Twenty years after its opening, the military prison at Guantanamo is still, according to independent experts commissioned by the United Nations, « A legal black hole », a » task « on the United States’ commitment to the rule of law.
Barack Obama promised to shut it down and did nothing. President Trump has promised to fill it with more than » bad guys « , but he did not. Joe Biden said if he is elected president he will shut it down, without saying how he will go about it. According to documents released this week, the Guantanamo Bay Review Board approved the release of five additional detainees from that prison.
The Yemenis Mouaz Hamza Al-Alaoui, Souheil Al-Charabi and Omar Al-Rammah, the Somali Guled Hassan Duran and the Kenyan Mohammed Abdul Malik Bajabu received their exit voucher at the end of 2021. The green light on their release brings the number to 18. detainees promised to be released.
But the United States must find them a base, which could delay their exit because Washington does not repatriate the ex-prisoners to Yemen, a country in the grip of a violent civil war, or to Somalia, another country in crisis. .
The prison of the American naval base located in the south-east of Cuba, received its first detainees twenty years ago, almost to the day, on January 10, 2002, after the jihadist attacks of September 11 as part of the « War on terrorism ».
There are only 39 detainees left, thirteen of whom can be released, although they have yet to find a place to fall. Fourteen others hope for their release, two have been sentenced.
Ten prisoners to be tried
Ten of them, including the suspected mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, are awaiting trial by a military commission, which has issued only two convictions in two decades. Two have been sentenced and nine others are hoping for their release. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby asserted that the US administration « Remained committed to the closure of Guantanamo Bay prison ».
Independent experts commissioned by the United Nations ordered the United States on Monday to close this military prison. « Twenty years of arbitrary detention without trial, accompanied by torture or ill-treatment are simply unacceptable to any government, especially a government that claims the protection of human rights », said in a statement, this dozen independent experts mandated by the UN but who do not speak on its behalf. The prison is « A legal black hole », a » task « on the United States’ commitment to the rule of law, they said.
Since 2002, nine prisoners have died there, seven of suspected suicide, without any judicial follow-up. Some 780 people have been held at the Guantanamo Bay facility, first locked in cages and then in cells in the hastily erected prison on the US military base. Most were released, some after more than ten years of detention without charge.