- Cori Crider represents 30 Guantánamo prisoners as an attorney with legal charity Reprieve. The opinions expressed are her own. -
You would be hard-pressed to find a kid more thrilled on Barack Obama’s first day in office than Mohammed el Gharani. On January 21, had you been standing at the right corner of Guantanamo Bay, you could have heard him whoop for joy when the U.S. President made history—so we thought—by closing the prison where el Gharani grew up.
It is four months since that decision. The president gave a speech, "clarifying" his plans for Guantanamo on Thursday. But I fear we will all look back on May 21, 2009, as the day real history was made—The Day President Obama Un-Closed Guantanamo.
In many ways the die seems already cast. The President revived the military commissions last week, a move that risks stretching the prison’s life out for months. Just two prisoners have left Guantanamo since January. One, Binyam Mohamed, had humiliated the U.S. and the UK over his torture; the other, Lakhdar Boumediene, had been ordered released by a federal judge.
It is unclear what the administration is waiting for in Mohammed el Gharani’s case. He was found innocent in court, just like Boumediene, and he has a country to go to. He could climb on a plane to Chad tomorrow, were the administration simply to wake up and do what it has been ordered to do.