Timeline: 20 years of Guantanamo Bay jail

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January 11 marks 20 years because the opening of Guantanamo Bay, the notorious US jail situated in Cuba that critics say permits detainees to be held indefinitely outdoors of regular legal guidelines or judicial oversight.

A product of the so-called “war on terror”, US President Joe Biden, like his predecessor Barack Obama, had stated he needed to shut the ability. Instead, will probably be expanded underneath the Biden administration with a brand new $4m courtroom to be constructed this 12 months, the New York Times has reported.

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During the previous twenty years, 780 males have handed by the ability, which was created within the wake of the September 11, 2001 assaults. Today, the ability holds 39 males, based on disclosures from the US authorities’s interagency Periodic Review Board made in October.

“These are detentions that are inescapably bound up with multiple layers of unlawful government conduct over the years – secret transfers, incommunicado interrogations, forced feeding of hunger strikers, torture, enforced disappearance, and a complete lack of due process,” stated Amnesty International’s Daphne Eviatar in an announcement.

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Al Jazeera appears to be like again at some key occasions over 20 years of controversy surrounding the Guantanamo Bay detention centre.

November 13, 2001: George W Bush, the US president, points a army order on the “Detention, Treatment and Trial of Certain Non-Citizens, in the War Against Terrorism”. The order authorises the US to carry international nationals in custody with out cost indefinitely, and prevents them from enterprise any authorized course of to problem their detention.

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December 28, 2001: A memorandum from the US Justice Department to the Pentagon explains that prisoners held in Guantanamo Bay are usually not eligible for habeas corpus rights defending towards arbitrary detention as a result of they don’t seem to be on US soil.

January 11, 2002:  The first 20 detainees arrive at Guantanamo Bay’s Camp X-Ray and are held open air in wire mesh cages.

January 18, 2002: The International Committee of the Red Cross begins visiting prisoners in Guantanamo Bay. On the identical day, the Bush administration rules that Guantanamo prisoners don’t qualify as prisoners of conflict and are usually not entitled to the safety of the Geneva Convention.

January 27, 2002: Dick Cheney, the US vice chairman, describes the prisoners as “the worst of a very bad lot,” including that: “They are very dangerous. They are devoted to killing millions of Americans.”

February 21, 2002: A US federal decide dismisses a problem to the detention of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights, a authorized advocacy group.

March 21, 2002: The Bush administration declares new army tribunal laws.

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April 5, 2002: Prisoner Yaser Esam Hamdi is transferred from Guantanamo to army custody on the mainland after it’s found he was born within the US state of Louisiana.

April 25, 2002: Construction of the brand new Camp Delta, a everlasting jail facility with a capability of greater than 400, is accomplished.

August 1, 2002: A memorandum from the Department of Justice to then-White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales advises that the president can authorise a variety of “enhanced interrogation techniques” that might not quantity to torture and subsequently not be prosecutable underneath US regulation. Even if torture did happen, the memorandum argues, the speculation of “necessity” or “self-defence” might be used to get rid of any felony legal responsibility.

September 15, 2002: One prisoner, Abdul Razaq, turns into the primary inmate to be repatriated to Afghanistan.

December 2, 2002: Donald Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary, approves a spread of interrogation methods to be used at Guantanamo together with sensory deprivation, isolation, stress positions and the usage of canines to “induce stress”.

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March 11, 2003: A federal appeals courtroom rules that Guantanamo detainees don’t have any authorized rights within the United States.

May 2003: Guantanamo jail inhabitants reaches 680 detainees.

May 9-14: Seventeen prisoners are repatriated to Pakistan, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia.

July 3, 2003: Bush designates six suspected members of al-Qaeda eligible for the primary army tribunals because the second world conflict.

October 9, 2003: The Red Cross warns of the “deterioration in the psychological health of a large number of detainees”.

November 10, 2003: The US Supreme Court agrees to listen to appeals within the Guantanamo case over whether or not inmates have a proper to entry civilian courts to problem their indefinite detention.

December 3, 2003: David Hicks turns into the primary Guantanamo prisoner to be given a lawyer.

Demonstrators, dressed as Guantanamo Bay detainees, march past the Capitol building on Capitol Hill in Washington.Demonstrators, dressed as detainees, march previous the Capitol constructing n Washington, throughout a rally towards the army detention facility in Guantanamo Bay [File: Evan Vucci/AP Photo]

January 12, 2004: Five army attorneys assigned to defend detainees say they consider that a number of the rules drawn up for the army tribunals are unconstitutional.

February 23, 2004: The Bush administration brings the primary prices towards detainees. Ali Hamza al-Bahlul from Yemen and Ibrahim al-Qosi from Sudan are charged with conspiracy to commit conflict crimes.

June 28, 2004: The Supreme Court rules that the federal courts have the authority to resolve whether or not non-US residents detained in Guantanamo Bay are wrongfully imprisoned, and that the manager department doesn’t have the ability to carry indefinitely a US citizen with out fundamental due course of protections enforceable by judicial assessment.

July 7, 2004: The Pentagon launches army panels, generally known as Combatant Status Review Tribunals or CSRTs, to find out the “enemy combatant” standing of every prisoner.

August 13, 2004: Review tribunals start.

October 27, 2004: Four former British detainees launch authorized motion towards the US authorities. In the primary case of its type, Rasul, Iqbal, Ahmed and al Harith every demand $9m as compensation for alleged torture and different human rights violations. The Pentagon declares that the boys are usually not entitled to a payout as a result of they have been captured “in combat”.

November 8, 2004: US District Judge James Robertson orders a halt to the army commissions, saying they’re illegal and can’t proceed of their present type.

an American flag is seen through the razor wire on the control tower in Guantanamo BayAn American flag is seen by the razor wire on the management tower in Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in 2019 [File: Alex Brandon/AP Photo]

March 29, 2005: The CSRT course of is accomplished. Of the 558 detainees assessed, 38 have been judged as “no longer enemy combatants” and have been made eligible for launch.

April 19, 2005: The Associated Press launches authorized motion towards the US Department of Defense in an try and drive the discharge of transcripts and different paperwork associated to Guantanamo army hearings.

May 20, 2005: The Associated Press lawsuit leads to the discharge of nearly 2,000 pages of paperwork, though detainees’ names and nationalities blacked out. The paperwork embrace excerpts from prisoners’ testimonies.

July 15, 2005: Judge Robertson’s order to halt army commissions is overturned by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Court.

August 29, 2005: US District Judge Jed Rakoff orders the federal government to ask every prisoner whether or not they need private info that might be used to determine them to be launched to the Associated Press. Of 317 detainees who acquired the shape, 63 stated sure, 17 stated no, 35 returned the shape with out answering and 202 didn’t return the shape.

November 10, 2005: The US Senate approves an modification that continues to withhold the suitable for prisoners to file habeas corpus petitions.

December 30, 2005: The Detainee Treatment Act comes into regulation. The Act bans the usage of merciless, inhuman or degrading therapy of prisoners, however severely curtails their proper to problem their detention.

Since January 11, 2002, at least 780 detainees from 48 countries have been held in Guantanamo Bay. Only 16 were ever charged with criminal offenses, according to HRW.(Al Jazeera)

February 15, 2006: UN report recommends closure of Guantanamo.

February 23, 2006: The Pentagon is ordered to launch the identities of a whole lot of Guantanamo prisoners to the Associated Press on account of its Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

March 28, 2006: The US Supreme Court hears oral arguments in Hamdan v Rumsfeld, a case difficult the legality of detentions at Guantanamo Bay underneath the Geneva Convention on the legal guidelines of conflict and the US Military Code of Uniform Justice.

April 20, 2006: The Department of Defense releases the names of 558 individuals who have been held at Guantanamo Bay.

May 2006: Repatriations for detainees proceed for international locations in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Two Guantanamo detainees try suicide and a riot breaks out in response to the occasion.

June 10, 2006: Saudi Arabian nationals Mani Shaman Turki al-Habardi al-Utaybi and Yasser Talal al-Zahrani, and Ali Abdullah Ahmed of Yemen, die by obvious suicide.

June 29, 2006: The Supreme Court rules that the Bush administration’s army commissions violate the legal guidelines of conflict and worldwide conventions. The courtroom additionally reiterates that detainees might pursue instances in civilian courts.

July 12, 2006: Bush repeals his February 2002 directive and accepts that the Geneva Conventions apply to detainees.

September 6, 2006: Fourteen “high value” detainees are transferred to Guantanamo from secret websites.

September 26, 2006: The Red Cross sends a delegation to Guantanamo to fulfill with the 14 newly transferred prisoners.

October 17, 2006: President Bush indicators the Military Commissions Act into regulation. The Act strips US courts of jurisdiction to listen to habeas corpus appeals from any international nationwide held as an “enemy combatant” in US custody anyplace on the planet. It additionally narrows the scope of the War Crimes Act, by not expressly criminalising Common Article 3’s prohibition on unfair trials or “outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment”. The Act will permit the CIA’s secret detention programme to proceed.

Spanning four presidencies and nearly 20 years, the world’s most infamous detention centre has become a symbol of human rights abuses.(Al Jazeera)

March 18, 2007:  Two UK residents, Ahmed Rashidi and Ahmed Belbacha are cleared by a Pentagon tribunal for launch from the jail however face indefinite detention as a result of the UK refuses to authorise their launch.

March 26, 2007: Abdul Malik Abdul-Jabbar, a citizen of Kenya, is transferred to Guantanamo Bay, marking the primary time since September 2004 {that a} detainee has been immediately transferred to Guantanamo. Repatriations of detainees to different international locations proceed all year long.

May 20, 2008: Murat Kurnaz turns into the primary ex-Guantanamo detainee to testify earlier than the US Congress, which he does from Germany by way of videolink.

June 12, 2008: The United States Supreme Court rules on Boumediene v Bush and Al Odah v United States that detainees at Guantanamo Bay ought to have a proper to problem their detention in US Federal Courts by habeas corpus petitions.

November 16, 2008: Barack Obama, then a candidate for US president, declares his intention to shut Guantanamo.

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January 14, 2009: A public assertion admitting {that a} detainee was tortured is launched for the primary time by a senior Bush administration official answerable for reviewing practices at Guantanamo Bay. The assertion admitted that the therapy of a Saudi nationwide met the authorized definition of torture.

January 22, 2009: President Obama points three government orders: one ordering the closure of the jail at Guantanamo Bay in a single 12 months, one other banning the usage of controversial CIA interrogation methods, and a 3rd ordering a assessment of detention coverage choices.

May 15, 2009: Inmate Lakhdar Boumediene is transferred to France. He had been held since 2002 and had been utilized by attorneys to win the landmark Supreme Court case which dominated detainees at Guantanamo Bay had the suitable to habeas corpus. Meanwhile, President Obama declares he’ll proceed with the much-criticised system of army tribunals that President Bush created to attempt terrorism suspects, albeit in a special type.

June 9, 2009: The first detainee, Ahmed Ghailani, who shouldn’t be an American citizen is introduced from Guantanamo Bay to the US mainland to face a federal trial. He is ultimately given a life sentence for his function in bombing US embassies.

June 11, 2009: Mohammed el Gharani, the youngest prisoner to be held in Guantanamo Bay, is launched. He was 14 when he was arrested in Pakistan in 2001.

November 2009: Obama admits a deliberate deadline for closing the ability by January 2010 will likely be missed.

Since 2002, 732 Guantanamo detainees have been sent home or to other countries through prisoner transfer agreements. There are 39 still held. Nine died in custody.(Al Jazeera)

January 22, 2010: The US Justice Department determines that nearly 50 of the remaining 196 detainees in Guantanamo Bay ought to be held indefinitely with out prices or trial. A hand stuffed with detainees face army tribunals by the remainder of the 12 months.

March 7, 2011: Obama indicators an government order to renew army trials at Guantanamo Bay, formally establishing a system to carry some detainees indefinitely. The order is a decisive break from one in all his marketing campaign guarantees.

April 4, 2011: Attorney General Eric Holder declares a choice to prosecute 5 males accused of plotting the September 11, 2001 assaults earlier than a army fee at Guantanamo Bay. “The Obama administration has squandered a key opportunity to reject the unlawful counterterrorism policies of the past,” Andrea Prasow, senior counterterrorism counsel at Human Rights Watch, stated on the time.

April 24, 2011: WikiLeaks releases categorised US army recordsdata, exhibiting that Guantanamo Bay held greater than 150 harmless males for years. By this time, 604 inmates have been transferred out of the jail whereas 172 stay detained there.

Then-US President Barack Obama discusses administration plans to close the Guantanamo military prisonThen-US President Barack Obama, standing with then-Vice President Joe Biden discusses his administration’s finally unsuccessful plans to shut the Guantanamo army jail in February 2016 [File: Carlos Barria/Reuters]

May 5, 2012: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, an alleged mastermind of the September 11 assaults and 4 different accused co-conspirators, are formally charged at a army tribunal in Guantanamo Bay. They appeared in public for the primary time in additional than three years.

March 12, 2013: Inmates launch starvation strikes over what they are saying are deteriorating circumstances. A spokesperson for the jail informed Al Jazeera on the time that, of the 166 prisoners, seven have been on starvation strike.

July 7, 2013: One of the starvation strikers, Yemeni nationwide Moath al-Alwi, pens an opinion piece for Al Jazeera on why he’s refusing meals.

December 27, 2013: Obama urges lawmakers within the US to go additional in enjoyable restrictions on transferring Guantanamo detainees to the custody of international governments. Obama additionally stated that Congress retained laws that forestall the switch of prisoners to US soil, the place they might be tried in federal courtroom.

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July 5, 2014: Lawyers for 2 Guantanamo Bay detainees file motions asking a US courtroom to dam officers from stopping inmates from participating in communal prayers throughout the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. The attorneys argue that the detainees’ rights are protected underneath the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).

February 18, 2015: The first terrorism conviction earlier than a US army courtroom at Guantanamo Bay was reversed. Australian David Hicks, who had pleaded responsible to offering materials assist to terrorism, had his conviction tossed by a US army appeals courtroom.

September 26, 2015: US officers stated Shaker Aamer, the final British resident held in Guantanamo Bay, can be launched. Saudi-born Aamer had been held for 14 years and was launched following a plea from the UK prime minister.

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February 23, 2016: Obama proposes a “once and for all” plan to shut the army jail at Guantanamo Bay and switch remaining detainees to a facility within the US. The plan was not accepted by different lawmakers and was finally unsuccessful.

April 16, 2016: The US transfers 9 Yemeni males to Saudi Arabia from Guantanamo, together with an inmate who had been on starvation strike. The switch marked the biggest group of prisoners shipped out of the naval base since Obama rolled out his plan to close the centre earlier than he leaves workplace.

August 16, 2016: Fifteen Guantanamo Bay prisoners are transferred to the United Arab Emirates, leaving 61 detainees on the jail.

January 20, 2017: Donald Trump is inaugurated as president of the United States. On the marketing campaign path, he had pledged to “load it (Guantanamo) up with some bad dudes”. Fewer than 50 detainees remained within the jail when Trump took workplace.

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January 30, 2018: Trump indicators an government order to maintain Guantanamo jail open. In his state of the union speech, Trump stated he anticipated that “in many cases” captured terrorists can be despatched to the jail.

April 27, 2019: The navy commander of the duty drive that runs the Guantanamo Bay jail, Rear Admiral John Ring, is fired for a “loss of confidence in his ability to command”.

January 20, 2020: Joe Biden, who had signalled his want to shut Guantanamo, is inaugurated as US president.

January 22, 2020: One of the boys credited with creating the CIA’s torture programme testifies at Guantanamo Bay as a part of a pretrial listening to for 5 males charged over the September 11 assaults. Jim Mitchell defended his function within the programme as a matter of ethical braveness.

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June 21, 2021: Former President Trump thought of sending US residents contaminated with the coronavirus to Guantanamo Bay, based on a brand new e-book. “Don’t we have an island that we own?” Trump requested employees within the Situation Room in February 2020, the Washington Post reported in June 2021. “What about Guantanamo?”

September 10, 2021: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the September 11 assaults, together with 4 co-defendants appeared in a army courtroom at Guantanamo Bay for the primary time because the coronavirus pandemic started. Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Walid bin Attash, and Abd al-Aziz Ali and Mohammed face the demise penalty in a trial by a army tribunal at Guantanamo Bay that has been bogged in course of.

October 29, 2021: A detainee held at Guantanamo Bay presents the primary public account in a US courtroom of torture at a CIA clandestine facility. Majid Khan, a former resident of a Baltimore suburb, detailed being waterboarded, bodily and sexually abused, and struggling different types of torment at a CIA “black site”.

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December 27, 2021: Biden indicators a $770 billion army spending invoice, however his White House criticises provisions within the laws barring the usage of funds to switch Guantanamo Bay detainees to international international locations or into the US except sure circumstances are met. Biden has stated he hopes to shut the jail earlier than his tenure is up however the federal authorities remains to be barred by regulation from transferring inmates to prisons on the US mainland.

January 11, 2022: Guantanamo Bay acquired its first inmates 20 years in the past as we speak.



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