End 20 Years Of Injustice

Prisoners: Who's Still Held?

Nine of the 36 prisoners still held at Guantánamo (and three who have been freed). Top row, from L to R: Uthman Abdul Rahim Uthman, Moath al-Alwi, Khaled Qassim, Abdul Latif Nasir (now freed). Middle row: Sufyian Barhoumi (now freed), Tawfiq al-Bihani, Saifullah Paracha, Hassan Bin Attash. Bottom row: Ahmed Rabbani, Abdulsalam al-Hela, Mohammed Abdul Malik, Asadullah Haroon Gul (now freed). Of the nine men shown here who are still held, all have been approved for release.

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By Andy Worthington; last updated in August 2022

779 prisoners have been held by the U.S. military at Guantánamo since the prison opened on January 11, 2002. Of those, 734 have been released or transferred, including one who was transferred to the U.S. to be tried and subsequently convicted, and nine have died, the most recent being Adnan Latif, in September 2012.

36 men are still held, and three of these men were recommended for release by high-level governmental review processes under President Obama, decisions that Donald Trump chose to ignore after taking office in January 2017. A fourth man was approved for release towards the end of the Trump presidency, and 16 more men have been approved for release since President Biden took office in January 2021 — three in May 2021, two more in June 2021, three more in October 2021, five more in November and December 2021, two more in February 2022 (see here, and here), two more in April 2022, and another in July 2022. Another man, Majid Khan, is awaiting release after serving a sentence that was part of plea deal in 2012.

One of the men approved for release since Biden took office, Mohammed al-Qahtani, was released in March 2022, sent back to Saudi Arabia where he can receive the urgent psychiatric support unavailable to him in Guantánamo, and another, an Afghan, was freed in June, and, as a result, 21 men (well over half of the men still held) are currently approved for release but still held.

Eleven others are facing, or have faced trials, in the broken military commission system, while the four others have been accurately described as "forever prisoners," held explicitly without charge or trial, and with their cases only reviewed via an administrative, rather than a legal process, the Periodic Review Boards, which were established under President Obama.

Trump released only one man in his four lamentable years in office, Ahmed al-Darbi, who was returned to Saudi Arabia for ongoing imprisonment in May 2018, six weeks later than he was supposed to have been repatriated under the terms of a plea deal he agreed to four years earlier.

In July 2021, President Biden also released a prisoner, sending Abdul Latif Nasser (approved for release in 2016) back to his home in Morocco, and, as noted above, in March 2022 he released a second prisoner, Mohammed al-Qahtani. At the start of April, Sufyian Barhoumi, another man approved for release in 2016, was repatriated to Algeria, and in June Asadullah Haroon Gul, an Afghan, was also freed. We hope to hear of more releases very soon.

To join the campaign for the prison's closure in 2022, print off a poster showing how long Guantánamo has been open, and urging Joe Biden to close it, via the Gitmo Clock, take a photo with it, and send it to us. The prison had been open for 6,950 days when Biden was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2021, and marked its 7,306th day of operations on Jan. 11, 2022, the 20th anniversary of its opening.

Please also note that the numbers before the men’s names are their ISN numbers (the "Internment Security Numbers" by which they are identified in Guantánamo).

  1. 027 Uthman Abdul Rahim Mohammed Uthman (Yemen) Recommended for continued detention and possible transfer to detention in the U.S., but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013, his review took place in April 2016 and he was recommended for ongoing imprisonment in May 2016; another review took place in December 2016, but in January 2017, just days before President Obama left office, his ongoing imprisonment was again upheld, although he has finally been approved for release by a PRB under President Biden in May 2021.
  2. 028 Moath Al Alwi (Yemen) Recommended for continued detention, but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013, his review took place in September 2015, and he was recommended for ongoing imprisonment in October 2015. Another review took place in March 2018, but, shamefully, did not deliver its ruling until October 2020, when the board recommended him for ongoing imprisonment. He was finally approved for release by a PRB under President Biden in December 2021.
  3. 038 Ridah Al Yazidi (Tunisia) Cleared for release in 2010.
  4. 039 Ali Hamza Al Bahlul (Yemen) Convicted pre-Obama, and given a life sentence, although that conviction was largely, but not entirely overturned on appeal; see Ali Hamza Al-Bahlul, David Hicks and the Legal Collapse of the Military Commissions at Guantánamo and In Contentious Split Decision, Appeals Court Upholds Guantánamo Prisoner Ali Hamza Al-Bahlul’s Conspiracy Conviction.
  5. 242 Khaled Qassim (Khalid Qasim) (Yemen) Recommended for continued detention, but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013, his review took place in February 2015 and he was recommended for ongoing detention in March 2015, a decision that was upheld in March 2020, and was again upheld in December 2021. He was finally approved for release by a second PRB under President Biden in July 2022.
  6. 309 Muieen Abd Al Sattar (UAE) Cleared for release in 2010.
  7. 569 Suhayl Al Sharabi (Zohair Al Shorabi) (Yemen) Recommended for prosecution by the task force in January 2010, but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013, his review took place in March 2016 and he was recommended for ongoing imprisonment in March 2016. In March 2019, he boycotted his hearing, and his ongoing imprisonment was upheld. He was finally approved for release by a PRB under President Biden in November 2021.
  8. 682 Ghassan Al Sharbi (Abdullah Al Sharbi) (Saudi Arabia) Recommended for prosecution by the task force in January 2010, but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013, his review took place in June 2016 and he was recommended for ongoing imprisonment in July 2016. In August 2019, he boycotted his hearing, and his ongoing imprisonment was upheld, but in February 2022 he was finally approved for release by a PRB under President Biden.
  9. 685 Abdelrazak Ali (Saeed Bakhouche, Bakhouch) (Algeria) Recommended for prosecution by the task force in January 2010, but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013, his review took place in May 2016 and he was recommended for ongoing detention in July 2016. In January 2019, he boycotted his hearing, and his ongoing imprisonment was upheld, but he was finally approved for release under President Biden in April 2022. He is also currently challenging his ongoing imprisonment in the U.S. courts.
  10. 708 Ismael Al Bakush (Libya) Recommended for continued detention, but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013, his review took place in July 2016 and he was recommended for ongoing imprisonment in August 2016, a decision that was upheld in November 2020.
  11. 841 Said Salih Said Nashir (Yemen) Recommended for continued detention, but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013, his review took place in April 2016, and he was recommended for ongoing imprisonment in November 2016; another review took place almost immediately, in December 2016, but in January 2017 his ongoing imprisonment was again upheld. In October 2020, however, he became the only prisoner under Donald Trump to have his release recommended by a PRB.
  12. 893 Tawfiq Al Bihani (Saudi Arabia) Cleared for release in 2010.
  13. 1017 Omar Al Rammah (Zakaria al-Baidany) (Yemen) Recommended for continued detention and possible transfer to detention in the U.S., but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013, his review took place in July 2016 and he was recommended for ongoing imprisonment in August 2016. Another review took place in February 2017, but, shamefully, did not deliver its ruling until October 2020, when the board recommended him for ongoing imprisonment. He was finally approved for release by a PRB under President Biden in December 2021.
  14. 1094 Saifullah Paracha (Pakistan) Recommended for prosecution by the task force in January 2010, but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013, his review took place on March 8, 2016 and he was recommended for ongoing imprisonment in April 2016; another review took place in March 2017, but his ongoing imprisonment was again upheld in April 2017, although he has finally been approved for release by a PRB under President Biden in May 2021.
  15. 1453 Sanad Al Kazimi (Yemen) Recommended for prosecution by the task force in January 2010, but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013, his review took place in May 2016 and he was recommended for ongoing imprisonment in June 2016. In December 2018, he boycotted his hearing, and his ongoing imprisonment was upheld, but he was finally approved for release under President Biden in October 2021.
  16. 1456 Hassan Bin Attash (Saudi Arabia) Recommended for prosecution by the task force in January 2010, but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013, his review took place in September 2016 and he was recommended for ongoing imprisonment in October 2016. In September 2019, he boycotted his hearing, and his ongoing imprisonment was upheld, but he was finally approved for release under President Biden in April 2022.
  17. 1457 Abdu Ali Sharqawi (Sharqawi Al Hajj) (Yemen) Recommended for prosecution by the task force in January 2010, but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013, his first review took place in March 2016 and he was recommended for ongoing imprisonment in April 2016. A second review took place in February 2017, upholding his ongoing imprisonment a month later, and in February 2019, he boycotted his hearing, and his ongoing imprisonment was again upheld. Shockingly, in 2019, he also attempted to commit suicide while on a phone call with his lawyers, and harmed himself again in March 2020. In April 2021, his fourth PRB hearing took place, and in June 2021 he was recommended for release.
  18. 1460 Abdul Rahim Ghulam Rabbani (Pakistan) Recommended for prosecution by the task force in January 2010, but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013, his review took place in July 2016 and he was recommended for ongoing imprisonment in August 2016, although he has finally been approved for release by a PRB under President Biden in May 2021.
  19. 1461 Mohammed Ghulam Rabbani (Ahmed Rabbani) (Pakistan) Recommended for prosecution by the task force in January 2010, but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013, his review took place in September 2016, and he was recommended for ongoing imprisonment in October 2016. In September 2019, he boycotted his hearing, and his ongoing imprisonment was upheld, but he was finally approved for release under President Biden in October 2021.
  20. 1463 Abdulsalam Al Hela (Yemen) Recommended for continued detention and possible transfer to detention in the U.S., but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013, his review took place in May 2016 and he was recommended for ongoing imprisonment in June 2016, a decision that was upheld in June 2018. In March 2021, he had another hearing, and was finally recommended for release in June 2021, although is also currently challenging his ongoing imprisonment in the U.S. courts.
  21. 10011 Mustafa Al Hawsawi (Saudi Arabia) Recommended for prosecution, he was charged and pre-trial hearings are underway.
  22. 10013 Ramzi Bin Al Shibh (Yemen) Recommended for prosecution, he was charged and pre-trial hearings are underway.
  23. 10014 Waleed Bin Attash (Saudi Arabia) Recommended for prosecution, he was charged and pre-trial hearings are underway.
  24. 10015 Abd Al Rahim Al Nashiri (Saudi Arabia) Recommended for prosecution, he was charged and pre-trial hearings are underway.
  25. 10016 Abu Zubaydah (Palestine-Saudi Arabia) Recommended for prosecution by the task force in January 2010, but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013, his review took place in August 2016, when his ongoing imprisonment was upheld, as it was again in March 2020.
  26. 10017 Abu Faraj Al Libi (Libya) Recommended for prosecution by the task force in January 2010, but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013, his review took place in August 2016 and he was recommended for ongoing imprisonment in September 2016. In May 2019, he boycotted his hearing, and his ongoing imprisonment was upheld.
  27. 10018 Ammar Al Baluchi (Ali Abd Al Aziz Ali) (Pakistan-Kuwait) Recommended for prosecution, he was charged and pre-trial hearings are underway.
  28. 10019 Riduan Isamuddin (Hambali) (Indonesia) Recommended for prosecution by the task force in January 2010, but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013, his review took place in August 2016 and he was recommended for ongoing imprisonment in September 2016. In January 2021, just as Joe Biden took office, the Pentagon announced its intention to file charges against him in a military commission, along with Modh Farik Bin Amin (ISN 10021) and Mohammed Bin Lep (ISN 10022).
  29. 10020 Majid Khan (Pakistan) Recommended for prosecution, he accepted a plea deal in February 2012, although he was not sentenced until October 2021. It is anticipated that he will be released by February 2022.
  30. 10021 Modh Farik Bin Amin (Zubair) (Malaysia) Recommended for prosecution by the task force in January 2010, but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013, his review took place in August 2016 and he was recommended for ongoing imprisonment in September 2016. In May 2019, he failed to attend his hearing, and his ongoing imprisonment was upheld. In January 2021, just as Joe Biden took office, the Pentagon announced its intention to file charges against him in a military commission, along with Riduan Isamuddin (ISN 10019) and Mohammed Bin Lep (ISN 10022).
  31. 10022 Mohammed Bin Lep (Lillie) (Malaysia) Recommended for prosecution by the task force in January 2010, but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013, his review took place in August 2016 and he was recommended for ongoing imprisonment in September 2016. In June 2019, he boycotted his hearing, and his ongoing imprisonment was upheld. In January 2021, just as Joe Biden took office, the Pentagon announced its intention to file charges against him in a military commission, along with Riduan Isamuddin (ISN 10019) and Mohd Farik Bin Amin (ISN 10021).
  32. 10023 Guled Hassan Duran (Gouled Hassan Dourad) (Somalia) Recommended for continued detention and possible transfer to detention in the U.S., but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013, his review took place in August 2016 and he was recommended for ongoing imprisonment in September 2016, a decision that was upheld in November 2018. He was finally approved for release by a PRB under President Biden in November 2021.
  33. 10024 Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (Pakistan-Kuwait) Recommended for prosecution, he was charged and pre-trial hearings are underway.
  34. 10025 Mohammed Abdul Malik (Mohammed Abdul Malik Bajabu) (Kenya) Recommended for continued detention, but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013, his review took place in May 2016 and he was recommended for ongoing imprisonment in June 2016. In July 2019, he boycotted his hearing, and his ongoing imprisonment was upheld. He was finally approved for release by a PRB under President Biden in December 2021.
  35. 10026 Abd Al Hadi Al Iraqi (Iraq) Recommended for prosecution and charged, even though he had been determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013.
  36. 10029 Muhammad Rahim (Afghanistan) Recommended for continued detention and possible transfer to detention in the U.S., but determined to be eligible for a Periodic Review Board in April 2013, his review took place in August 2016 and he was recommended for ongoing imprisonment in September 2016, a decision that was upheld in November 2019, and again in April 2022.

Some background to the list

196 of the 779 prisoners were released under President Obama, and although no prisoners were released for 15 months from January 2011, two Uighur prisoners (Muslims from China's Xinjiang province) were released in April 2012, another man, Ibrahim al-Qosi, who was given a two-year sentence after a plea deal in July 2010, was released in July 2012, and in September 2012, Omar Khadr, a former child prisoner, was transferred to Canada to serve the rest of the sentence he negotiated as part of plea deal in October 2010.

In August 2013, following a promise to resume releasing prisoners that President Obama made in May, after the majority of the remaining prisoners had embarked on a hunger strike to remind the world of their plight, two Algerians — cleared for release in January 2010 by the inter-agency Guantánamo Review Task Force that President Obama established when he took office in January 2009 — were released, and in December 2013 two more Algerians were repatriated — although these two men didn't want to go home — and two Saudis were then released.

These releases were then followed by the repatriation of two Sudanese prisoners — Noor Uthman Muhammed, as the result of a plea deal in February 2011, and Ibrahim Idris, who had been cleared for release by the task force, but whose eventual release was ordered by a judge after the Justice Department failed to contest his habeas corpus petition, accepting that he was severely mentally ill.

At the end of 2013, three more men were given new homes in Slovakia — the last of the 22 Uighurs (Muslims from China's oppressed Xinjiang province) whose release into the U.S. had been ordered by a judge in October 2008, but then overturned.

In March 2014, another Algerian — Ahmed Belbacha — was repatriated, and on May 31, 2014, five Taliban prisoners were released in Qatar, in exchange for the release of the sole U.S. prisoner of war in Afghanistan, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who had been held by the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani Network since 2009.

In November 2014, Fawzi al-Odah, one of the last two Kuwaitis in Guantánamo, was freed, and, also in November 2014, six more prisoners were released — three Yemenis were given new homes in Georgia, a Yemeni and a Tunisian were resettled in Slovakia, and a Saudi was repatriated.

In December, six more men were released — four Syrians, a Palestinian and a Tunisian — who were accepted as refugees in Uruguay, and four Afghans were repatriated, and the very end of the year five more men — two Tunisians and three Yemenis — were sent to Kazakhstan.

In January 2015, another five men — all Yemenis — were resettled. Four of the men were sent to Oman, while the fifth was sent to Estonia, and in June 2015 another six Yemenis were resettled in Oman. In September 2015, a Moroccan was repatriated, and also a Saudi, who was a long-term hunger striker, and at the end of October a Mauritanian was repatriated, and Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison, was released and returned to the U.K. On November 13, five Yemenis were released, sent to the United Arab Emirates, where, sadly, they have been subjected to ongoing imprisonment.

As 2016 began, two Yemenis were released, and given new homes in Ghana, Fayiz al-Kandari, the last Kuwaiti in the prison, was released, as was a Saudi, and ten Yemenis were given new homes in Oman. On the eve of the seventh anniversary of President Obama's promise to close the prison within a year (on January 22), it was announced that two more men had been freed — an Egyptian in Bosnia, and a Yemeni in Montenegro. In April, after over two months with no releases, two Libyans were given new homes in Senegal, although they were subsequently repatriated to Libya two years later, where they were imprisoned by militias, and nine Yemenis were then rehoused in Saudi Arabia. In June, another Yemeni was given a new home in Montenegro, and in July three more men were freed — one to Italy, and two to Serbia.

In August 2016, the largest single release under President Obama took place, when 15 men — 12 Yemenis and three Afghans — were sent to the United Arab Emirates, although they too were then subjected to ongoing imprisonment. Six of these men had been approved for release by Obama's task force in 2010, and nine others had been approved for release by Periodic Review Boards. In October, another release took place — of Mohamedou Ould Slahi, torture victim and best-selling author, who had also been approved for release by a PRB, and in December another Yemeni approved for release by a PRB was freed in Cape Verde. As 2017 began, President Obama released four more Yemeni prisoners — to Saudi Arabia. Ten men were released to Oman on Jan. 16, 2017, and four more men were released on Jan. 19, 2017, Obama's last day in office, some joining their beleaguered former prisoners in the UAE.