[Ppnews] Obama shuts down office in charge of Guantanamo resettlement efforts
Political Prisoner News
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue Jan 29 10:28:34 EST 2013
*Obama shuts down office in charge of Guantanamo resettlement efforts*
The office of the special envoy in charge of closing the prison at
Guantanamo Bay has been shut down, the Obama administration has
announced. Coming almost exactly four years after the President promised
to close the prison within a year, this move effectively signals the end
of Obama's attempts to help with resettlement of those men still held.
A statement quietly released on Friday [January 25th] afternoon by the
State Department stated that special envoy Daniel Fried had been
reassigned, his office closed, and his responsibilities around
Guantanamo given to the already overstretched State Department legal
Mr Fried's office was established in 2009 shortly after President Obama
signed an executive order calling for the closure of Guantanamo Bay
prison within a year. The main focus of his office was on the men who
have been cleared for release but who can not return to their home
countries because of the real risk that they will face torture or
Among those still held and seeking resettlement are Reprieve's clients
Yunnus Chekkouri, Abu Wa'el Dhiab and Nabil Hadjarab. All three were
hoping for the assistance of Ambassador Fried's office to find a home
outside the prison. All have been cleared for release for several years.
Yunnus is from Morocco and Abu Wa'el from Syria. Neither man can return
home because of fears over imprisonment and torture. Nabil Hadjarab is
an Algerian who was raised in France, where his family resides. Reprieve
is currently urging the French government to do everything they can to
get Nabil back to France.
The Obama administration continues to claim that they are seeking the
closure of the notorious prison. 166 men remain in Guantanamo Bay, 86 of
whom have been cleared for release -- an arduous process involving the
unanimous consent of no fewer than six US federal agencies and a
designation that these men pose no threat.
Hilary Stauffer, Reprieve's Deputy Legal Director, said: /"Yunnus
Chekkouri, Abu Wa'el Dhiab, Nabil Hadjarab and all the other men who are
being held with neither charge nor trial have just been completely
abandoned by the Obama administration. By closing Ambassador Fried's
office the President has broken his promise to close the prison and
shattered the hope that these men might ever be able to leave.
Government resources necessary for closing Guantanamo must be in place
and have the authority to negotiate transfers with potential host
Notes to editors.
1. For further information please contact Clemency Wells in Reprieve's
Press Office on [+44] 7739 188 097 / clemency.wells [AT] reprieve.org.uk
2. For more information on our Guantanamo Bay work, please see
3. There is more on our website about the cases of Younous Chekkouri
Abu Wa'el Dhiab
and Nabil Hadjarab
4. Reprieve, a legal action charity, uses the law to enforce the human
rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay. Reprieve
investigates, litigates and educates, working on the frontline, to
provide legal support to prisoners unable to pay for it themselves.
Reprieve promotes the rule of law around the world, securing each
person's right to a fair trial and saving lives. Clive Stafford Smith
is the founder of Reprieve and has spent 25 years working on behalf of
people facing the death penalty in the USA.
Reprieve's current casework involves representing 15 prisoners in the US
prison at Guantánamo Bay, assisting over 70 prisoners facing the death
penalty around the world, and conducting ongoing investigations into the
rendition and the secret detention of 'ghost prisoners' in the so-called
'war on terror.' Follow Reprieve on twitter: @ReprieveUK; if you were
forwarded this release, sign up to join our press mailing list.
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