First Yemeni Detainee Released from Gitmo in Years

November 20, New York – In response to the transfer of five men from Guantanamo, including our Yemeni client Abd Al Hakim Ghalib Ahmad Alhag, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) issued the following statement: “We are grateful to the Republic of Georgia for offering our client a new home where he can begin to rebuild his life after more than a decade in Guantánamo without charge or trial.”  This is the first transfer of a Yemeni man to any country since 2010. 

Frank C. Razzano and John C. Snodgrass, who have represented Mr. Alhag for nearly nine years, said, “We are greatly gratified at the news of our client’s release, and we look forward to him building a new life for himself in Georgia.”
Mr. Alhag was the subject of prior resettlement efforts that failed for no fault of his own.  Cleared for release unanimously by all relevant government agencies, his transfer was delayed for years as the U.S. inexplicably opposed his release in court.  The U.S. finally transferred him on the eve of new litigation by the Center for Constitutional Rights challenging his continued indefinite detention based on or because of his Yemeni citizenship.  Such arbitrary detention violates U.S. and international law, including the Geneva Conventions, which the U.S. is obligated to uphold. 
Of the 143 men who remain at Guantánamo, 84 are from Yemen.  Of those, 54 Yemenis are currently approved for transfer. CCR attorneys say they should not be held because of perceived instability in their home country. 
Said CCR Senior AttorneyWells Dixon, “As we welcome Mr. Alhag’s resettlement, we are reminded that the remaining Yemeni men should be sent home or resettled without further delay.”
Said CCR Yemen expert Ibraham Qatabi, “We appreciate the efforts of Ambassador Adel Ali Al-Sanini and the Yemen Embassy in Washington, and we are grateful for their assistance in this case.  We also appreciate their willingness to receive or resettle their remaining nationals as we continue to advocate for the release of our clients, who, but for their Yemeni citizenship, would no longer be detained.” 
For the Arabic version of the press release, click here.
The Center for Constitutional Rights has led the legal battle over Guantánamo for nearly 13 years – representing clients in two Supreme Court cases and organizing and coordinating hundreds of pro bono lawyers across the country, ensuring that nearly all the men detained at Guantánamo have had the option of legal representation. Among other Guantánamo cases, the Center represents the families of men who died at Guantánamo, and men who have been released and are seeking justice in international courts.

The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, the Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach. Learn more at


Last modified 

November 20, 2014