Closing Guantanamo Remains a Priority

Following the White House announcement regarding the suspension of detainee transfers from Guantanamo to Yemen, Human Rights First issued this statement urging that closing the detention facility should remain a priority – and is key to ensuring U.S. national security. We also have a petition running to urge that the detention facility is closed – sign here.

In light of recent development, Human Rights First recommends:

The Obama administration should press ahead in identifying third countries
willing to accept the Yemeni detainees cleared for release and, at the same time
continue to work closely with Yemeni officials to address current security
concerns and to minimize potential risk before reinstating transfers there. With
all transfers the administration can and should take steps to mitigate risk by
focusing on expanding risk assessment efforts, monitoring, and other security
programs, including allotting of sufficient resources to successfully
reintegrate former detainees.

This Monday, January 11, marks the eighth anniversary of the first transfer to the Guantanamo detention facility. Human Rights First has pulled together the data about what has happened over those eight years – see below for our rendering of Guantanamo by the numbers.

Guantánamo by the Numbers

First detainees brought to Guantánamo: January 11, 2002[2]

Number of detainees currently held at Guantánamo: 198

Total number of detainees ever incarcerated at Guantánamo: 779[4]

Total number of detainees released from Guantánamo: 575, with about 525 repatriated.[5]

Detainees who have won their habeas corpus petitions that federal judges have determined are unlawfully held: 33

Detainees who have lost their habeas corpus petitions: Nine

Detainees approved for release by the Obama Administration: 116

Transfers Out of Guantánamo Since President Obama Took Office: 42

Number of countries that Guantánamo detainees have been transferred to, from the Middle East, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and the Caribbean: 44.[10]

Detainees Sent to the U.S. for trial: One. Ahmed Ghailani was transferred June 9, 2009[11].

Five detainees, including alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks Khalid Sheik Mohammed, will be transferred to New York for trial in federal court.[12]

Detainees released by the Bush Administration: More than 500[13]

Chinese Uighurs released from Guantánamo: Five were transferred to Albania and ten have been sent to the islands of Palau and Bermuda. Seven remain at Guantánamo[14].

Yemenis released from Guantánamo: 19 of the approximately 100 who have been detained at Guantánamo have been released[15].

Prisoners who have died at Guantánamo: Six. Two Saudis and a Yemeni were found hanging simultaneously in June 2006; another Saudi, was found hanging in May 2007; an Afghan man died of colon cancer in December 2007; and a Yemeni man was found dead of alleged suicide June 1, 2009.

Last known arrival: Muhammed Rahim al Afghani, described as a high-level al Qaeda captive, on March 14, 2008.

Last known departures announced December 20, 2009: Twelve detainees transferred to Afghanistan, Yemen and the Somaliland region.[18]
ate Military Commissions first established, by military order: November 13, 2001[19]

Number of times Military Commissions re-vamped: Three times, with one contested.[20]

Captives convicted by Military Commission: Three. David Hicks under a plea agreement, now free in his native Australia. Salim Hamdan of Yemen, who was sentenced to 66 months, with credit for time served, was released in January 2009 to live with his family.[21].

Ali Hamza al Bahlul, also of Yemen, was sentenced to life, after his refusal to take part in the trial.[22]

Cases involving detainee rights that have gone before the U.S. Supreme Court: Five.
Times Supreme Court justices have sided with the detainees: Four (Fifth is pending this session.)

International terrorists convicted in U.S. Federal Courts between 9/11/01 and 7/09: 195.
Convicted terrorists currently being held in U.S. prisons: 355, including 216 international terrorists, and 139 domestic terrorists.[26]

Number of convicted international terrorists who have escaped from any part of the federal prison system: ZERO.[27]

[1] Updated on January 6, 2009


Published on January 6, 2010


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