Reporting for the Guardian, Spencer Ackerman Tuesday described his veiled glimpse into the long-awaited Guantánamo Bay inmate review board process -- a parole review-like system first ordered by President Obama in 2011 to move prisoners out of the camp.
A group of journalists and human rights groups' representatives were given access via video link to parts of a review process for one inmate, Abdel Malik Ahmed Abdel Wahab al-Rahabi, a Yemeni who has been held without charge at Guantánamo Bay for 12 years.
As Ackerman describes it:
Rahabi, a slim 34-year-old in a white shirt whom the Defense Department believes was “almost certainly” a member of al-Qaida, bobbed in his swivel chair, occasionally scratching his nose as his representatives read statements arguing for his release. He was not invited to speak, unlike during the panel’s Bush-era antecedent.
Then, at about 9.40am ET, the feed stopped, as the participants adjourned to begin a classified hearing – away from cameras, far from public view and expected to last for hours.
Tuesday’s session, streamed on to a flatscreen TV in a Defense Department-operated office building outside Washington, provided the first public peek into a process the Obama administration ordered begun in 2011 to help clear out the detention facility’s remaining population.
... While the easiest available analogy for the Periodic Review Board is to a parole hearing, there are significant differences. Rahabi has never been charged with any crime, let alone convicted. But his representatives did – as they would at a parole hearing – make his behavior during his time at Guantánamo, such as acting as a go-between for camp authorities and detainees engaging in hunger strikes, part of their argument for ending his detention.