Joe Biden, Donald Trump, Politics, Cuba, Prisons

Joe Biden, Donald Trump

Biden's win means some Guantanamo prisoners may be released

WASHINGTON (AP) — The oldest prisoner at the Guantanamo Bay detention center went to his latest review board hearing with a degree of hope, something that has been scarce during his 16 years...

11/28/2020 9:29:00 AM

President-elect Joe Biden has said little about the Guantanamo Bay detention center except that he supports closing it. That has brought a degree of hope to some of the 41 men still held there.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The oldest prisoner at the Guantanamo Bay detention center went to his latest review board hearing with a degree of hope, something that has been scarce during his 16 years...

By BEN FOXNovember 28, 2020 GMTThis undated image provided by the counsel to Saifullah Paracha shows Paracha at the Guantanamo Bay detention center. Paracha the oldest prisoner at the Guantanamo Bay detention center went to his latest review board hearing with a degree of hope, an emotion that has been scarce during his 16 years locked up without charge at the U.S. base in Cuba. (Counsel to Saifullah Paracha via AP)

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This undated image provided by the counsel to Saifullah Paracha shows Paracha at the Guantanamo Bay detention center. Paracha the oldest prisoner at the Guantanamo Bay detention center went to his latest review board hearing with a degree of hope, an emotion that has been scarce during his 16 years locked up without charge at the U.S. base in Cuba. (Counsel to Saifullah Paracha via AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The oldest prisoner at the Guantanamo Bay detention center went to his latest review board hearing with a degree of hope, something that has been scarce during his 16 years locked up without charges at the U.S. base in Cuba.Saifullah Paracha, a 73-year-old Pakistani with diabetes and a heart condition, had two things going for him that he didn’t have at previous hearings: a favorable legal development and the election of Joe Biden.

President Donald Trump had effectively ended the Obama administration’s practice of reviewing the cases of men held at Guantanamo and releasing them if imprisonment was no longer deemed necessary. Now there’s hope that will resume under Biden.ADVERTISEMENT

“I am more hopeful now simply because we have an administration to look forward to that isn’t dead set on ignoring the existing review process,” Paracha’s attorney, Shelby Sullivan-Bennis, said by phone from the base on Nov. 19 after the hearing. “The simple existence of that on the horizon I think is hope for all of us.”

Guantanamo was once a source of global outrage and a symbol of U.S. excess in response to terrorism. But it largely faded from the headlines after President Barack Obama failed to close it, even as 40 men continue to be detained there.Those pushing for its closure now see a window of opportunity, hoping Biden’s administration will find a way to prosecute those who can be prosecuted and release the rest, extricating the U.S. from a detention center that costs more than $445 million per year.

Biden’s precise intentions for Guantanamo remain unclear. Transition spokesman Ned Price said the president-elect supports closing it, but it would be inappropriate to discuss his plans in detail before he’s in office.His reticence is actually welcome to those who have pressed to close Guantanamo. Obama’s early pledge to close it is now seen as a strategic mistake that undercut what had been a bipartisan issue.

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“I think it’s more likely to close if it doesn’t become a huge press issue,” said Andrea Prasow, deputy Washington director at Human Rights Watch.The detention center opened in 2002. President George W. Bush’s administration transformed what had been a sleepy Navy outpost on Cuba’s southeastern tip into a place to interrogate and imprison people suspected of links to al-Qaida and the Taliban after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

U.S. authorities maintain the men can be held as “law of war” detainees, remaining in custody for the duration of hostilities, an open-ended prospect.ADVERTISEMENTAt its peak in 2003 — the year Paracha was captured in Thailand because of suspected ties to al-Qaida — Guantanamo held about 700 prisoners from nearly 50 countries. Bush announced his intention to close it, though 242 were still held there when his presidency ended.

The Obama administration, seeking to allay concerns that some of those released had “returned to the fight,” set up a process to ensure those repatriated or resettled in third countries no longer posed a threat. It also planned to try some of the men in federal court.

But his closure effort was thwarted when Congress barred the transfer of prisoners from Guantanamo to the U.S., including for prosecution or medical care. Obama ended up releasing 197 prisoners, leaving 41 for Trump.Trump in his 2016 campaign promised to “load” Guantanamo with “some bad dudes,” but largely ignored the issue after rescinding Obama’s policies. His administration approved a single release, a Saudi who pleaded guilty before a military commission.

Of those remaining, seven men have cases pending before a military commission. They include five men accused of planning and supporting the Sept. 11 attacks. Additionally, there are two prisoners who were convicted by commission and three facing potential prosecution for the 2002 Bali bombing.

Commission proceedings, including death penalty cases related to the Sept. 11 attacks, have bogged down as the defense fights to exclude evidence that resulted from torture. Trials are likely far in the future and would inevitably be followed by years of appeals.

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Defense attorneys say the incoming administration could authorize more military commission plea deals. Some have also suggested Guantanamo detainees could plead guilty in federal court by video and serve any remaining sentence in other countries, so they wouldn’t enter the United States.

Detainee advocates also say Biden could defy Congress and bring prisoners to the U.S., arguing that the ban wouldn’t stand up in court.“It’s either do something about it or they die there without charge,” said Wells Dixon, a lawyer for two prisoners, including one who has pleaded guilty in the military commission and is awaiting sentencing.

The remaining detainees include five who had been cleared for release before Trump took office and have languished since. Advocates want the Biden administration to review the rest, noting that many, had they been convicted in federal court, would have served their sentences and been released at this point.

“Whittle it down to the folks who are being prosecuted and either prosecute them or don’t, but don’t just hang on to them,” said Joseph Margulies, a Cornell Law School professor who has represented one prisoner. “At great expense, we walk around with this thing around our necks. It does no good. It has no role for national security. It’s just a big black stain that provides no benefit whatsoever.”

Over the years, nine prisoners have died at Guantanamo: seven from apparent suicide, one from cancer and one from a heart attack.Paracha’s attorney raised his health issues, which include a heart attack in 2006, at his review board, speaking by secure teleconference with U.S. security and defense agencies.

She also raised an important legal development. Paracha, who lived in the U.S. and owned property in New York City, was a wealthy businessman in Pakistan. Authorities say he was an al-Qaida “facilitator” who helped two of the Sept. 11 conspirators with a financial transaction. He says he didn’t know they were al-Qaida and denies any involvement in terrorism.

Uzair Paracha, his son, was convicted in 2005 in federal court in New York of providing support to terrorism, based in part on the same witnesses held at Guantanamo that the U.S. has relied on to justify holding his father. In March, after a judge threw out those witness accounts and the government decided not to seek a new trial, Uzair Paracha was released and sent back to Pakistan.

Had his father been convicted in the U.S., his fate might have been the same. Instead, it will likely be in Biden’s hands and, Sullivan-Bennis said, time is of the essence. “It could be a death sentence.” Read more: The Associated Press »

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Im leaving, on a jet plane Don't know when Ill be back again Of course you want it closed Joseph. You shouldn't be shot - I don't support the death penalty Just made to work for us, for a long long time. Omg!! Stop!!!’ Put them in his family neighborhood Please tell me will keep that open long enough to take all the treasonous Americans for their trials and whatever sentence they receive

what about the kids in cages Probably. If there's one president that can get suckered into that, it's Biden. Lol. You voted for BIDEN. Good luck on any of his promises. Hahaha. Pretty much just voted Obama into office. Or he could just close gitmo and release em all.... So where do you release the terrorist at, your neighbor?

Obama paid lip service to closing it but never did. Biden will do the same because those that are being kept there are way worse 'bad dudes' than 'cornpop' ever was! Yeah that's what Obama said too Why do democrats support and admire terrorists? I heard he wants to give them all citizenship. All the shitlibs would be waiting for them at the airport with signs - 'Gitmo Detainees Welcome!'

Obama said the same thing for eight years, it was one of my biggest disappointments of his administration. Why hope? They just get transferred to a prison in the US Cannot wait to get back to Jihad. Bad idea. Shoukd of been shot when captured. That is what they will do to you. So they can make more trouble and then justify blowing up people in the middle east? Bet the military-industrial complex would love that!

I guess we should expect an uptick in terrorism. Has anyone seen gitmo bay Cuba on the map. It has expanded Hmmmm I wander why I’m old enough to remember when Obama said he’d close it. I could care less if those 41 have a “degree of hope”. That they can turn back to a life of crime and religious fulfillment against the US...

there's a senator for Illinois who said Illinois would take them Were they there during obama? Has anyone thought where the 41 men from Guantanamo Bay are going to GO 41 votes is 41 votes in his eyes. sO dId ObAmA BidenCheated and we all know it Biden will be a permanent resident there if the Truth comes out about this election

Hahahahaha let us chill dude, obama said the same thing. Yeah, guantanamo won’t close. Says something when the terrorists are happy for you JoeBiden .......🤷🏼‍♂️ Deal with the fraud for if its left to us, we will deal with yall too AP has long been transformed from a news providing agency into a views providing agency

What a nice place for Donald Trump to be! Close it and just house Donald Trump and his administration there! I think that would be an excellent idea! Find the guilty ones and ship them there! McConnell and Graham could join them! It would be FUN! Have these men been tried and convicted? If yes, then fine. If they haven't been tried...what are they still doing there?

BidenCheated Ya don't land in Gitmo because you were jaywalking. There are 41 men still there for a very good reason What! lol remember when Obama ran on closing it? Hold up, not so fast. Leave it open! A lot of criminals to lock up after all the election fraud and they need a HUGE place to store them all. With the Biden’s it’s a toss between here & Ukraine.

Boring now. Biden won. End of. How about something else? Fact 1 = Biden supported the UK in 1982 against Argentina, when Dublin did not Fact 2 = ‘82 was not the first time the USA was involved in a Falklands dispute Lexington Raid 1831 anyone? No more cock meat sandwiches You mean the illegal concentration camp where U.S keep it's hostages on illegally occupied Cuban land.

Give him time. They’ve been hoping since 2008 🤣🤣 Great! Send them to Delaware Good maybe they’ll be out for the 2024 election. Before giving them the keys to their new homes...Joe can drive them to motor vehicle office~ drivers license and voter registrations for all !! Didn't you blame the French teacher for getting beheaded in broad daylight out in public by a Muslim who was offended in France?

Why would we release the worlds worst terrorists to go out and plot against us again? Keep it open for Trump. Here is Something the Men need to Know! DiaperDon has effectively made every liberal in America MORE liberal after seeing his racist, misogynist, misanthropic, environment and wildlife-hating, views on display, no human would EVER want to be identified with THAT. GoodRiddanceTrump

Bummer, was thinking this would be a good place to send trump and his family. 41 terrorists you mean. Why do we care about giving these men hope, again? Many that had been released returned to the battlefields against us. Will they be released into the wilds? Biden bigger fish to fry...!? Close it after you fry them. They're terrorists

Hopefully just a filler issue. Way more important stuff to worry about. Keystone, selling oil rights in national parks to foriegn interest, repealing patriot act , re-instate laws prohibiting warrantless survailence. Lots lots more important stuff. Hopefully the prisoners come to the USA and start killing some of those who voted for the old senile hag

AP has zero credibility. Again BidenCheated puts America last! Biden belongs there Obama campaigned on closing it. Yet there it still stands. When the get into the Oval Office they must learn something we don't know. Biden has NOT won the election. BidenCheats A degree of hope Whose side are you on. Tell me the degree of hope the families have in ever seeing their loved ones again.

I worked 4 Seasons in Antarctica where US Marshalls were the law. If they can formalize there, they can normalize anywhere, trust me Fact-check: given 8 years, Biden and Democrats did not do this. That’s public record Obama said the same thing until he got into the job and realized what's actually going on and why the people are there. Hint: because they should be.

Barry and Joe said they were going to close it down on Day 1, back in 2008. He had 8 years. Also, it's great to see the ap so concerned about the well-being of 41 prisoners found guilty of trying to, or succeeding in killing our citizens. Whose side are you on ap? Yeah for sure close it. But I have zero sympathy for anyone in there. Fuck ‘em

When is Obama going to close it down? Please keep open until after trial+ sentencing of Trump&Co. Will BidenCheated go there? Asking for a friend Doubtful, these people are supposed to be those who are unforgiving about their actions and part in killing others in the name of terror, and who supposedly want to continue after released from any detention center, unless Biden wants to soil his past any more, he'll keep it open

...shouldn’t it depend on what they did to be held there in the first place? US should close all jails and free all HailBiden The terrorists still held there Hi, please check out my gig if you need any kind of graphic design So did Obama No so fast slick 😂 bidencheats The good news is, since 80 million people voted for him, he can do whatever he wants with it!

Supporting terrorist is bad mmmkkkk Hope that they are released to reoffend. His former boss said that he’d close it too and he never did. I never forgot that. Да, надо ускоряться... сколько ещё дел надо успеть до января... Do not close gitmo. hey theres some common ground Didn't know people are still there.

Why in tf are there still 41 prisoners there? Doubt it. Obama and trump failed both them. hard to imagine Biden will be any less of a spineless coward than Obama and trump when it comes to our barbaric approach to foreign policy and criminal justice/prison reform Keep it open and send Antifa/BLM there.