approved for transfer to other countries has been raised to nine, out of the facility’s total of 40, according to the Times.

Saifullah Paracha, 73, of Pakistan; Abdul Rabbani, 54, of Pakistan; and Uthman Abdul al-Rahim Uthman, 40, of Yemen were all cleared for release, the Times reported Monday.

Paracha was the oldest and reportedly among the sickest detainees held at Guantánamo Bay. He suffered from heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.

The three detainees have not been charged with a crime by the U.S. in their two decades at Guantánamo, the Times reported.

Of the remaining detainees at the wartime prison, 12 have been charged with war crimes, one person still there has been convicted and 19 have been deemed too dangerous to be transferred to the custody of another country.

Amnesty International USA said the decision to release three detainees is “not enough” and that the Biden administration has not yet established plans for “how it will let cleared detainees finally experience freedom.”

“Nine people are currently cleared for release at Guantánamo and some have been cleared for more than a decade, yet they are still stuck. This is an outrageous and shameful violation of human rights. President Biden cannot have true credibility advocating for other countries to respect human rights if he does not prioritize closing Guantánamo,” said Daphne Eviatar, the director of the Security With Human Rights program at Amnesty International USA, in a statement.

Eviatar called on the administration to “immediately” nominate a high-level official to lead the effort to close Guantánamo and arrange the transfers of detainees who have not been charged with crimes.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sounded a similar note, applauding the administration’s decision to release the three detainees but calling for the re-establishment of a senior position tasked with negotiating transfers and ultimately closing the prison.

“It’s encouraging that long-overdue transfer or release decisions for indefinitely detained Guantanamo prisoners are finally starting. But implementation is also key, and the administration needs to re-establish a senior position charged with negotiating transfers and actually closing Guantanamo,” said Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU’s National Security Project, in a statement.

“An end to almost two decades of military detention of Muslim men without charge or trial is a human rights obligation and a national security necessity,” Shamsi continued.

Tags amnesty international Guantanamo Bay detention camp Guantánamo Bay Joe Biden The New York Times
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