“I have become a body without a soul. I breathe, eat and drink, but I don’t belong to the world of living creatures. I rather belong to another world, a world that is buried in a grave called Guantánamo.”
Those are the words of CCR client Zahir Hamdoun describing his experience being held at Guantánamo without charge since 2002, when he was 22 years old. Mr. Hamdoun had been among Guantánamo’s so-called “forever prisoners” slated for indefinite detention— those prisoners who were not cleared for release, but most of whom the government has no intention of charging. On Tuesday, that changed. Mr. Hamdoun was cleared for transfer by a Periodic Review Board (PRB).
Clearance by the government is a step in the process of getting released from Guantánamo, and Mr. Hamdoun’s clearance is welcome news. However, it is hardly sufficient. Of the 93 men still detained at Guantánamo, 35 are cleared for release, many of them for years. Among those men are CCR clients Ghaleb Nasser Al-Bihani, Mohammed Al-Hamiri, Tariq Ba Odah, Muhammadi Davliatov, and Mohammed Kamin. For being cleared to mean anything, it must lead to actual release.