Tuesday, March 13, 2007
From yementimes.com: A U.S. lawyer and Northern Illinois University School of Law CrimProf Marc Falkoff revealed that the U.S. military decided years ago that some Yemeni detainees were eligible for release from the Guantánamo Bay detention camp, but they remain in prison until today.
“Some of your countrymen were cleared for release by the U.S. military years ago. Just days ago, after we threatened legal action, the Pentagon revealed previously classified information to us – the names of Yemeni prisoners at Guantánamo who are eligible for immediate transfer back to Yemen, including three of my clients. Some of the men on the military’s list were eligible to return to their home countries at least as early as June 2004,” noted CrimProf Falkoff, who for the past three years has represented 17 Yemenis being detained by the U.S. military at Guantánamo Bay.
According to a list the Yemeni government received from the U.S., approximately 107 Yemenis remain at Guantánamo; however, lawyers and human rights activists say 150 Yemeni detainees remain at the camp.
“Fully one-third of the Saudis are back in Saudi Arabia, more than half of the Afghanis are home with their families and every single European national has been released from Guantánamo. Yet, more than 100 Yemenis remain at the prison – sitting in solitary confinement on steel beds, deprived of books and newspapers, slowly going insane,” Falkoff confirmed.
He added, “The U.S. doesn’t hear the voices of the Yemeni people. You aren’t speaking loudly enough to your representatives, pressuring them to reach an agreement with the U.S. for the repatriation of your citizens. With respect, some of us are concerned that your politicians don’t feel obliged to negotiate the return of your sons and brothers.”
Falkoff criticized the Yemeni government, which so far has failed to reach an agreement with the U.S. to return the Yemeni detainees. “We lawyers have been frozen out of the process, so we can’t tell you exactly what the hold-up has been, but the Yemeni government appears to be anxious that a handful of these more than 100 detainees don’t have adequate proof that they are Yemeni citizens.
Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]