Exclusive: many resettled Guantánamo detainees in legal limbo, analysis shows | Guantánamo Bay

About 30% of former Guantánamo detainees who had been resettled in third nations haven’t been granted legal standing, in response to new analysis shared solely with the Guardian, leaving them susceptible to deportation and proscribing their capacity to rebuild their lives.

Of the lots of of males launched from Guantánamo for the reason that jail first opened 20 years in the past, about 150 had been despatched to 3rd nations in bilateral agreements brokered by the US, as a result of their residence nations had been thought-about harmful to return to.

Publicly, the US dedicated to transferring them in a humane means that may guarantee rehabilitation after years of incarceration – and, in many circumstances, torture – with out cost. However many stay in legal limbo, unable to work or reunite with their households, and have been topic to years of detention. Others have been forcibly returned to harmful situations.

The brand new information was produced by the human rights group Reprieve, which assists former detainees, and illustrates how the lawlessness that has marked the jail from the start can observe males years after their launch. The analysis signifies that roughly 45 males haven’t been given residency paperwork upon resettlement.


Ravil Mingazov was held at Guantánamo for greater than 14 years earlier than being transferred to the United Arab Emirates on the final day of the Obama administration. A Muslim Tatar from Russia who had been harassed by authorities due to his faith, he feared returning residence, the place UN human rights specialists warned he may face torture. He was assured he would reside freely in the UAE after a brief stint in a rehabilitation facility. As an alternative, he has been held in solitary confinement and severely mistreated, in response to his household and attorneys.

Ravil Mingazov, before he was held at Guantánamo Bay.
Ravil Mingazov, earlier than he was held at Guantánamo Bay. {Photograph}: Reed Smith

His 23-year-old son, Yusuf Mingazov, spoke to the Guardian from his residence in London. “I’m not saying that Guantánamo is an efficient place. It’s one of many worst locations in the world, one of many worst prisons. However evaluating to UAE proper now, it’s a pleasant place.”

Final yr, fears of pressured repatriation mounted after Russian authorities visited Ravil’s mom in Tatarstan to supply journey paperwork. Monitored telephone calls to relations floor to a halt. A UN opinion has likened Mingazov’s case to incommunicado detention and enforced disappearance, holding each the US and the UAE accountable. A state division spokesperson stated that issues concerning the case had been raised with the UAE authorities.

Martina Burtscher, a caseworker with Reprieve, stated that addressing the wants of former detainees turned a lot tougher when the Trump administration eradicated a state division workplace devoted to closing Guantánamo. That workplace had been led by a particular envoy charged with discovering options for the lads who remained and monitoring the situations of these resettled.

With out the workplace, there was no solution to press host governments, who now “had a free hand” to do what they needed with the lads, stated Burtscher. “Who do you name in the state division to attempt to make sure that there’s a follow-up? You may go to the US embassy in the host nation, which I attempted to do in a number of areas. The solutions had been largely the identical: ‘It’s not our downside any extra. The lads at the moment are on the [mercy] of their host nations, and we’re positive that their human rights are being met.’”

For many former detainees, that was not the case. The UAE has deported 22 different males to their residence nations, Yemen and Afghanistan. One of many Yemeni males is being held by a militia group; one of many Afghan males died from “torture, mistreatment and medical neglect each at Guantánamo and in the UAE”, in response to a UN report. In 2018, Senegal forcibly repatriated two males to Libya, the place they had been detained by militia. They’ve since been launched however stay “susceptible to re-detention”, in response to Reprieve.

Different ex-detainees could also be nominally free in host nations, however with out documentation, they usually can’t work, journey or see their households. Mansoor Adayfi, a Yemeni man despatched to Serbia in 2016, has complained of persistent surveillance and different restrictions, calling post-detention life “Guantánamo 2.0”.

Mansoor Adayfi.
Mansoor Adayfi. {Photograph}: Slavoljub Milanović

The state division spokesperson stated that the federal government registers its issues with host nations when it’s not clear ex-detainees are being handled humanely.

The Biden administration has not re-established the particular envoy function for closing Guantánamo. Solely one person has to this point been launched underneath Biden, to his native Morocco, and 13 detainees are eligible for switch.

Ambassador Daniel Fried, the particular envoy throughout Obama’s first time period, stated monitoring the progress of resettled detainees was a central a part of the job. “We knew the standing of each third-country switch. I knew the one who received married and the place he labored and who his spouse was,” he stated.

“There are some issues of Guantánamo that can by no means go away,” Fried continued. “The best way you cope with that’s to step up and ensure that the those who had been there – in the event you discovered them eligible for switch – are given the help they want.”

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