Guantanamo detainee and Reprieve client Nabil Hadjarab, who was cleared for release in 2007, was last night released and transferred to Algeria along with a second man.
Reprieve hopes that this positive step marks the beginning of further releases from the prison. 164 men remain in Guantanamo, over half of whom have been cleared for release. According to official figures, 36 men are still on hunger strike and 32 are being force-fed, a practice denounced by the World Medical Association as amounting to torture.
Shaker Aamer, whose British wife and four British children all live in London, has been cleared for release since 2007. The British government have repeatedly stated that they want him returned to the UK and David Cameron has personally asked President Obama for Shaker to come back to the UK, yet he remains imprisoned. Shaker has been on hunger strike since February of this year. On a recent call with his lawyer, he said:
“In about the second month I was in Guantánamo the US asked me to cooperate and said I could be home in England in just one month if I did. That was a little over eleven years ago.”
Detainee Younous Chekkouri, who has also been cleared for release, said in a recent call with his lawyer:
“My wife told me something very sad last time we had a call. She said ‘you know, with every Eid that comes, I feel very alone. I went to the mosque to pray, and when prayer finished, I came out. I saw the women sitting outside, being picked up by their husbands. I waited for you, and you didn’t come.’ And she started to cry.”
Commenting on news of the release Nabil’s attorney and Strategic Director at Reprieve, Cori Crider said:
“After a dozen years of needless detention and abuse in US custody, Nabil is embarking on the greatest adventure of his adult life - freedom. He arrives in Algeria weakened from his hunger strike, but with high hopes for the future. He is grateful to the Algerians for accepting him, although he dreams one day of rejoining his family who await him in France. We hope to be able to see him very shortly to help him and the authorities smooth his transition to a free life.”
Notes to editors
1. For further information, contact Clemency Wells in Reprieve's Press Office, on: + 44(0) 207 553 8161 / firstname.lastname@example.org