Refoulement: Former Guantanamo prisoner Omar Khalifa Abu Baker forcibly taken from Senegal to Libya

2018-04-12T12:58:40+00:00 April 12th, 2018|Campaign Update, Guantanamo, Press Release|

London – The second of two Libyan former Guantanamo prisoners resettled in Senegal, Omar Khalifa Abu Baker, has now been deported from Dakar to Tripoli.

This alarming situation has developed over the past few days during which time Salim Ghereby, the first of the prisoners to be deported, was flown via Tunis and handed over to the Rada militia.

Our sources have confirmed that Omar Khalifa has also been sent to the Mitiga Air Base in Tripoli and is in the custody of the same militia.

We understand that the situation in Libya is complex and uncertain. Ghereby opted to return home voluntarily, primarily to be reunited with his wife and children in the west of the country, near Tripoli. However, the situation in eastern Libya, where Omar is from and may be sent, is far more unsafe, volatile and unstable.

It  is further clear now that both men have been subjected to refoulement and a breach of both international law and agreements between the governments of the USA and Senegal.

CAGE Outreach director, Moazzam Begg, said:

“I have been reliably informed that Omar was beaten and forcibly removed from Senegal to a place where he feared persecution and repression. When he first told me of his fears about this happening I really did not think that Senegal and the US would permit this to happen. Now it has, he is facing arbitrary imprisonment, torture and cruelty after 14 years of the same. This is in contravention of international law and basic human decency.”.

“Our fear now is that handing ex-Gitmo prisoners over to abusers may be a new phase in the US ‘resettlement policy’ ,and that other countries may follow suit. I have been told by another ex-Gitmo prisoner that he has now been threatened with the same treatment by the country in which he has been resettled. These men have long been cleared of any wrongdoing. This torture of Guantanamo survivors must stop.”

CAGE calls for:

  1. The government of the USA to fulfil its obligation towards these men who it imprisoned and abused without charge, trial or redress for 14 years. They must ensure beyond all reasonable doubt that they are safe from further arbitrary imprisonment and torture.

  2. We also seek assurances on behalf of other ‘resettled’  former Guantanamo prisoners that they will not be subject to refoulement.

  3. The US must ensure and monitor the provision of amenities for former prisoners who are resettled. The US must also guarantee that they have access to facilities that afford them a chance to engage in society in a meaningful way and are not left destitute and isolated. This means they must have access to language courses, housing, education, gainful employment, communicability, social interaction and freedom of movement. They must not also be unnecessarily harassed or intimidated by local authorities as has been the case in many instances.

  4. In the case of the Libyan deportees, we call on the US to ensure that Omar Khalifa and Salim Ghereby are not imprisoned or tortured but are sent to places of their choice to live in safety.

  5. The governments of USA and Senegal to be held accountable for the treatment of these men. We request full disclosure as to why and how the decision to breach international law was reached.

  6. The Tunisian government must explain how it allowed the use of its airspace and airport facilities for the transfer of these men through their territory.

[Ends]

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(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.)