October 7, 2015, New York – Today, the government officially informed Guantánamo prisoner Mohammed Kamin that the Periodic Review Board (PRB) has cleared him for release. Mr. Kamin, who is from Afghanistan, has been held in U.S. custody for more than 11 years, until now one of the “forever prisoners” designated for indefinite detention—that is, one of the men who are not cleared for release or transfer but who will also never be charged with a crime. Advocates have cited picking up the pace of the PRBs as one of the key elements to closing Guantanamo before President Obama leaves office.
“As the president reviews his plan for closing Guantánamo, he should accelerate the Periodic Review process to determine the feasibility of transferring more men out of the prison,” said Center for Constitutional Rights Senior Managing Attorney Shayana Kadidal. “Clearing Mr. Kamin for release was the right decision. It is also the right decision for numerous other men who remain trapped in indefinite detention at Guantánamo.”
The PRB is a forward-looking, administrative process to determine whether “detention is necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the security of the United States.”
Mr. Kamin is now the 54th cleared prisoner at Guantánamo. However, many of these men have been cleared for release or transfer for years. 40 men remain currently designated for indefinite detention, neither charged nor cleared.
Mr. Kadidal continued, “The PRBs have cleared 14 of the 16 detainees whose cases they reviewed, which shows that the group of men who supposedly ‘cannot be tried but are too dangerous to release’ is really a null set.”
Kamin was told of the result during an unclassified phone call today, and said “I cannot tell you how happy I am. I sometimes dream of being free, and am so happy; then I wake up in this facility, and have a different feeling.”
While the president has yet to provide an official plan for closing the prison, bringing the forever prisoners to U.S. soil has been widely reported to be part of the plan. To do so would not close Guantanamo in any meaningful sense, according to CCR attorneys; instead, it would simply perpetuate the Guantanamo system of indefinite detention here at home.
Mr. Kamin was charged in April 2008 with one count of material support for terrorism. However, the convening authority withdrew the charges in 2009, and subsequent rulings in federal court have held that material support is not a charge triable by military commission. His attorneys also argue that with the end of the U.S.’s direct involvement in the conflict in Afghanistan, any purported legal authority to continue detaining Mr. Kamin also ended.
Mohammed Kamin is also represented by Paul Rashkind at the Florida Federal Public Defender’s Office in his habeas corpus case, and by military commission defense counsel Maj. Reies M. Flores.
The Center for Constitutional Rights has led the legal battle over Guantánamo for more than 13 years – representing clients in two Supreme Court cases and organizing and coordinating hundreds of pro bono lawyers across the country, ensuring that all the men detained at Guantánamo have had the option of legal representation. CCR is responsible for many Guantanamo cases in many venues, representing men in their habeas cases in federal court and before the military commissions and Periodic Review Boards, the families of men who died at Guantánamo, and men who have been released and are seeking accountability in international courts.