Periodic Review Board Clears Another Guantanamo Detainee for Transfer
Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First is calling today’s decision by the Periodic Review Board to clear for transfer Guantanamo detainee Fawzi al-Odah a step in the right direction with regard to fulfilling President Obama’s pledge to close Guantanamo. The organization calls on the Obama Administration to increase the pace of the review hearings so that they can be completed by the end of the year.
“Today’s announcement is a step in the right direction,” said Human Rights First’s Raha Wala. “However, in order for the president to close Guantanamo by the end of his term, the review boards must pick up the pace.”
The board ruled that Fawzi al-Odah, a Kuwaiti citizen, no longer poses a significant threat to U.S. national security and is now cleared for transfer. The Periodic Review Board consists of members of U.S. national security agencies who are tasked with reviewing the case files of detainees and determining whether circumstances or new evidence compels changing the status of the detainee under review.
As major combat operations in Afghanistan draw down, it is essential that the president and Congress work together to close Guantanamo and bring an end to what has become a symbol for an America that flouts the law. Since President Obama’s counterterrorism address in May 2013 at the National Defense University, significant steps have been taken to close the facility. Despite positive developments, which include additional transfers, the appointment of special envoys, and the cessation of the self-imposed moratorium on transfers to Yemen, the administration still needs to develop a comprehensive plan for dealing with the remaining Guantanamo Bay detainees.
“This is a welcome development, but there is much more left to be done,” said Wala.
There are 149 men held at Guantanamo. Including al-Odah, 79 men have been cleared for release.