Expected trials at Guantanamo falls to new low

A protester in an orange jumpsuit and black hood stands outside of the Capitol. (Photo: takomabibelot)

The US Government has revealed that the number of detainees it expects to be given a trial at Guantanamo has fallen to a new low, with a maximum of just seven more of the remaining 122 people being held at the prison expected to face charges.

Although a total of 779 detainees have been held in Guantanamo since it opened in 2002, just ten of those still at the prison are currently undergoing prosecution or serving sentences handed down by quasi-judicial military commissions. A further eight detainees have been convicted and released, although three of those have since been cleared on appeal.

This means that of the 779 people to have been held at the prison over its lifetime, a maximum of just 25 have faced or are ever expected to face any kind of trial process — that is, just 3%.

Today’s estimate by the US Government — reported by the Miami Herald — also marks a further reduction in the number of detainees it expects to try — a figure which has now been revised down twice since it was set by the Obama Task Force in 2010.

Commenting, Kat Craig, legal director at international human rights NGO Reprievesaid: “Today — after many men have been languishing in Guantanamo for over 13 years without charge or trial — we learn that a maximum of just 3% will ever have their case heard. The rest will continue to rot in unbearable conditions — having never been convicted of any crime nor received any vindication.  800 years after Magna Carta established the right to a fair trial, this is a stark reminder of how the most basic principles of justice have been abandoned at Guantanamo.”

1. For further information, please contact Katherine O’Shea at Reprieve US: +1 917 855 8064 / katherine.oshea@reprieve.org  or Donald Campbell at Reprieve UK:donald.campbell@reprieve.org.uk

2. For today’s figures, see ‘Pentagon envisions up to 7 more Guantánamo trials,’ Miami Herald, March 27 2015.

3. US prosecutors had already scaled back the estimated number of detainees they expected to try in 2013, from a previous 2010 estimate under Obama’s Review Task Force — see ‘United States scales back plans for Guantanamo prosecutions,’ Reuters, June 11 2013.