More Guantanamo PRB Hearings Announced

By Alice Debarre

In a welcome development, today the Obama Administration announced four additional Periodic Review Board (PRB) hearings—the interagency review process intended to determine whether Guantanamo detainees represent a “continuing significant threat to the security of the United States.”

This demonstrates the administration’s commitment to ramping up the review process and building momentum for the prison’s closure. There are now six new detainee hearings on the schedule. Another upcoming hearing is a “full review” for detainee Salem Ahmad Hadi Bin Kanad. The PRB previously determined that he should stay in detention and undergo another round of review.

Completing the PRB process is essential to the president’s goal of shuttering the Guantanamo Bay detention facility before his term ends. Human Rights First has previously expressed concern about the PRB’s slow pace and welcomes today’s announcement. As of today, 28 PRB hearings have been held for 25 detainees. 42 other detainees who are eligible for PRB consideration are still waiting to have their detention reviewed.

Alongside efforts to increase the number of PRB hearings, the administration needs to ensure that the PRB makes its determinations in a timely manner. Five detainees are still awaiting decisions and no decision has been made since last month. Detainee Salman Yahya Hassan Mohammad Rabei’i has been waiting for his PRB determination since July 2015.

Given the restrictive Guantanamo provisions in the 2016 NDAA, increasing the pace of PRB hearings and the transfers of cleared detainees may be the president’s last and only shot at shuttering the facility. Thirty-four of the remaining 91 Guantanamo detainees have been cleared for release, and are still awaiting transfer. The administration should rapidly arrange it.

See Human Rights First’s blueprint “How to Close Guantanamo” for a detailed outline of how the administration can close Guantanamo before President Obama leaves office.

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Published on February 19, 2016

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