WASHINGTON: The Pentagon released the names of Guantanamo Bay’s 46 “indefinite detainees,” terror suspects considered too dangerous to transfer from the prison and who cannot be tried in court.
The 15-page list, unveiling details about the prisoners for the first time, was released to The New York Times and The Miami Herald on Monday, in response to freedom of information requests.
It also included the names of all 166 detainees who remain at the US military jail in southeastern Cuba.
The men designated for indefinite detention include 26 Yemenis, 12 Afghans, three Saudis, two Kuwaitis, two Libyans, a Kenyan, a Moroccan and a Somali.
Two of those men, both Afghans, have died. One committed suicide and the other died of a heart attack.
The captives’ status is one of the most controversial aspects of the notorious prison camp.
US official say that because the men were subjected to harsh interrogation techniques, such as the simulated drowning technique known as waterboarding, denounced as torture, they cannot be prosecuted because the evidence against them is tainted cannot be admitted in court.
In 2009, a multi-agency task force sorted through the detainees’ records as it sought to fulfill President Barack Obama’s promise to shutter Guantanamo.
The task force announced in January 2010 that it had classified 48 of the detainees as ineligible trial because there was insufficient evidence against them or because the evidence was inadmissible. But it had never released the names of the indefinite detainees.
Rights groups welcomed the move but made fresh calls for the Obama administration to transfer the 86 detainees who have already been cleared to leave Guantanamo, most of them Yemenis.
“It is fundamental to democracy that the public know the identities of the people our nation is depriving of liberty and why they are being detained,” Human Rights First’s Dixon Osburn said in a statement.
“The United States has held some of the men at Guantanamo now for over a decade. Today’s revelation is welcome, though long overdue.”
Among the indefinite detainees were some of the 104 prisoners observing a hunger strike that began more than four months ago. Prison authorities say 44 of the hunger strikers are being force-fed.
The list identifies a total of 34 detainees eligible for prosecution.
On Sunday, chief war crimes prosecutor Brigadier General said not all of those men would be prosecuted due to federal court rulings that disqualified “providing material support for terror” as a war crimes charge.
Among the men designated for trial were the self-proclaimed mastermind of the September 11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his five accused co-plotters.
Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, accused in the 2000 USS Cole bombing that killed 17 American sailors, was also designated for trial.
Earlier, the Obama administration appointed lawyer Cliff Sloan as its new pointman for the task of trying to close down Guantanamo.