Two Massachusetts Towns Welcome Guantánamo Detainee Ordered Released by a Federal Judge

For Immediate Release

No More Guantánamos
Contact: 

Nancy Talanian, Director, No More Guantánamos, 413-665-1150, ntalanian@nogitmos.org

Ruth Hooke, Amherst, MA, 413-256-8441, rhooke@uww.umass.edu
Elizabeth L. Adams, Leverett, MA, 413-522-7505, eadams333@gmail.com

Two Massachusetts Towns Welcome Guantánamo Detainee Ordered Released by a Federal Judge

WASHINGTON - On Thursday, US District Judge Henry H. Kennedy, Jr., granted
Guantanamo detainee Ravil Mingazov’s petition for a writ of habeas
corpus and ordered the Obama administration to release him from the
military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, finding the administration had
no legal basis for holding him. Mingazov is the 35th detainee to win
his habeas petition out of 48 whose petitions have been reviewed.

 
The
administration must now decide where it will send Mingazov, who like
most of the remaining detainees already cleared, cannot safely return
to his home country. Mingazov, a Russian, fled religious persecution in
his home country in 2001. Congress passed a ban last year that
currently prevents any former detainees from entering the US except for
prosecution.
 
Two
communities in Massachusetts—Amherst and Leverett—have passed
resolutions welcoming a few cleared detainees once Congress lifts its
current blanket ban. Mingazov is one of two detainees whom the towns
have in mind to welcome. Ahmed Belbacha, an Algerian who was cleared
for transfer by the Bush administration more than three years ago, is
the second detainee.
 
The
resolutions that Amherst Special Town Meeting and Leverett Town Meeting
passed on November 4, 2009, and April 24, 2010, respectively, were
initiated by Ruth Hooke and Beth Adams. Both women are local members of
No More Guantánamos [http://www.nogitmos.org],
a national grassroots organization working to ensure justice for the
prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Bagram air base in Afghanistan, and other
offshore prison sites maintained by the CIA and the Pentagon around the
world.
 
Nancy
Talanian, director of No More Guantánamos, says that the organization’s
chapters around the country each choose one or two detainees and share
the men’s stories through events, literature, and media to show the
public that all Guantánamo detainees are human beings who deserve basic
human rights, rather than the monsters that some government officials
have described.
 
“Our
Pioneer Valley chapter chose Ravil Mingazov and Ahmed Belbacha last
spring,” Talanian said. “Although Ravil had not yet been cleared, our
members were confident that he had done nothing wrong and should be
released. We are very happy that the judge agrees.”
 
Talanian
believes the resolutions’ passage shows that Americans who know the
stories of actual detainees are more willing than the majority of
Americans who continue to believe the men are all ‘the worst of the
worst,’ despite the releases of more than 600 former detainees, most by
the Bush administration.
 
“Congress’s
blanket ban on allowing any of the men to live here is standing in the
way of the prison’s closure, which we believe will make Americans
safer,” she said. “Guantánamo detainees who cannot safely return home
are really no different than other refugees whom western Mass.
communities have welcomed in the past,” she said. “And if the US
government, which has held the men for more than eight years, claims
the men would not pose any danger if they are sent to live in allied
countries, that should be sufficient assurance that we can be safe with
some of them living here.”
 
No More Guantánamos [http://www.nogitmos.org]
is a coalition of concerned U.S. residents, communities, organizations,
and attorneys who are working together to ensure justice for the
prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Bagram air base in Afghanistan, and other
offshore prison sites maintained by the CIA and the Pentagon around the
world. We work to ensure basic human rights for all prisoners,
including the right to be either charged for crimes and tried or
released, in accordance with international law, and not held
indefinitely, and to find homes for prisoners who cannot return home.
 
The
organization formed soon after President Obama’s executive order to
close Guantánamo Bay prison by January 22, 2009. Chapter locations
besides the Pioneer Valley include Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina; New
York City; Denver, Colorado; and Tallahassee, Florida.

 

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