U.S. searches for countries willing to take cleared Guantanamo detainees
For the past week, a federal court has heard testimony on the practice of force-feeding Guantanamo detainees who are on hunger strike. The prisoner at the center of the hearings, Abu Wa'el Dhiab of Syria, has been held without a trial since 2002 and was cleared for release in 2009. Currently, of the 149 prisoners at the Guantanamo facilities, 79 are cleared for release, but they don't have a country to go to. Last week, the Organization of American States (OAS) called on its members to take in cleared Guantanamo detainees. Uruguay is currently considering taking in six detainees and yesterday Estonia announced it would take one. Brian Foster is an attorney at Covington and Burling and is currently representing 16 Yemeni detainees at Guantanamo. He says at the heart of this problem is the fact that 58 of the 79 cleared detainees are Yemeni, but the U.S. refuses to send cleared Yemeni detainees back home to Yemen. And even as the U.S. asks other countries to take in its detainees, a federal law bans the U.S. from taking any cleared prisoners.
(photo: In this Nov. 20, 2013, file photo, reviewed by the U.S. military, U.S. Navy medical personnel displays an enteral feeding tube, used for force-feeding detainees, during a tour of the detainee hospital at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak,File))