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 The Controversial Transfer of Guantanamo Detainees to Senegal

It’s a hotly debated topic that has sparked controversy and raised questions about justice, human rights, and national security. The transfer of Guantanamo detainees to Senegal has been a contentious issue that has divided opinions and sparked intense discussions across the globe.

But what’s the story behind this controversial move? What does it mean for the detainees, Senegal, and the international community? In this post, we dive deep into the specifics and unlock the truth behind the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to Senegal.

The Background

Guantanamo Bay, a US military prison located in Cuba, has been a source of international criticism and condemnation for its treatment of detainees. Over the years, the prison has housed hundreds of individuals accused of terrorism, many of whom have been held without charge or trial.

In 2016, the Senegalese government showed compassion and commitment to human rights by agreeing to resettle two Libyan detainees who had been held at the Guantanamo detention facility without charge or trial for nearly 14 years1. The two detainees resettled to Senegal were Salem Abdul Salem Ghereby (55 years old) and Omar Khalif Mohammed Abu Baker Mahjour Umar (approximately 44 years old), both Libyan nationals1. Here are some key details:

Salem Abdul Salem Ghereby:

Cleared for release from Guantanamo in 2009 by an interagency task force.
Allegedly joined the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) in the 1990s, an organization opposed to then-Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
The LIFG later split into factions, one of which was allegedly aligned with international terrorist organizations.
Senegal’s decision to welcome Ghereby allowed him to start a new life after years of unjust detention.


Omar Khalif Mohammed Abu Baker Mahjour Umar:

Cleared by a Periodic Review Board in 2015.
Assessed to be likely to “immediately seek out prior associates and reengage in hostilities and extremist support activities” upon release.
Had affiliations with senior Al Qaeda leaders and operatives, including Ayman al-Zawahiri.
Engaged in extremism since at least 1998 and flew on a bin Laden-chartered plane from Sudan to Afghanistan

The Controversy

The decision to transfer detainees to Senegal sparked a wave of controversy and raised questions about the legality and implications of the move. Critics argued that transferring detainees to a country with a history of human rights violations was a violation of their rights and could lead to further abuse and mistreatment.

Others questioned Senegal’s capacity to adequately monitor and rehabilitate the detainees, raising concerns about the potential for them to return to terrorism. The move also raised diplomatic concerns as Senegal does not have an extradition treaty with the US, making it challenging to bring detainees to trial if needed.

The Unique Features

The transfer of Guantanamo detainees to Senegal is unique and unprecedented. It is the first time that detainees have been transferred to a country in sub-Saharan Africa, and it has brought attention to the region’s role in addressing global issues. It also marks a significant shift in the Obama administration’s efforts to close Guantanamo Bay and find suitable countries to take in detainees.

This transfer has also drawn attention to the challenges faced by countries that agree to take in former Guantanamo detainees. They must balance their obligations under international law with their own national security concerns, making it a delicate and complex decision.

The Benefits and Value

Despite the controversy, the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to Senegal has significant benefits and carries great value. For the detainees, it means the possibility of living in a country where they can build a new life and leave behind the stigma and trauma of Guantanamo Bay.

Senegal, on the other hand, has an opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to international human rights laws and build diplomatic relationships with the US and other countries. This transfer also opens the door for other countries to step up and join efforts to close Guantanamo Bay by taking in detainees themselves.

The Conclusion

The transfer of Guantanamo detainees to Senegal is a complex and contentious issue that has sparked intense debate. But it also shines a light on the interconnectedness of global issues and the importance of finding solutions that prioritize human rights and international law. Only time will tell the true impact of this controversial transfer, but one thing is certain – the truth is finally being unlocked.

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