Last month, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter approved the transfer of 17 detainees from the Guantánamo detention site. Today, Khalid al Dhuby and Mahmoud Omar Bin Atef became the first to be transferred. In response, Naureen Shah, director of Amnesty International's Security and Human Rights program, issued the following statement:
“Today’s transfer, and the 15 more we anticipate this month, are a sign that President Obama is making good on his commitment to close Guantánamo before leaving office. This surge in transfers shows President Obama is willing to buck congressional opposition on a key matter of his human rights legacy.
"By the end of January, Guantánamo will still have 90 detainees left, 31 of whom national security agencies have cleared for transfer. The Obama administration should transfer these individuals without delay and either charge or release the remaining detainees.
"Congress is busy playing politics with the lives of detainees who could die behind bars without ever facing trial. Guantánamo is a stain on the nation’s human rights record that is poised to become permanent.
"President Obama should abandon plans to relocate some detainees to the United States for indefinite detention. Closing Guantánamo means ending indefinite detention for good, not moving it elsewhere. Detainees who cannot be transferred should either be prosecuted in federal court or released. The Justice Department should stop erecting barriers by opposing the habeas petitions of individuals whom it does not intend to prosecute.
“Additionally, the Justice Department should commit to reopening and expanding investigations into torture and other human rights violations suffered by detainees and prosecuting those responsible.”