Imagine enduring five years of imprisonment at Guantanamo Bay, finally winning your release and then learning you had no place to go. Eighty-two detainees have been cleared for release by the U.S., but remain at the facility, either because their home countries refuse to take them or they would face torture if repatriated. What’s worse, the U.S., Europe and other allies have all but washed their hands of the situation.
In many cases, the prisoners’ countries do not want them back. Yemen, for instance, has balked at accepting some of the 106 Yemeni nationals at Guantanamo by challenging the legality of their citizenship.
Another major obstacle: U.S. laws that prevent the deportation of people to countries where they could face torture or other human rights abuses, as in the case of 17 Chinese Muslim separatists who have been cleared for release but fear they could be executed for political reasons if returned to China.
Compounding the problem are persistent refusals by the United States, its European allies and other countries to grant asylum to prisoners who are stateless or have no place to go.