HRW objects to GITMO detainee transfer

Jan. 7, 2011 at 10:54 AM
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NEW YORK, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Washington shouldn't make detainee issues worse with forced repatriations, Human Rights Watch said after an inmate was freed from Guantanamo Bay.

The U.S. Defense Department announced Thursday that it transferred Saeed Farhi bin Mohammed from Guantanamo Bay to Algeria following a court order from a federal court in the District of Columbia.

He had been held at the military facility in Cuba for more than eight years.

Andrea Prasow, a counter-terrorism legal adviser at Human Rights Watch, said Washington was making its controversial detainee practices at Guantanamo Bay worse by forcing former detainees to return to countries where they could be harmed.

"A detainee who claims he faces danger upon his return should first be able to present those claims before a neutral arbiter," she said in a statement.

The detainee, according the Human Rights Watch, told lawyers he feared for his safety if he returned to Algeria.

Washington in July sent detainee Aziz Abdul Naji back to Algeria against his will, Human Rights Watch added.

U.S. President Barack Obama during his 2008 campaign promised to close the military prison and move detainees to the United States for trials. He signed an executive order Jan. 22, 2009, that the facility be closed in a year. The prison is still open. There are 173 detainees left at Guantanamo Bay.

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