Cleared for Release by Courts, but Not Freed by Obama

Muhammad bin Salem is another of the supposed Yemeni foot soldiers who has been cleared for release but remains in Guantanamo.

Twenty-seven years of age when captured, his circumstances revealed in the CSRT (Combatant Status Review Tribunal, part of the bogus system contrived by the US for these prisoners) are also bizarre.  It was alleged that he traveled from Yemen to Afghanistan in July 2001 and was given military training.  He was never accused of actually fighting against the Taliban much less the US.  He is supposed to have served as a cook in a rest and relaxation facility for troops at Bagram.  He was captured by Pakistani forces when he retreated from Bagram to Pakistan after the US invasion.

Michael Ratner, head of the Center for Constitutional Rights, speaks eloquently about the implications of the Obama regime’s refusal to free these prisoners whom the courts have cleared.  He calls it “executive detention,” which defies the authority of the courts and the Constitutional system of checks and balances.  Hear Ratner discuss these issues here.

He says that because the executive has assumed the power to hold these prisoners without charge and despite judicial rulings that they be set free, the same procedure can certainly be used in the US against us.  These actions deeply affect our US institutions.  This returns the US to the Middle Ages before habeas corpus writs, when the king could do no wrong.  If he put someone in prison, there they stayed.  If he decided to execute people, they were killed.  This is a return to a very primitive and lawless society.

In the case of Muhammad bin Salem and others similarly cleared by the courts but not released by Obama, this is horrendous.  These people have been tortured, separated from family and friends for years.  This continuing brutal treatment reflects, in Ratner’s words ” the inside the beltway national security establishment’s idea that we don’t care about the people in Guantanamo.”

Emma and I are saying as clearly as we can that we care about the people in Guantanamo.  We demand that they be freed now or, if there is evidence of wrong doing, tried in US courts with legal protections.

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