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News ID: 108359
Publish Date : 29 October 2022 - 21:24
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WASHINGTON (AP/Middle East Eye) – Several defence lawyers have criticized the Biden administration for not doing enough to release the remaining detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison, responding to a U.S. official who said the government is working “diligently” to transfer out the detained population.
In a hearing, hosted by the Inter-American Human Rights Commission, several U.S. government officials spoke to the efforts being taken by the Biden administration to release the remaining detainees still held at Guantanamo and provide adequate care to them while they remain detained, while also working to shut down the prison facilities there.
The officials’ speaking publicly regarding the administration’s efforts on the issue of Guantanamo was notable, given that the Biden administration did not send anyone to testify during a Senate hearing on the prison held earlier this year.
Yet Wells Dixon, a lawyer for several detainees and senior staff attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights, said that while he appreciated the renewed efforts from Biden, there have not been any strong actions taken.
“With great respect, a lot of what we heard today was not new,” Dixon said. “What I didn’t hear today, what I hoped to hear today, was the concrete steps that the United States government is going to take to increase the rate of transfers.”
“We haven’t heard anything about how the United States Government intends to end the military commission process or ultimately close [the prison].”
A growing concern for the aging population of the detention center is the health of the detainees, and over the past few years, several detainees have petitioned for a mixed medical commission to come to the island and assess the overall medical treatment provided onsite.
A 2019 report by The Center for Victims of Torture and Physicians for Human Rights found that medical equipment and expertise available on-site were “increasingly insufficient to address detainees’ health needs”.
The developments comes as the oldest inmate at the detention facility in Cuba Saifullah Paracha has been released to his home country Pakistan after nearly 20 years of detention without trial, the South Asian country’s foreign ministry said.
“The Foreign Ministry completed an extensive inter-agency process to facilitate the repatriation of Mr Paracha,” the ministry said in a statement on Saturday.
“We are glad that a Pakistani citizen detained abroad is finally reunited with his family.”
Businessman Paracha was arrested in 2003 in Thailand and accused of financing the armed group, but he has maintained his innocence and claimed a love for the U.S.
In May, the U.S. approved Paracha’s release concluding only that he was “not a continuing threat” to the U.S.
Like most prisoners at Guantanamo, Paracha – aged 74 or 75 – was never formally charged and had little legal power to challenge his detention.

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