Yemenis Gather to Protest Detention, Torture in Gitmo
'Prisoners’ health continues to deteriorate but we still have no action from President Obama'
Yemenis gathered in front of the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa on Monday to protest the continued indefinite detention of Yemeni civilians in Guantanamo Bay and the Obama administration's continued failure to close the facility despite repeated promises to do so.
The protesters, demanding the immediate release of the 84 Yemeni prisoners still held in Guantanamo Bay who have never been charged with a crime, marched through Sanaa chanting "Freedom, freedom for the detainees!" Many wore orange jumpsuits similar to those warn by inmates in Guantanamo.
Fifty-six Yemenis have already been cleared for release, but the Obama administration is yet to make significant steps to free them.
Meanwhile, on Monday the Obama administration released a list of 46 detainees names in the prison camp who they consider "too dangerous" to release—while maintaining that the administration still lacks any evidence to prosecute them.
The men held in that particular limbo include 26 Yemenis, 12 Afghans, three Saudis, two Kuwaitis, two Libyans, a Kenyan, a Moroccan and a Somali.
In total, 100 of 166 detainees continued their hunger strike, which reached its 133rd day on Tuesday. Recent reports estimate that over forty of those participating prisoners are being force-fed by military personnel—a practice considered by many to be a form of torture.
The protesters, who included friends and family of the detainees, were also joined by activists from the US-based group CODEPINK.
The group has been Yemen since June 14th for an ongoing "peace delegation."
"This past week, the US delegates heard heart-breaking stories from the Yemeni families," CODEPINK writes. "Working with the Yemeni NGO Hood, they decided to organize the first ever Yemeni-American vigil in Sanaa. The Yemeni families will bring letters to US Ambassador Feierstein explaining their plight. The American delegation will be fasting in solidarity with the prisoners."
“I spoke out during President Obama’s May 23 speech, asking him why he refuses to release the 86 cleared prisoners,” said CODEPINK cofounder Medea Benjamin. “Weeks later, the prisoners’ health continues to deteriorate but we still have no action from President Obama. That’s just unacceptable.”