There’s an awful Catch-22 that’s keeping Guantanamo inmates imprisoned although they’ve been cleared for release. From Seymour Hersh at

America’s federal courts are not playing fair with the innocents who remain wrongly imprisoned at the US detention camp in Cuba

Prisoners at the Guantánamo Bay prison circa 2002. / Shane T. McCoy/US Navy

It was just another federal court decision dealing a further blow to the fate of one of the few remaining souls at the tormented prison at Guantánamo Bay, a chunk of soil on the southeast coast of Cuba that was a spoil turned over to the United States after its victory in the Spanish-American War. The well-documented horrors that went on in the military prison set up there after the 9/11 attacks became a recruiting tool for disaffected young Arabs eager to demonstrate their hatred of America.

The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit ruled in early April that a federal government prisoner, a businessman from Yemen named Abdulsalam Ali Abdulrahman al-Hela, could not be kept locked up if he was no longer deemed to be a threat. But the Court did not rule, as his attorneys wanted, that al-Hela, who is not a US citizen and was captured in a foreign country, had a constitutional right to due process. Al-Hela was initially captured twenty-one years ago in Egypt and, after two years in Central Intelligence Agency black-site prisons, was shipped to Gitmo for further enhanced interrogation—aka torture. 

An internal review board eventually cleared him for release to a nation that employs what the board called “appropriate security measures.” But war-torn Yemen, al-Hela’s home, was not considered safe, and he remained in jail. Hence the new trial, whose same old finding once again had to evoke dismay for sixteen other prisoners who have been approved for release but not to a nation considered safe.

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