Moroccan Gitmo Detainee Transferred Home
Washington, D.C. - Following reports that the United States has transferred Guantanamo detainee Younis Chekkouri to his home country of Morocco, Human Rights First’s Raha Wala issued the following statement:
“While this transfer is encouraging, there are 52 other cleared detainees who need to be transferred quickly for the president to fulfill his pledge to close Guantanamo before he leaves office. Most of the other detainees should already have been given Periodic Review Board (PRB) hearings to determine if they can be cleared for transfer—but they haven’t.
"The administration needs to step up its efforts and move swiftly to transfer the cleared detainees and provide administrative reviews for other detainees to evaluate whether they can be transferred. If Congress seeks to impose any restrictions that would prevent the administration from closing Guantanamo, the president should veto them."
There are 115 detainees at the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay. Military leaders and national security experts agree that the facility harms national security and should be closed. Fifty-two of the remaining detainees are cleared for transfer, and another 53 are eligible for PRB review.
Human Rights First notes that PRB reviews should have been completed for every eligible detainee over 3 years ago. Detainees who are not cleared for transfer, or who will face prosecution, will likely need to be transferred to the United States in order to close Guantanamo. While current federal law blocks transfers of detainees to the United States for any purpose, President Obama has threatened to veto any legislation that would prevent his administration from closing Guantanamo.
“Prisons in the United States have proven more than capable of securely handling any detainees, including individuals convicted of horrific acts of international terrorism,” added Wala.
Human Rights First’s plan to close Guantanamo is outlined in its latest Blueprint: How to Close Guantanamo.
For more information, or to speak with Wala, contact Mary Elizabeth Margolis at MargolisME@humanrightsfirst.org or 212-845-5269.