Monday, June 30, 2014

Guantánamo's “Forever Prisoner”: Muaz al-Alawi

"It is, I believe, impossible to argue with the logic of Muaz al-Alawi, a Yemeni prisoner in Guantánamo," says analyst Andy Worthington . . .

[Al-Alawi] recently told his lawyer, Ramzi Kassem, that, when attempting to make sense of Guantánamo, only one analysis is necessary: “It is all political,” al-Alawi told him. “It is all theater, it is all a game….”

Held mostly without charge or trial for 12 and a half years, they [prisoners] have discovered that being cleared for release means nothing, as 78 of the 149 men still held have been cleared for release—all but three since January 2010, when a high-level task force appointed by President Obama issued its recommendations regarding the disposition of the remaining prisoners.

Muaz al-Alawi
Al-Alawi, on the other hand, is one of 61 other prisoners recommended for ongoing imprisonment without charge or trial by the task force, or for prosecutions that are no longer going ahead, who are slowly having their cases reviewed by Periodic Review Boards. These review boards have so far recommended three men for release, but they have not been freed….

In February 2013, al-Alawi responded to this seemingly endless injustice by embarking on a hunger strike, as part of the prison-wide hunger strike that took place last year, and was force-fed every day. Moreover, he has continued on a hunger strike, and is still force-fed, and, although reliable figures for the current number of hunger strikers are hard to come by, because the authorities stopped reporting them at the end of last year, the legal team for another force-fed prisoner, Abu Wa’el Dhiab, recently stated that they believe there are currently 34 hunger strikers, and that 18 are being force-fed.

Read the full commentary: “It Is All Theater, It Is All A Game,” Yemeni “Forever Prisoner” Says from Guantánamo on Andy Worthington's website.

401 Days Have Passed Since President Obama’s Renewed Promise to Close Guantánamo: Only 17 Men Released as of June 27, 2014

• 149 men remain imprisoned. 141 of them haven’t been charged.
• 78 men have been cleared for release, most of whom have been imprisoned without charge for more than 11 years.
• An unknown number of men are on hunger strike and are being force-fed.

Force-feeding is in violation of Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. A mass hunger strike began on February 6, 2013. At its height, in June 2013, 106 men were reportedly participating in the hunger strike. On December 3, 2013, the U.S. military stopped daily reporting on the number of hunger strikers.