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Is Yemen ready to receive its citizens in Guantanamo?

There are 56 Yemeni citizens in the Guantanamo Bay detention center who have been cleared to be released by the American judiciary system since 2008. The reason why they are still in prison according to U.S. officials is that Yemen is not ready to receive them yet, especially since some of the previously released detainees returned to the radical Islamic fight.

As Senator John McCain put it in a recent interview with Yemen Times; "It would not be fair to the American people to release terrorists who intend on killing Americans." This is understandable. However, simultaneously it is not fair for Yemenis to be detained indefinitely and their families in continuous agony waiting for their return. Therefore a compromise needs to be made in order to adhere to a fundamental human right which is the right to liberty while fighting terrorism in the same time.

Saudi Arabia has already presented an relatively successful example of how to rehabilitate its returned detainees and there is already a tentative political agreement between Yemen, the U.S. and Saudi authorities to customize the Saudi example for Yemeni. Practical steps need to be done in order to start and speed up this process.

Keeping all this in mind, the U.S. House of Representatives passed last week House Resolution 1960, an amendment to therulescommittee on the prohibition on transfer or release ofindividuals detained at Guantanamoto Yemen.

This is what it says: "None of the amounts authorized to be available tothe department of defense may be used to transfer, release, or assist in the transfer or release, during the periodbeginning on the date of enactment of this act and endingonDecember 31, 2014, any individual detained at Guantanamo (as such term is defined in section 1033 (f) (2)) tothe custody or control of the republic of Yemen or anyentity within Yemen." This basically means that even if Yemen is ready and a Saudi-based model is in place, Yemeni detainees in Guantanamo will not be returned to Yemen.

This resolution, offered by Republican Mrs. Walorski of Indiana, simply tells the Yemeni people to take a hike. It says that it does not matter that these detainees are innocent. It simply tells Yemenis--in a very condescending way--that Americans want what they want and Yemeni life is of no value.

There is still an open window because this law needs to be passed first by the Senate and signed by President Obama. The senate is predominately democratic, so there is still hope, and Obama has promised to close down the prison and transfer the detainees as soon as possible. If he signs this, it simply means that he is not a man of his word.

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Publication:Yemen Times (Sana'a, Yemen)
Geographic Code:7YEME
Date:Jun 20, 2013
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