Biden administration transfers its first inmate from Guantánamo Bay
The Biden administration has reinvigorated a parole-type process that was established in the Obama years to examine every Guantánamo inmate who has not been charged with crimes, to decide whether to recommend that he be returned to custody. from another country. The Inter-Agency Periodic Review Board has announced five decisions since Mr Biden took office, and all of those detainees have been approved for transfers – including the oldest man held in Guantánamo, a 73-year-old Pakistani suffering from heart disease and other geriatric conditions.
The panel includes representatives from six national security agencies, including the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Pentagon Joint Staff and the Department of Homeland Security, but a transfer recommendation does not guarantee release. The State Department must still enter into a transfer agreement, and the Secretary of Defense must personally approve it and notify Congress.
The council also held a hearing on May 18 on whether to recommend the transfer of the Saudi prisoner who was tortured at Guantanamo, Mr. Qahtani, but did not announce a decision.
He has a separate trial pending in federal court over whether his psychiatric condition, acute schizophrenia, warrants repatriation to medical care in Saudi Arabia because he cannot receive adequate care at the naval base. As part of the lawsuit, his lawyers obtained a court order for a panel of doctors, including two non-Americans, to examine him.
The Justice Department during the Trump administration had opposed the trial, and days before Mr. Trump stepped down, his secretary of the military amended regulations to attempt to disqualify all prisoners at Guantanamo. , notably Mr. Qahtani, of the possibility of an independent outside court-ordered review. doctors.
Some Democrats in Congress, signaling their impatience with the pace of efforts to close the prison, have proposed legislation to the Appropriations Committee that would fund the Guantanamo detention operation, which has been estimated at more than $ 13 million per prisoner and per year.
To do so, however, would require finding a place to go for the remaining 39 inmates. And even if Mr Nasser’s transfer to Morocco turns out to be the first in a flurry, transfers of lower-ranking inmates alone will not close the prison.