Cape Town – CAGE Africa commends the Senegalese government for accepting two cleared Guantanamo Bay detainees, Salem Abdu Salam Ghereby 55 and Omar Khalifa Mohammed Abu Bakr Mahjour Umar 44 for resettlement. Both men have not been charged with any crime – in their 14 years of imprisonment under torture they have been innocent.
While their move brings Guantanamo closer to being shut down, the news should be greeted with cautious scepticism. Questions around whether the two men’s sentences have been transferred to Senegalese prison sentences have so far gone unanswered by the Pentagon.
Nonetheless in press statements, the Senegalese government declared that it had accepted the two men, “in the tradition of Senegalese hospitality and Islamic solidarity with two African brothers who have expressed interest in resettlement in Senegal after their release”.
CAGE Outreach Director and former detainee of Guantanamo Bay and Bagram prisons, Moazzam Begg, said:
“The last time I saw Umar was in the US-held Bagram detention facility, Afghanistan, 2002. Conditions in this place were horrific enough but Umar, an amputee, was prevented from access to his prosthetic leg as it was deemed a “security risk”. As a result, this was forced to crawl around on his knees just to go to the back of the communal cell to use the bathroom, or to collect his food ration twice a day.”
“I am certain that his years and Guantanamo were just as hard and humiliating but I know that both men will welcome the end of their unimaginable ordeal. They leave behind 89 prisoners who yearn for
an end to their ordeal too.”
Karen Jayes, co-ordinator for CAGE Africa, said:
“Senegal should be lauded for accepting these two men for resettlement, but the exact nature of the security measures around them have not been clearly defined, though hardline Secretary of Defense Ash Carter is reportedly ‘satisfied’. Such information is essential to determine the relative freedom of these men, who are innocent of any crime.”
“Senegal joins Ghana and Mauritania, as fellow African nations that have accepted detainees for resettlement. This should convince the South African government to accept cleared detainees for resettlement here, in line with CAGE Africa’s petition, which is currently under debate at the Presidency.”
CAGE Africa calls for the resettlement of cleared detainees in South Africa. Sign now
(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)