For ongoing prayer, let's acknowledge success won by the Open Letters to Biden and especially the letter by former prisoners Mansoor Adayfi, MoazzamBegg,Lakhdar Boumediane, Sami Al Hajj, Ahmed Errachidi.
In the coming weeks or months, according to a news release, advisors are preparing for Biden to sign an executive action to review Guantanamo. We know that will mean taking seriously the above authors absolutely spot on demands. They are spot on because we know how to do this. Just to get specific in prayer, borrowing the language of the letter:
1. All those cleared for release are immediately repatriated to their home countries, as long as they are safe from arbitrary imprisonment and persecution.
Action Step: Sign the Reprieve petition for Abdul Latif Nasser
(Repatriation has real issues with it --that's where demand #2 and #3 will come in.)
2. The office for the special envoy is reopened and suitable countries are sought to restart the resettlement process for those unable to return to their homes.
Benjamin Farley, from 2013 until 2017, served as a Senior Advisor to the Special Envoy for Guantanamo at the U.S. Department of State. He described the role for the online policy journal Just Security:
three special envoys and a handful of staff developed unique expertise in negotiating security and reintegration frameworks for former GTMO detainees. S/GC worked to tailor these frameworks to the particular requirements of former detainees and the capabilities of receiving countries, within the narrow universe of foreign governments willing or able to repatriate or resettle former GTMO detainees. These negotiations were complicated, extraordinarily sensitive, and often conducted directly with heads of state, foreign ministers, defense ministers, interior ministers, and the chiefs of foreign security services. S/GC’s GTMO detainee transfer negotiations were multidisciplinary and wide-ranging; by turns they were highly political or extremely technical, implicating, for example, relations among sovereigns, the Refugee Convention, technical surveillance measures, humanitarian monitoring obligations, apartment floorplans, and airspace access fees.
Surveillance measures should strike us as ominous.
While just two of the eight major demands outlined, they are comprehensive and strategic. The expectation for prayer in this, I remind myself is that this process will involve many people to get negotiating, and that no matter if it's weeks or months that Biden acts, this first signal should mean that cues are being broadcast to get in motion--activity which will take us up to the 20 year anniversary.
I expect we will be restating January 11, the same goals outlined by the Organization of States in 2015:
the Inter-American Commission reiterates its call for the closure of Guantanamo. In order to fulfill this goal, the Commission recommends repealing the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) provisions that prohibit the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to the United States for prosecution, incarceration, and medical treatment; expediting the Periodic Review Board process; and accelerating detainees' transfers to their countries of origin or third. countries in accordance with the principle of non-refoulement. The Commission further calls upon the United States Government to review the situation of the Yemeni detainees on an individual case-by-case basis; transfer detainees facing prosecution to the United States to be tried in federal courts; and transfer convicted detainees to federal prisons to serve the remainder of their sentences.
While the goal may be the same, while the river still runs, it is impossible that we ourselves are entering the same river twice. So let us pray for all the men ever caught in this river, especially those still held down in the current of oppression against muslim men. Amen.
Benjamin R. Farley, "Maybe Dismantling the GTMO Closure Office isn't Such a Good Idea" 23 April 2018 Just Security <https://www.justsecurity.org/55109/dismantling-gtmo-closure-office-wasnt-good-idea/> accessed 24 Feb 2021.
For further reference:
The Organization of American States published in 2015 a serious proposal "Towards the Closure of Guantanamo" in which
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