Of the 166 detainees currently being held at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility, less than twenty are likely to ever be tried and sent to trial, according to the war tribunals chief prosecutor.
Following a 2010 review, President Barack Obama’s Guantanamo Review Task Force said that 36 of the detainees could be prosecuted, though Army Brigadier General Mark Martins stated Monday that those numbers were “ambitious,” estimating the the number tried would be “20 at most.”
In essence, that means at least 15 additional detainees will now be added to the list of 48 who the administration plans to hold indefinitely without charges.
“With nearly 800 people having been sent to Guantanamo over the years, this represents a total of under 3 percent who will even make it to trial — let alone be found guilty,” said Cori Crider, a Guantanamo attorney with the human rights organization Reprieve. “This shockingly low figure demonstrates what a terrible mistake Guantanamo has been, and just how many lives have been ruined for no good reason.”
“Meanwhile, more than half the prisoners still held in Guantanamo have been cleared for release, yet are going nowhere,” she added. “It is high time President Obama got his act together and delivered on his promise to close this prison.”
According to Reuters, the “drastic scaling back” of prosecutions came after the US Court of Appeals threw out the conviction for Salim Hamdan, who in 2008 was found guilty of ‘material support for terrorism.’
The report continues:
The court agreed with defense arguments that material support was not internationally recognized as a war crime when Hamdan worked for bin Laden’s motor pool in Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001.
Congress made material support a war crime in a 2006 law underpinning the Guantanamo tribunals, but the appeals court said the law could not be retroactively applied.
The statement was made as Guantanamo pretrials commenced Tuesday for the death penalty case against Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, a Saudi captive accused of directing suicide bombers to ram a boat full of explosives into the side of the USS Cole, allegedly killing 17 US sailors.
During the trial, defense attorney Rick Kammen questioned whether prosecutors should be allowed to use as evidence statements made by Fahd al Quso, another alleged al Qaeda operative, who was killed by a U.S. drone strike in Yemen last year.
“Can the United States kill witnesses and then still use their hearsay evidence?” Kammen asked.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License
This article originally appeared on: Common Dreams