Today is the 9th anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo Bay and marks two years since President Obama promised to close the prison and seek justice for its inmates. Yet instead of closing the prison, last Friday President Obama signed a bill blocking its closure and condemning its prisoners to indefinite detention without trial.
The 173 prisoners still trapped inside now have little hope of either trial or release after the US Congress inserted provisions into the bill that are explicitly designed to prevent even cleared prisoners from leaving.
The disastrous Defense Authorization bill includes a ban on using funds to transfer Guantánamo prisoners to the US mainland to face criminal trials, a ban on using funds to buy or build a prison on the US mainland to hold Guantánamo prisoners and a ban on the release of any prisoner cleared for release by the Obama Administration’s Guantánamo Review Task Force to countries considered dangerous by Congress.
As a result:
- 89 prisoners cleared for release by the Task Force will remain imprisoned without charge or trial;
- 58 of those cleared prisoners remain imprisoned simply because they are Yemenis, due to a moratorium on releasing any Yemen nationals;
- 31 of those cleared prisoners remain imprisoned largely because they cannot be safely repatriated due to a substantial risk of torture; for many the stain of Guantánamo would vastly increase the risk of persecution;
- 33 prisoners recommended for trials by the Task Force will, for the most part, remain imprisoned without trial.
As you can imagine, this is a very dark time for prisoners in Guantánamo. Please consider writing to someone being held there to offer your support. All the information you need to do so is on our website.
Thank you, as ever, for your support,
The Reprieve Team