US Repatriates Algerian Gitmo Prisoners Who Fear Going Home

Thursday, 05 Dec 2013 12:06 PM

 

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  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.

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  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.
 
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

State Dept. Issues Worldwide Travel Alert Through March

Friday, 19 Dec 2014 20:03 PM

The State Department is warning Americans traveling abroad to be extra cautious over the holidays.In a worldwide travel  . . .

Israel Bombs Gaza Militant Base After Rocket Hits Southern Israel

Friday, 19 Dec 2014 19:52 PM

Israeli aircraft bombed a Hamas militant base in the Gaza Strip on Friday for the first time since the end of a war in t . . .

Politico: Obama May Give Dems 80 Percent of 2016 Latino Vote

Friday, 19 Dec 2014 19:18 PM

President Barack Obama may be on track to helping deliver as much as 80 percent of Latino voters to the 2016 Democratic  . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

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