May 26, 2016, Guantánamo – Today, an attorney from the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) urged a Periodic Review Board (PRB) at Guantánamo to recommend that Sufyian Barhoumi be cleared for release. Barhoumi has been held at Guantánamo since 2002, In 2011, the administration established the PRB process to review the status of men not already approved for transfer. It is a non-legal process, akin to a parole board, designed to determine, by unanimous consensus of the six agencies involved, whether detention is necessary to protect against a continuing “significant threat” to the security of the United States.
“The government has repeatedly indicated that it has no intention to charge Mr. Barhoumi with any crime. He has already been held for over 14 years. He has a supportive middle-class family and a home to return to. There is simply no reason to continue to warehouse him in Guantánamo,” said Senior Staff Attorney Shayana Kadidal. “If there is any hope of President Obama closing Guantánamo before his term ends, there is no time to waste in clearing and releasing men like Mr. Barhoumi.”
Mr. Barhoumi has been charged by military commission three times, but each time the charges have been dropped. His family is in Algeria, where the Obama administration has previously repatriated men detained at Guantánamo.
Barhoumi is an avid soccer player and fan, and is looking forward to Saturday’s Champions League final with great anticipation. He lived for four years in Spain, Paris, and London and speaks English. He is one of the best-liked men – among guards and fellow prisoners – detained at Guantánamo. The package of supporting documents submitted to the board includes a letter in support of his release from a former guard at the prison camp, the first submission of its kind in 40 hearings done to date. That letter and numerous others submitted in support of his release are proof that, despite many years of wrongful detention and abuse at Guantánamo, Barhoumi “does not have a black heart against America,” as he put it in an interview with the Wall Street Journal in 2013.
There are currently 28 cleared prisoners at Guantánamo, nearly half of whom have been approved for transfer by the Periodic Review Board.