Gitmo deportees “disappeared” in Algeria

New York’s Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) protests that detainees are being deported to countries that practice torture. On July 2, two Algerians were transferred from Guantánamo to the custody of the Algerian government—the first Algerians transferred from Guantánamo to Algeria. Since then, the men have effectively “disappeared,” CCR says.

Abderrahmane Houari, 28, and Mustafa Ahmed Hamlily, 49, had been imprisoned for more than six years at Guantánamo, where they had manifested serious health problems and Houari even reportedly attempted to kill himself in December 2007. The families of these two men have heard nothing of their whereabouts since their return to Algeria. “While we are pleased that Mr. Houari has finally been released from Guantanamo Bay, something that should have occurred years ago, that lack of notice as to his whereabouts is unconscionable, particularly in light of his well documented mental health history,” said Thomas Durkin, attorney for Abderrahmane Houari.

Approximately 23 Algerians remain at Guantánamo. At least five have explicitly expressed fears of repatriation due to a risk of torture or persecution. An estimated 50 Guantánamo detainees, including the five Algerians, cannot return home for fear of torture or persecution. So far, neither the US nor other countries have been willing to give them safe haven. The US has already sent 40 detainees back to countries that are known for human rights abuses, including Uzbekistan, Libya, Tunisia, and Egypt. (CCR, July 2)

See our last posts on Gitmo and Algeria.