Few people know about the plight of Guantánamo detainee Hussain Salem Mohammed Almerfedi, but they should. That’s why Amnesty International included his case in Write #4Rights, a special period of global activism from December 5th to 16th marking International Human Rights Day on December 10th.
Almerfedi is a Yemeni national who has been held in U.S. military custody at Guantánamo Bay for over nine years:
- He has never been charged with a crime or brought to trial by the U.S. government for any offence.
- He is one of 55 Guantánamo detainees who were publicly named by the Obama administration in September as cleared for transfer out of the prison.
- He was also cleared for transfer by the administration of former President George W. Bush.
- But he remains held without charge, and could be at Guantánamo for the rest of his life.
Almerfedi’s case—like that of the late Adnan Latif, who was originally to be included in this year’s Write #4Rigths until his tragic death in September–illustrates all that’s wrong with the U.S. government’s continued practice of indefinite detention at Guantánamo prison.
In a nutshell, the U.S. government asserts that it can lock people up forever without charge or trial (or kill them with drones) in the name of unending “global war” against al-Qa’ida and other armed groups. The message sent is that a government can ignore its human rights obligations whenever and wherever it wants.
But under international law binding on the U.S. government, all people have human rights, including the right to be free from arbitrary detention and the right to a fair trial.
Join Amnesty International in calling for Almerfedi and other Guantánamo detainees to be released immediately, unless they are charged with recognizably criminal offences and given fair trials in federal court, in full accordance with international standards, and without recourse to the death penalty.
- Send an email to President Obama about Hussain Almerfedi’s case
- Join Write #4Rights to get more involved in Almerfedi’s case, and to make a difference in other cases, including that of Mónica Roa, a human rights defender in Colombia attacked for her human rights work.
- Sign up for the Day of Action Against Guantanamo on January 11th. You can join our march in Washington, D.C. or organize a solidarity action.