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USA: After 16 Years, Close Guantánamo's Detention Center Once and For All

WASHINGTON - On the 16th anniversary of the opening of the notorious detention facility at the US naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Amnesty International is again calling for the fair trial or immediate release of those detained there and closure of the facility.

“Over the years Guantánamo has come to symbolize torture, rendition and indefinite detention without charge or trial – in complete violation of internationally agreed standards of justice and human rights. Its closure is both essential and long overdue,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

Forty-one individuals remain held at Guantanamo, all of whom have been in US custody for more than a decade. Most are held without charge and haven’t been brought for trial, while others are facing unfair trial by military commissions, with some facing the possibility of the death penalty.

To mark the 16th anniversary, Amnesty International is highlighting the case of Toffiq al-Bihani who has been held in Guantánamo without charge or trial since early 2003. US authorities have made it clear that they have no intention of charging him with any criminal offence. He has suffered torture or other ill-treatment and years of indefinite detention.  

“It is unconscionable that Toffiq al-Bihani remains in Guantánamo Bay prison. His case illustrates how the detention center at Guantánamo remains a place where human rights violations are rife,” said Erika Guevara Rosas.

“Toffiq al-Bihani should be transferred to a country that respects his human rights, and all other detentions at Guantánamo resolved in full compliance with international human rights law. This abominable detention facility must be shut down once and for all.”

Mohamedou Ould Salahi, a former detainee at Guantánamo, said “I know from first-hand experience that the treatment of prisoners in Guantánamo is cruel and degrading. It is appalling that men like Toffiq al-Bihani continue to be held there. I stand with Amnesty International in calling for him to be transferred out of the prison.”

Amnesty International members worldwide are calling on the US Department of Defense to release Toffiq al-Bihani from Guantánamo, to resolve all the other detentions there in line with international human rights law, and to close the detention center.

This statement can be found online at

A video for the anniversary can be found online at


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