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In Yemen, waiting for Guantanamo
Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

Guantanamo Bay Prison's first detainees arrived at the facility on Jan. 11, 2002, exactly five months after the 9/11 terrorist attack on New York and Washington. 

Since then, nearly 800 prisoners have have been held there, and 572 released. Of the 164 men still held at Guantanamo, 88 are Yemenis. 

Thirty-six Yemeni nationals were cleared for release both by the administration of George W. Bush and more recently by President Barack Obama's Guantanmo Task Force. Dozens more are still held in "conditional detention," where they will only be set free once the security situation in Yemen — which currently hosts Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula — improves. 

Across Yemen, mothers and fathers say they have had little to no communication with their sons being held at the prison. 

Over the years, as their once once young boys transformed into men, they were allowed only the occasional monitored phone call or edited letter. 

It remains unclear when they might be released, or if the controversial detention facility will ever be closed. 

While the debate over their fate drags on in Washington, the prisoners' families await their return.

These photos were taken in Ibb, Mukalla, Sana'a and Taiz. 

04 yemen gitmo

A letter from Fahmi Salem Said al Asani to his family. The letter was sent from Guantanamo on 9 August, 2011, and brought to the family by the ICRC.

The letter reads " In the name of God, the most compassionate, the most merciful. To my father, my mother, and my loved ones. Peace be upon you, and God's mercy and blessings. Blessed Ramadan and happy Eid. Best wishes for each new year. May God accept from me and you our prayer and work. From you son who misses his mother.

(Alex Potter - GlobalPost)
05 yemen gitmo

A Guantanamo-issued photo of Suleiman Othman Bin Al Nahdi, held in the hands of his sister.

(Alex Potter - GlobalPost)
07 yemen gitmo

A Guantanamo-issued photo of Jalal Salem Bin Amro, held by a family friend.

(Alex Potter - GlobalPost)
19 yemen gitmo

Mother of Fahmi Abdullah Obady al Tawlaqi. Fahmi has been held in Guantanamo since without a trial. He is still held in conditional detention, meaning he is cleared for release as long as the situation in Yemen is considered stable.

(Alex Potter - GlobalPost)
10 yemen gitmo

Auwda, daughter of Abdurahman al Shubati. Only twelve years old and born during his detention in Guantanamo, her name in Arabic means "come back."

(Alex Potter - GlobalPost)
12 yemen gitmo

Mother of Said Mohammad Saleh Hatim. Said has been held in Guantanamo since 2002 without a trial. He has been cleared for release by former President Bush in 2006 and 2007, as well as President Obama's Guantanamo Task Force in 2009. He has his Habeus Corpus granted in 2009, but vacated upon court appeal in 2011.

(Alex Potter - GlobalPost)
15 yemen gitmo

Ghazla, the niece of Yassin Qasim Mohammad Ismail. Yassin has been held in Guantanamo since 2002 without a trial. He has been continuously detained under the AUMF Act: Authorization for Use of Military Force, signed by former President Bush during his administration.

Yassin was represented by American Lawyer David Remes, but has been denied his right to meet with his counsel since his plea for release has been denied.

(Alex Potter - GlobalPost)
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