Ireland’s Newest Citizens

As reported today, Pres. Obama has freed three more Guantanamo detainees. One is headed for Yemen; the other two are going to Ireland:

There are more than 220 detainees remaining at the prison. In the last couple months, the White House has made it increasingly clear that the President will not make his self-stated January 22, 2010 deadline to close to prison.

Alla Ali Bin Ali Ahmed, a native of Yemen, was captured in Pakistan in 2002 and returned to Yemen today. The Yemeni Embassy to the US issued a statement saying the country welcomed, “with enthusiasm, the release and transfer of its citizen.”
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The Ireland deal has been in the works since at least March.

On July 29, as we covered at the time, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs announced Ireland had agreed to accept two Uzbek detainees from Guantanamo Bay.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen told CNN at the time that “it is incumbent on us, those who called for [Guantánamo’s] closure, to assist the United States now in ensuring that certain prisoners be relocated elsewhere.”

“Obviously we will keep an eye on them very closely,” he said.

Irish Justice Minister Demot Ahern said in July that Ireland would “adhere to the norms of official procedure in respecting the rights of the two men to their privacy.”

The Obama administration did not name the detainees released to Ireland. “Pursuant to a request from the government of Ireland, the identities of these detainees are being withheld for security and privacy reasons,” read a statement from the Justice Department. Amnesty International has been lobbying Ireland to accept Uzbek national Oybek Jamoldinivich Jabbarov, and another Uzbekh.

At the time of his detention by U.S. forces in 2001, Jabbarov, now 31, lived with his pregnant wife, infant son, and mother lived with other Uzbek refugees in northern Afghanistan in 2001 when fighting broke out between the Taliban and the Northern Alliance.

Andy Worthington, the author of The Guantanamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison, writes that “in contrast to the hyperbolic claims made by Bush administration officials and their supporters, it was disturbingly easy for innocent men like Oybek Jabbarov to end up in Guantánamo.”

As a vivid illustration of that reality, Worthington posts a letter that Jabbarov wrote while still in Guantanamo. A statement from his attorney, Michael Mone, which was submitted to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight last May, is below the letter.

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