Thursday, July 29, 2010

Forced Returns from Guantanamo

by Joanne Mariner

July 28, 2010

Most prisoners held at Guantanamo are desperate to return home. But a small number are so fearful of what awaits them in their country of origin that they would choose indefinite custody at Guantanamo over repatriation.

This group of doubly unfortunate prisoners includes the Uighurs, members of a Muslim minority from western China, as well as a number of Tunisians, Libyans, and Algerians. The men claim that they would face torture or other serious abuse if sent back to their home countries.

Until recently, the Obama administration had not forcibly repatriated anyone from Guantanamo. Rather than carrying out involuntary returns, it had found safe third countries to resettle detainees who feared persecution at home. These included men from China, Egypt, Libya, and Syria, among others.