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US Releases Names of 55 Guantánamo Prisoners

'Partial victory for transparency' but more work to be done as groups call for immediate release of cleared prisoners

Common Dreams staff

Detainees, who at the time were cleared for release, show a home-made note to visiting members of the media in Camp Iguana detention facility at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in Cuba. June 1, 2009 (Photo: Cryptome)

The US government released the names of 55 prisoners at Guantánamo Bay who have been cleared for transfer from the prison. Civil rights groups called the decision a "partial victory for transparency" but said there was much more work to be done in order to ensure freedom for the innocent detainees.

The names released (pdf) represent 55 out of 86 prisoners who were approved for transfer from the secretive prison three years ago by the Obama administration's inter-agency Guantánamo Bay Review Task Force. They, however, continue to remain behind bars.

Civil rights groups including the ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights said the announcement should be used as a "spur to action" to galvanize support for the release of these prisoners, who's promise for freedom has continued to go unanswered.

“These men have now spent three years in prison since our military and intelligence agencies all agreed they should be released," said Zachary Katznelson, senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s National Security Project. "Not on the list, of course, is Adnan Latif, who died in his cell earlier this month despite having been repeatedly approved for release from Guantánamo. It is well past time to release and resettle these unfairly imprisoned men.”

In response to the announcement, Vincent Warren at Constitutional Rights stated:

The list announced today, however, is incomplete, and not appearing on the list is no indication of wrongdoing. It is long past time for the government to release the men it does not intend to prosecute. It should begin by urgently resuming transfers of the 86 men it has already cleared. The government did the right thing today by releasing the partial list of names. It should take the next step of releasing the men themselves.

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