US, Yemen should allow 'meaningful legal process' in Guantanamo repatriation: HRW

[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] called Sunday for the US and Yemen [JURIST news archive] to agree on a repatriation plan that provides "meaningful legal process" for the nearly 100 Yemeni detainees still at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive]. A new HRW report [PDF; press release] criticized any proposal involving indefinite suspension at a Yemeni facility and expressed fears of detainee mistreatment after repatriation. The organization called for genuine rehabilitation efforts, questioning a Yemeni proposal in which detainees could be held for more than a year and face movement restrictions after release. The report called on Yemen to comply with the UN Convention against Torture [text] and commit to fair trials for any detainees who are charged. HRW's fears of detainee mistreatment are based in part on its follow-up with the 14 Yemeni detainees who have already been repatriated. One said he was beaten by investigators during his two-year detention. The report asked the US to refrain from pressuring Yemen to hold detainees without charges and called for a truth commission [JURIST news archive] to investigate alleged abuse of detainees. Any detainee who cannot return to Yemen due to a credible fear of persecution should be resettled in a safe third country, the report said.

In January, US President Barack Obama [official profile] issued an executive order [text; JURIST report] directing the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility within one year. In July 2008, Yemeni officials met with a visiting US delegation [JURIST report] to discuss the possible transfer of Yemeni detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, with the US voicing concerns that they would be freed upon their return. In October 2007, US officials criticized [JURIST report] the Yemeni government over reports that it had released suspected USS Cole bomber Jamal al-Badawi [GlobalSecurity profile] after he turned himself in. In May 2007, a senior Yemeni official said the country had agreed [JURIST report] to receive most Yemeni detainees being held at Guantanamo. In June 2006, Yemeni officials called for investigations into the Guantanamo suicides of three detainees [JURIST reports], including one Yemeni national, saying that the deaths exemplified the "inhumane conditions of detainees" at the US military prison.



 

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