Closing Guantanamo: a numbers game



WASHINGTON- US President Barack Obama's administration announced Tuesday that a batch of Guantanamo Bay detainees will be transferred to an isolated maximum-security jail in rural Illinois.
As he struggles to close the prison, a symbol of US excesses in the "war on terror," by a self-imposed January deadline, Obama must juggle a host of legal difficulties due to the different categories of detainee.



Closing Guantanamo: a numbers game
According to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, the administration intends to release or extradite 116 of the 210 detainees still at Guantanamo to their countries of origin or to third countries willing to accept them.
Eleven of the 116 won their release by challenging their detentions through the US federal court system, including seven Chinese Uighurs who the US Supreme Court is considering for release on American soil, which would be a first for Guantanamo detainees.
Of the remaining 94 not considered ready for release, 11 have been ordered to stand trial, five in reformed military tribunals and six, including the alleged mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, in a civilian federal court in New York.
There is insufficient evidence to try some of the remaining 83, who face either military tribunals or civilian trials. Many of them are also considered too dangerous for release, meaning they face indefinite detention.
Civil proceedings are being held to decide on the legality of those facing indefinite detention and Obama has vowed to review their cases every six months.
It is thought to be mostly this final category that the administration hopes to transfer to Illinois to expedite the closure of the prison, although this has not been confirmed officially.
A rough break-down of the nationalities of the remaining 210 detainees is as follows:
Yemeni - around 100
Afghan - around 20
Algerian - around 20
Saudi - around a dozen
Chinese (Uighur) - seven
Libyan - between five and 10
Pakistani - between five and 10
Syrian - between five and 10
Tunisian - between five and 10
Remaining countries with at least one detainee still at Guantanamo:
Azerbaijan, Canada, Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Somalia, Sudan, Tajikistan, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates.
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Wednesday, December 16th 2009
AFP
           


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