Reprieve thanks France for providing ex-Guantánamo prisoner Lakhdar Boumediene with a home; requests that cleared prisoner Nabil Hadjarab may now rejoin his family in Lyon.

May 18, 2009

Reprieve is delighted that Lakhdar Boumediene has been released from Guantanamo Bay and welcomed home by his family in France.

The French government is to be congratulated on their generous decision. Resettling Boumediene is a significant step towards opening Europe to former Guantánamo Bay prisoners – and towards closing the prison. Significantly, Boumediene was the lead petitioner in the pivotal Supreme Court case, Boumediene v. Bush which established the constitutional right for all Guantanamo detainees to challenge the lawfulness of their detention in federal court.

Boumediene’s release came nearly five months after US District Court Judge Richard J. Leon ruled that the government had no legal basis for detaining him.

Reprieve’s client Nabil Hadjarab remains in a similar limbo – and is desperate to return to France. The US military approved Nabil’s release in 2007, yet due to his fear of what awaits him in Algeria, Nabil remains in Guantánamo Bay.

Nabil would love to return to France, where he spent his happiest childhood years. After sustained abuse by his alcoholic father, toddler Nabil – who had been brought to France as a baby – was placed with a French foster family in Lyon. He spent six happy years there and attended primary school, until his father reappeared and took him back to Algeria.

As an adult, Nabil immediately applied for the right to resettle in his beloved Lyon. But, like so many others, he was sold to the US military for a bounty while travelling through Pakistan in 2002 – which led to his wrongful imprisonment in Guantanamo.

Nabil’s lawyer Cori Crider said: “Nabil will be thrilled that Lakhdar is free, but at the same time, the US military cleared him to leave Guantánamo long ago, and Nabil requested the French to reunite him with his French family last year. Each day that passes for him in Guantánamo is a trial. So we hope the French will follow up their grand humanitarian step by welcoming Nabil back home.”

-ENDS-

For more information please contact Katherine O’Shea at Reprieve’s Press Office katherine.oshea@reprieve.org.uk 020 7427 1099/ 07931592674.

Notes for Editors:

Reprieve, a legal action charity, uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay. Reprieve investigates, litigates and educates, working on the frontline, to provide legal support to prisoners unable to pay for it themselves. Reprieve promotes the rule of law around the world, securing each person’s right to a fair trial and saving lives. Clive Stafford Smith is the founder of Reprieve and has spent 25 years working on behalf of people facing the death penalty in the USA.

Reprieve’s current casework involves representing 33 prisoners in the US prison at Guantánamo Bay, working on behalf of prisoners facing the death penalty, and conducting ongoing investigations into the rendition and the secret detention of ‘ghost prisoners’ in the so-called ‘war on terror.’

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