Yemeni detainees at Guantanamo Bay
The United States has held a total of 115 Yemeni citizens at Guantanamo Bay, forty-two of who have since been transferred out of the facility. Only Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia had a greater number of their citizens held in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. By January 2008, the Yemenis in Guantanamo represented the largest group of detainees.
Among the Yemeni detainees currently held (as of November 2015), 44 are recommended for transfer out of the facility, while twenty-three are being held indefinitely and are not recommended for transfer. Only Ali Hamza Ahmad Suliman al Bahlul has been convicted by military tribunal, and his conviction has been vacated on appeal. Two Yemeni detainees are awaiting trials by military commissions, Ramzi bin al-Shibh and Walid Bin Attash.
A delegation of Yemeni officials visited Guantanamo shortly after it opened in January 2002.
On March 12, 2008 Mark Falkoff of the Center for Constitutional Rights issued a call for the repatriation of the Yemeni detainees, reporting that 95 Yemenis remained in detention, and they now constituted more than a third of the total detainee population. Falkoff wrote that the delay in his release is due to a failure of the USA and Yemeni governments to reach an agreement on the security arrangements for the detainees, following their repatriation. By contrast, almost all the 133 Saudi detainees in Guantanamo had been sent home in 2006 and 2007.
Impact of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's alleged attempted suicide bombing
On December 25, 2009, Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab allegedly tried to set off a suicide bomb on Northwest Airlines Flight 253. By December 27, 2009, responding to rumors that Abdulmutallab had confessed to being trained and equipped in Yemen, various American politicians, including Joe Lieberman, Pete Hoekstra, Peter T. King and Bennie Thompson, called for American President Barack Obama to halt plans to repatriate the Yemenis.
Yemen recently had a change in administration.[when?] Officials of the new administration said, "Saleh demanded $200 million in return for receiving the Yemeni detainees, but the US offered him only $20 million. The two sides could not reach an agreement to release the detainees by then."'
Several returned Yemeni detainees were charged and stood trial, following their repatriation. Yemen established a special Criminal Court for Terrorism where their trials took place.
On June 7, 2008 Yemen Online reported that several Yemeni detainees had recently been allowed to their first phone calls to their families. The article also reported that "informed sources" said Stephan Seche, the American ambassador had returned to the USA to brief the Bush Presidency on Yemen's rehabilitation program for repatriated detainees.
List of Yemeni detainees in Guantanamo
- "Citizens of Yemen". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-11-05.
- Michael Melia (January 11, 2008). "Yemenis now biggest group at Guantanamo". San Jose Mercury. Retrieved 2008-01-25.
- "Citizens of Yemen". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-11-05.
- "Yemen to Inspect Condition of 21 Yemeni Detainees at Guantanamo". Yemen Times. 3 February 2002. Retrieved 2008-05-05.[dead link]
- Mark Falkoff (March 12, 2008). "Guantánamo Attorneys Say Detainees Will Not Be Tortured If Returned to Yemen". Center for Constitutional Rights. Retrieved 2008-05-11.
- "Following Path of Least Resistance, Terrorists Turn Yemen Into Poor Man's Afghanistan". Fox News. 2009-12-27. Archived from the original on 2009-12-27.
'They should stay there. They should not go back to Yemen,' Hoekstra said. 'If they go back to Yemen, we will very soon find them back on the battlefield going after Americans and other western interests.'
- Sudeep Reddy (2009-12-27). "Lawmakers Focus on Yemen in Wake of Attempted Bombing". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 2009-12-27.
The 23-year-old suspect in the botched attack, Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab of Nigeria, allegedly told U.S. officials that he received his explosive device in Yemen and learned to use it there.
- "Lieberman: The United States Must Pre-Emptively Act In Yemen". Huffington Post. 2009-12-27. Archived from the original on 2009-12-27.
In his appearance on 'Fox News Sunday', Lieberman also argued that the botched attack should compel the Obama administration to abandon efforts to transfer suspected-terrorists out of the holding facility at Guantanamo Bay, saying that the complex is now well above international standards.
- "Gitmo transfer to Yemen in doubt". United Press International. 2009-12-27. Archived from the original on 2009-12-27.
'I'd, at a minimum, say that whatever we were about to do we'd at least have to scrub (those plans) again from top to bottom,' said House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss.
- Josh Gerstein (2009-12-27). "Bomb plot complicates Gitmo plan". Politico. Archived from the original on 2009-12-28.
'Yesterday just highlights the fact that sending this many people back—or any people back—to Yemen right now is a really bad idea,' said Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.), the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee. 'It's just dumb….If you made a list of what the three dumbest countries would be to send people back to, Yemen would be on all the lists.'
- "Yemen refuses extraditing Guantanamo detainees to third state". Yemen Post. 2012-11-13. Archived from the original on 2012-11-13.
"Saleh demanded $200 million in return for receiving the Yemeni detainees, but the US offered him only $20 million. The two sides could not reach an agreement to release the detainees by then," the US officials told Hadi.
- "Yemen to try fighters coming from Iraq, ex-Guantanamo prisoners". Kuwait News Agency. January 26, 2006. Retrieved 2008-05-09.[dead link]
- Mohammed Al-Qadhi (June 21, 2004). "Advocates quit again: Court bans publishing hearings of 15 al-Qaeda suspects' tribunal, military trial proceedings claimed". Yemen Times. Retrieved 2008-05-05.
- "Gitmo stalemate for Yemeni detainees: Home country refuses to lock them up; detention center enters 7th year". MSNBC. January 11, 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-05.
- Kathy Gannon (July 4, 2007). "Yemen Employs New Terror Approach". Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-05-05.
There are more men from Yemen held at Guantanamo Bay than from any other country.
- Andrew Mc Gregor (May 10, 2007). "Yemen and the U.S.: Different Approaches to the War on Terrorism" 5 (9). Global Terrorism Analysis. Archived from the original on 2008-02-14. Retrieved 2008-05-09.
- "U.S. intends to hand over 70 Yemeni Guantanamo detainees". Al Sahwa Net. June 7, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-07.
- "Yemen plans rehabilitation program for Guantanamo returnees". Yemen Online. June 7, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-01.
- Charlie Savage (2016-01-14). "Guantánamo Population Drops to 93 after 10 Prisoners Go to Oman". New York Times. Retrieved 2016-01-14.
Oman, which shares a border with Yemen, also took in 10 lower-level detainees in 2015. Its acceptance of 20 men over the past 13 months has significantly aided the Obama administration’s goal of repatriating or resettling all the men who have been recommended for transfer, most of whom have been languishing with that status since at least 2009 when a six-agency task force unanimously approved letting them go.
- "Five Guantanamo Yemeni inmates sent to Oman and Estonia". BBC News. 2015-01-14. Archived from the original on 2015-01-15.
The five men - in their 30s and 40s - were cleared for release since at least 2009, but US officials ruled out their return to Yemen, where the government is battling al-Qaeda rebels.
- Margot Williams. "Guantanamo timeline 2015". New York Times. Archived from the original on 2015-01-15.
- "IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Release No: NR-235-15, June 13, 2015, Detainee Transfer Announced". United States Department of Defense. 2015-06-13. Archived from the original on 2015-06-13.
The United States is grateful to the Government of Oman for its humanitarian gesture and willingness to support ongoing U.S. efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. The United States coordinated with the Government of Oman to ensure these transfers took place consistent with appropriate security and humane treatment measures.
- Carol Rosenberg (2015-11-16). "U.S. sends 5 Guantánamo detainees to the United Arab Emirates". Miami Herald.
With Congress pushing stricter restrictions on prisoner transfers, the Pentagon this weekend released five Yemenis from the prison camps at Guantánamo to resettle in the United Arab Emirates, an Arabian Gulf [sic] nation. None of the captives had ever been charged with a crime.
- Margot Williams. "Guantanamo timeline 2016". New York Times.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Yemeni captives at Guantanamo Bay.|
- Fahed Abdullah Ahmad Ghazi's (a.k.a. Fahd Ghazy) Guantanamo detainee assessment via Wikileaks
- Yemenis cleared for release held in Guantanamo for years May 2011