View Full Version : 141 detainees at Guantanamo jail cleared to go home

23-04-06, 23:44
141 detainees at Guantanamo jail cleared to go homehttp://www.gulf-times.com/site/images/spacer.gif Published: Sunday, 23 April, 2006, 09:51 AM Doha Time
WASHINGTON: Nearly 30% of the Guantanamo detainees have been cleared to leave the prison but remain jailed because the US government has been unable to arrange for their return to their home countries, the Pentagon said yesterday.

The Pentagon refused to identify these 141 men despite having released on Wednesday its first comprehensive list of detainees held at the prison for foreign terrorism suspects at the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Of these 141 detainees among the 490 still at Guantanamo, various military reviews have cleared 22 to be freed in their home countries and the remaining 119 for transfer to the control of their home governments.

“It’s just an outrageous situation where people have gone through this system that has been established, such as it is, and the government itself has found there’s no reason for them to be held any longer, and yet they continue to be held,” said Curt Goering, a senior Amnesty International USA official.

“It makes a mockery of any kind of system of justice,” Goering added.

Defense officials said the United States has no interest in detaining anyone for any longer than necessary and has been able to arrange for some detainees, but not others, to return to their home countries.

Officials cited US policy not to expel, return or extradite individuals to other countries where it is more likely than not that they will be tortured or persecuted.

Asked why the government will not identify men cleared to leave Guantanamo, Navy Lt Cmdr Chito Peppler, a military spokesman, cited the sensitive nature of US government discussions with other countries about the detainees.

“We do not discuss detainee movements or details related to their movements until after the movement has been completed for operational security reasons,” Peppler said.

Rights activists decry the indefinite detention of Guantanamo detainees since the jail opened in January 2002, and accuse the United States of torture. The Pentagon denies the torture allegations and says many dangerous Al Qaeda and Taliban figures are held there.

Air Force Maj. Michael Shavers, a military spokesman, said 10 detainees still at Guantanamo were cleared for release to their home countries and 12 for transfer to the control of their home governments under review processes in place until July 2004.

Nine detainees still at Guantanamo were deemed by military panels not to be an “enemy combatant,” with these decisions coming no later than March 2005, officials said. The United States has labled detainees “enemy combatants,” denying them rights normally accorded to prisoners of war.

Shavers said five of these nine are members of the Uighur ethnic group from far western China. Many Muslim Uighurs seek greater autonomy for the region and some want independence. China has waged a campaign against what it calls their violent separatist activities.

The Supreme Court declined on Monday to consider whether a judge can free two of them, Abu Bakker Qassim and A’del Abdu Al Hakim, refusing to review the judge’s decision that a federal court cannot provide them relief while the United States seeks a country to take them.

Also still jailed are three detainees cleared for release and 107 cleared to be transferred to the control of their home governments by military panels that review each detainee’s case at least annually, officials said. These hearings ran from December 2004 to December 2005.

The Pentagon said the detainees hail from 40 countries and the West Bank, with the largest number from Saudi Arabia, followed by Afghanistan and Yemen. - Reuters