2 Guantanamo prisoners ask for release before Trump takes office

Washington, Jan 17 (IANS) Lawyers for two lower-level detainees from the wartime prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, are urgently asking a court to send them home before Trump takes office, specially after 10 such prisoners were released, media reports said.

Lawyers for the two men, who are on the transfer list but are set to be left behind, are trying to get their clients out through federal court orders on Monday, while President-elect Donald Trump has called for a halt to any more transfers, New York Times reported.

Though all these detainees were from a list of those approved for transfer, many after about 15 years of detention without trial, they remained stranded because they come from unstable countries.

Sufyian Barhoumi, hailing from Algeria and a Moroccan named Abdul Latif Nasir, both belong to countries that are deemed fit for repatriations.

Both were added to the transfer list last year by a parole-like board, but Secretary of Defense, Ashton B. Carter did not sign off on a repatriation arrangement for them by the deadline.

On Friday, however, lawyers for the two men filed an “emergency motion” before two judges in the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia, arguing that the judges should order their release without any delay, lest their clients be imprisoned for at least another four years “because of administrative delays in filing paperwork”.

While Barhoumi’s judge has ordered the government to respond to the motion by Tuesday, Nasir’s judge has not yet responded to the motion.

If the Obama administration’s Justice Department decides not to fight the requests and one or both judges do issue a transfer order, it will raise the question of whether the executive branch may carry out such a transfer without telling Congress and waiting 30 days first – by which time the Trump administration will have taken over.

–IANS

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