US Repatriates Algerian Gitmo Prisoners Who Fear Going Home

Thursday, 05 Dec 2013 12:06 PM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
The United States has repatriated two Algerians held at the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for more than a decade, the Pentagon said on Thursday, in what the men's attorneys described as an involuntary transfer that ignored their pleas to go elsewhere.

Djamel Ameziane and Bensayah Belkecem did not want to go back to Algeria because they fear being persecuted there, their attorneys said.

"Hopefully this won't be a case of 'out of the frying pan and into the fire,'" Zeke Johnson, director of Amnesty International USA's Security & Human Rights Program, said in a statement.

The Center for Constitutional Rights, which represented Ameziane, said the repatriation to Algeria violated international law. Rob Kirsch, an attorney for Belkecem, described the transfer as involuntary.

"The U.S. has compounded one injustice against him with another. He deserved better from the United States," CCR attorney Wells Dixon in a statement.

The transfers reduced Guantanamo's prisoner population to 162 detainees, part of a slow-moving effort by President Barack

Obama's government to close the detention facility.

Obama promised to shut it down during his 2008 presidential campaign, citing its damage to the U.S. reputation around the world. But he has been unable to do so in his nearly five years in office, in part because of resistance from Congress.

Prior to the latest transfers, the United States has repatriated 14 detainees to Algeria, seven under President Obama and seven under George W. Bush's administration, a Pentagon spokesman said.

"We have received no credible or substantiated information to suggest that any of these former detainees have been targeted by extremists operating in Algeria," Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Todd Breasseale said.

Breasseale also said the United States had coordinated with Algeria's government to ensure the transfers took place with "appropriate security and humane treatment assurances."

The concerns extend beyond targeting by extremists.

Kirsch said the U.S. decision would keep Belkecem from seeing his family. Belkecem's wife and daughters, who live in Bosnia, will not move to Algeria.

"His wife will not take their daughters to Algeria, out of concern for her daughters. The U.S. knew this would deprive (Belkecem) of his family," Kirsch said.

The Guantanamo prison camp was established during Bush's presidency to house foreign terrorism suspects after the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the United States.

Some 15 detainees are waging a hunger strike and lawmakers have blasted the prison's cost, about $2.7 million per prisoner per year, compared with $70,000 per inmate at maximum-security federal prisons. (Additional reporting by Jane Sutton in Miami; Editing by Bill Trott)

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Report: North Korea's Leader Missing for a Month Due to Surgery

Tuesday, 30 Sep 2014 07:49 AM

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has been hospitalized after surgery on both ankles earlier this month, a South Korean ne . . .

Cruz, Perry, Huckabee, Jindal Mobilize Christian Vote for Midterms

Tuesday, 30 Sep 2014 07:41 AM

A number of possible GOP presidential candidates have recorded radio ads urging conservative Christians to vote in Novem . . .

Secret Service Head Faces Grilling on White House Breach

Tuesday, 30 Sep 2014 07:36 AM

Most Washington scandals that end up on Capitol Hill tend to end the same way: with an apology.Secret Service Director J . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved