Blog of Rights

Can You Limbo?

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:21pm
Anthony Shadid at the Post unpacks the story of one detainee, granted release more than a year ago, who remains a guest at Gitmo's maximum security Camp Six because of confusion over his citizenship.
In the legal netherworld that the U.S. military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has represented since it was opened in 2002, Mohammed, once a cook for the Taliban in Afghanistan, remains stuck in a limbo of mistaken identities, bureaucratic inertia and official neglect. In the eyes of his lawyers, the young Yemeni's case is an indictment of a system, still cloaked in the strictest secrecy and largely beyond accountability, in which a man who faces no charge and no sentence remains deprived of the freedom he was granted more than a year ago. "It's a lovely illustration of what happens when there's no oversight of the jailer," said a rueful Rayner. Just before he was to depart on May 18 of last year, on a flight that carried 15 Saudis home, Mohammed was left off the plane for a simple reason: The Saudi government said he was not Saudi, even though he was born there. Under Yemeni and Saudi law, he is Yemeni, by virtue of his parents' citizenship. He carries a Yemeni passport, grew up in Yemen and went to school in Sanaa, the capital, where his parents live.
Lest you feel tempted to dismiss this as an isolated case consider that six other Yemenis are doing the limbo down at Gitmo as well. The Shadid piece also highlights the need to actually DO something for these innocent detainees. To that end, the ACLU is holding a Day of Action to Restore Law and Justice at the end of the month (June 26th, to be precise). Sign up, come out, rally on the Hill, lobby your members of Congress. Public engagement is the only way we can come to some sort of resolution on these issues. Plus, I'll be live-blogging it. That, in and of itself, is reason to come out.
Tags: Guantánamo
Statistics image