[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 
persecution there.

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 
governments." /


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 
Reprieve's website 

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.
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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