OPEN LETTER ON THE DEATH OF GUANTANAMO BAY PRISONER ADNAN FARHAN ABDUL LATIF
It is long past time for the Obama administration to make good on its promise to close Guantánamo and resettle or repatriate the men it does not intend to prosecute. It can begin with transferring the 87 – now 86 – men it has already determined can be released.
Please sign this petition now and encourage friends and associates to sign on also. It is no longer only a matter of justice, fairness, and freedom, but literally of life and death.
Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif died on September 8, 2012, at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, after more than ten years of detention without charge and, from his perspective, without foreseeable end. While the cause of his death is not yet known, what is clear is that it is Guantánamo that killed him.
The cruel irony is that by the government’s own admission, Mr. Latif did not belong at Guantánamo . He was approved for transfer three times by two different administrations in 2004, 2007, and 2009. In reviewing his petition for habeas corpus, the district court had agreed that he should be released, finding that the single secret document that was the basis for his detention was too flawed to be credited. But the Department of Justice appealed the order, and the Court of Appeals, as it has in virtually every appeal by men detained at Guantánamo, deferred to the government. A dissenting judge on the appellate court condemned the majority for not only “moving the goal posts,” but also “call[ing] the game in the government’s favor.”
Adnan Latif remained trapped in Guantánamo despite having been approved for transfer not because of anything he had done, but because of where he was from. Mr. Latif was a citizen of Yemen, and in December 2009, the Obama administration issued a moratorium on all repatriations to that country. Fifty-six other Yemenis have been approved to leave Guantánamo ; but for the fact of their citizenship, they could go home.
There are 166 men who remain imprisoned at Guantánamo today. Most will never be charged, and the majority have been cleared for transfer by every government agency with a stake in the matter. As Mr. Latif once wrote to his attorneys, Guantánamo “is a piece of hell that kills everything.” It is long past time for the Obama administration to make good on its promise to close the notorious prison and resettle or repatriate the men it does not intend to prosecute. It can begin with transferring the 87 – now 86 – men it has already determined can be released.
This petition has a goal of