Biden administration approves 5 more versions of Guantánamo

WASHINGTON – A U.S. government review panel has approved the release of five men who have been held for years without charge in Guantána...


WASHINGTON – A U.S. government review panel has approved the release of five men who have been held for years without charge in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, according to a series of decisions released by the Pentagon on Tuesday, but it is unlikely that they will be released immediately. the Biden administration is scrambling to find nations to take them on.

The disclosure came on the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the prison of war and of President Barack Obama’s last special envoy on the task, Lee wolosky, took the opportunity to urge the White House to stop the operation.

“Our longest war is over, but Guantanamo is on,” Wolosky wrote in an guest column in Politico. “If these detainees had been white and not brown or black, is there a realistic chance that the United States – a country committed to the rule of law – will jail them without charge for decades? I do not think so.

The people recommended for the transfer included three Yemenis, Moath al-Alwi, Zuhail al Sharabi and Omar al-Rammah, and a Kenyan, Mohammed Abdul Malik Bajabu. All are in their forties. None of them have ever been charged with war crimes and instead have been detained as “detained under the law of war,” the American term for prisoners of war against terrorism.

The Defense Ministry also issued an order approving the transfer, with security measures, of Guled Hassan Duran, 47, from Somalia. His lawyers had previously revealed that he had been approved, making him the first inmate brought to Guantánamo Bay from a black CIA site to be recommended for release.

Mr. Alwi, whom the review board considered a low-level intern without any leadership role in Al Qaeda or the Taliban, is perhaps the best known of the five prisoners because of the replicas of sailboats he made from items in his cell block. The models were the focal point of an exhibition in New York on the art of Guantanamo, and the subject of a opinion documentary who imagined how he made them.

Diplomats working through the State Department’s country offices, and not through a centralized Guantanamo office like the one Mr. Wolosky headed, sought to make the necessary arrangements. The plans have typically included host nation commitments to restrict the movement of detainees, provide resettlement opportunities, and sometimes enroll them in a jihad rehabilitation program, all aimed at preventing them from turning to anti-American activity.

It is against US law to send Guantanamo detainees to Yemen, in part because it lacks an operational government that can provide security guarantees. Other countries would therefore have to accept to welcome them. Oman and Saudi Arabia have been key sponsors, with successful relocation.

Of the 18 men now cleared, half is from Yemen and one is from Somalia, another country on Congress’ no-transfer list, along with Libya and Syria. An Afghan citizen has also been granted permission to leave with security measures, but his release would require negotiating with the Taliban, who now rule the country.

Mr Wolosky’s comments on the detention center prosecution echoed criticism from activists who staged 20th anniversary protests this week, including a rally on Facebook rather than White House Square due to the rise of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

“The time has come to complete the multi-year process of restoring the moral credibility of the United States by untangling the knots we ourselves have tied at Guantanamo,” he said.

Mr. Wolosky has served in the Clinton, Obama and Biden administrations, most recently as Special Advisor to President Biden on the resettlement of Afghan refugees. As the last special envoy of the Obama administration for the closure of Guantanamo, he obtained the title of ambassador and had a reputation for being a fierce negotiator who in some cases sought to send detainees to others. country for prosecution or preventive detention.

For example, he tried unsuccessfully in 2016 to get Israel to agree to Mr. Bajabu being tried, on the grounds that he was suspected of having played a role in the November 2002 car bomb attack of the Israeli-owned Paradise Hotel that killed 13 people in Kenya, and a failed surface-to-air missile attack on an Israeli airliner.

Mr. Bajabu was arrested in Kenya in 2007 and handed over to US authorities. They saw him as a facilitator of the Al Qaeda branch in East Africa that was involved in the attacks.

But the review board concluded on December 27 that his release, along with security guarantees from a host country, was justified because he was a low-level extremist intern before his capture. He also noted “the dissipation of the network of extremist associates with which he was previously involved”.

His lawyer told the commission in September that Mr. Bajabu had a wife and three children in Somalia who were ready to move to Kenya, where he has “a large and loving family” if he is repatriated there.

The lawyer, Mark Maher of the London-based legal defense organization Reprieve, called him a peaceful man who poses no threat to the United States and “can cite Mohandas Gandhi and Dr Martin Luther King as the teens quote Taylor Swift “.

The board of directors includes six members from the ministries of defense, state, justice and internal security, as well as representatives from the office of the director of national intelligence and the joint staff. However, the six cabinet members make the final decision.

the 39 last detainees in the prison are divided into three groups: nine inmates law of war detainees, the 18 who were approved for transfer and a dozen who were charged with war crimes, two of whom were convicted.

Those still awaiting trial include Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and the other four men accused of plotting the attacks of September 11, 2001. Preliminary hearings in the death penalty case were scheduled this week but canceled due to the increase in coronavirus cases at the base, which instituted mandatory quarantines for all travelers upon arrival.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Biden administration approves 5 more versions of Guantánamo
Biden administration approves 5 more versions of Guantánamo
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