Review Board Clears Guantanamo Detainee for Transfer
Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First is calling yesterday’s decision by the Periodic Review Board to clear for transfer Guantanamo detainee Saeed al-Sarim a step in the right direction 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. The review board decided not to approve transfer of Khalid Qasim, a Yemeni detainee.
“While yesterday’s announcement that al-Sarim is approved for transfer is encouraging, the reviews continue to move forward at a glacial pace,” said Human Rights First’s Daphne Eviatar. “If the president is to close Guantanamo by the end of his term, the administration must double down on completing review board hearings for all remaining detainees.”
The board ruled that al-Sarim, a Yemeni citizen, no longer poses a significant threat to U.S. national security and is now cleared for transfer to a third country. 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. Of the remaining Guantanamo detainees, 56, including al-Sarim, have been cleared by U.S. intelligence and security agencies and should be transferred without delay.
Earlier this week the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights held a hearing on the detainees’ situation in Guantanamo, one of at least ten since 2002. When questioned about the slow pace of the review board hearings, Charles Trumbull, acting special envoy for Guantanamo, told the Committee that he hoped the reviews would be complete within a year.
“This is a positive development in closing the facility, but there is much left to be done,” said Eviatar.
To speak with Eviatar, contact Corinne Duffy at [email protected] or 202-370-3319. For more information, see Human Rights First’s blueprint, Guantanamo: A Comprehensive Exit Strategy and fact sheet on the periodic review boards.