Gitmo detainees to fight release to Algeria

The attorney for Belkacem Bensayah and Djamel Ameziane, two Algerian detainees being held in Guantánamo Bay said on Nov. 29 the two will oppose their release back to Algeria, which could take place as early as this week. The two claim they would likely face persecution should they be released back to their home country. The US is bound by its international obligations under the UN Convention Against Torture, as well as other international conventions, to prevent returning a national to a state where he or she will likely face persecution or torture. Bensayah has requested he be released to Bosnia, while Ameziane has asked to be released to Canada.

Some human rights groups, including Human Rights Watch, have alleged that it is a violation of the Convention to release the individuals into a particular situation without their consent. Officials for the Obama administration note that several other prisoners have been released to Algeria in the past and that they generally continue to monitor credible concerns surrounding released prisoners' safety. Of the 164 detainees currently being held in Guantánamo, 84 have currently been cleared for release.

From Jurist, Nov. 30. Used with permission.

DoD transfers two Gitmo detainees to Algeria

The US Department of Defense (DoD) on Dec. 5 announced that it transferred two prisoners from Guantánamo Bay to the government of their native Algeria. Djamel Saiid Ali Ameziane and Bensayah Belkecem were transferred to Algerian custody despite their claims that they would likely face persecution in their home country. The DoD said that they had "coordinated with the Government of Algeria to ensure these transfers took place with appropriate security and humane treatment assurances." Ameziane and Belkecem qualified for transfer by consensus of the Guantánamo Review Task Force responsible for conducting comprehensive reviews of these cases pursuant to President Barack Obama's executive order on Jan. 22, 2009. The releases bring the prison population to 162.

From Jurist, Dec. 5. Used with permission.