This website is an archive of the work of Marietje Schaake in the European Parliament between 2009 and 2019. Marietje can be reached at

Parliamentary Question: Delays in the closure of Guantánamo


Parliamentary questions

8 December 2009 O-0162/09 ORAL QUESTION WITH DEBATE pursuant to Rule 115 of the Rules of Procedure by Sophia in 't Veld, Leonidas Donskis, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, Marietje Schaake, Alexander Alvaro, Renate Weber, Nadja Hirsch, Ramon Tremosa I Balcells, Olle Schmidt and Baroness Sarah Ludford, on behalf of the ALDE Group to the Commission Subject: Delays in the closure of Guantánamo The US administration has announced that the Guantánamo prison will not be closed by January 22, as promised by President Obama when taking office exactly one year before. Efforts to prosecute some of the Guantánamo detainees and find a location on US soil to host them have failed until now, also due to Congress opposition to accepting any former prisoners onto American soil. Around 245 prisoners were being held in Guantánamo when Obama took office. Since then, only around 30 men have left and 215 are still being detained: 90 of them are Yemenis whom the United States cannot repatriate because of the failure to reach a security and rehabilitation agreement; 65 are considered prosecutable in federal courts - the government announced recently that it would have five men accused of involvement in September 11 transferred to US Federal Courts for prosecution, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed - or military commissions; around 60 have been 'cleared for release' by US authorities as they do not present any threat whatsoever but cannot be repatriated because they would risk torture in their country of origin (Uzbekistan, Syria, China, Algeria and Tunisia). According to media, Obama could announce in upcoming weeks a plan to close Guantánamo, which could provide that up to 90 suspected terrorists could face indefinite 'preventive' detention, as evidence against some of these has been obtained through torture or because public trials would involve and potentially expose an extensive volume of classified material. After requests from the US administration, Bermuda and Palau have accepted former prisoners, while, among European states, France, Portugal, Ireland, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Italy and Hungary have done the same. What more will the EU and its Member States do to help in the closure of Guantánamo, including in terms of hosting former detainees? What will the Commission do to express to the US authorities European concern about the delays in the closure of Guantánamo, the fact that prisoners could be further detained indefinitely and tried under military commissions, and that the death penalty could be applied?