Timeline of the release and transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees
Two hundred detainees were released in 2004 before any Combatant Status Review Tribunals were held, including the Tipton Three, all British citizens.
On 27 July 2004, four French detainees were repatriated and remanded in custody by the French intelligence agency Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire. The remaining three French detainees were released in March 2005.
On 4 August 2004, the Tipton Three, ex-detainees who had been returned to the UK in March of that year (and freed by the British authorities within 24 hours of their return) filed a report in the U.S. claiming persistent severe abuse at the camp, of themselves and others. They claimed that false confessions were extracted from them under duress, in conditions that amounted to torture. They alleged that conditions deteriorated after Major General Geoffrey D. Miller took charge of the camp, including increased periods of solitary confinement for the detainees. They claimed that the abuse took place with the knowledge of the intelligence forces. Their claims are currently being investigated by the British government. At the time, five British residents remained as detainees: Bisher Amin Khalil Al-Rawi, Jamil al Banna, Shaker Abdur-Raheem Aamer, Jamal Abdullah and Omar Deghayes.
By November 2005, 358 of the then-505 detainees held at Guantanamo Bay had Administrative Review Board hearings. Of these, 3% were granted and were awaiting release, 20% were to be transferred, 37% were to be further detained at Guantanamo, and no decision had been made in 40% of the cases.
Of two dozen Uyghur detainees at Guantanamo Bay, The Washington Post reported on 25 August 2005, fifteen were found not to be "enemy combatants." Although cleared of terrorism, these Uyghurs remained in detention at Guantanamo because the United States refused to return them to China, fearing that China would "imprison, persecute or torture them" because of internal political issues. U.S. officials said that their overtures to approximately 20 countries to grant the individuals asylum had been declined, leaving the men with no destination for release. On 5 May 2006, five Uyghurs were transported to refugee camps in Albania, and the Department of Justice filed an "Emergency Motion to Dismiss as Moot" on the same day. One of the Uyghurs' lawyers characterized the sudden transfer as an attempt "to avoid having to answer in court for keeping innocent men in jail."
In August 2006, Murat Kurnaz, a German legal resident born in Germany, was released from Guantánamo, with no charges after having been held for five years.
As of 15 June 2009, Guantánamo held more than 220 detainees.
The United States was negotiating with Palau to accept a group of innocent Chinese Uyghur Muslims who have been held at the Guantánamo Bay. The Department of Justice announced on 12 June 2009, that Saudi Arabia had accepted three Uyghurs. The same week, one detainee was released to Iraq, and one to Chad.
Also that week, four Uyghur detainees were resettled in Bermuda, where they were released. On 11 June 2009, the U.S. Government negotiated a deal in secret with the Bermudian Premier, Doctor Ewart Brown to release 4 Uyghur detainees to Bermuda, an overseas territory of the UK. The detainees were flown into Bermuda under the cover of darkness. The U.S. purposely kept the information of this transfer secret from the UK, which handles all foreign affairs and security issues for Bermuda, as it was feared that the deal would collapse. After the story was leaked by the U.S. media, Premier Brown gave a national address to inform the people of Bermuda. Many Bermuda residents objected, as did the UK Government. It undertook an informal review of the actions; the Bermuda opposition, UBP, made a tabled vote of no confidence in Premier Brown. The UK government is considering whether to overrule his agreement to have the Uyghur men resettled in Bermuda.
Italy agreed on 15 June 2009, to accept three prisoners. Ireland agreed on 29 July 2009, to accept two prisoners. The same day, the European Union said that its member states would accept some detainees. In January 2011, WikiLeaks revealed that Switzerland accepted several Guantanamo detainees as a quid pro quo with the U.S. to limit a multibillion tax probe against Swiss banking group UBS.
In December 2009, the U.S. reported that, since 2002, more than 550 detainees had departed Guantánamo Bay for other destinations, including Albania, Algeria, Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Belgium, Bermuda, Chad, Denmark, Egypt, France, Hungary, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Maldives, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Palau, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom, Canada and Yemen. The Guantanamo Review Task Force issued a Final Report 22 January 2010, but did not publicly release it until 28 May of that year. The report recommended releasing 126 current detainees to their homes or to a third country, prosecuting 36 in either federal court or by a military commission, and holding 48 indefinitely under the laws of war. In addition, 30 Yemenis were approved for release if security conditions in their home country improve.