The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] announced [press release] on Friday that, following a request it made under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) [text, PDF], the government has released the names of 55 detainees who were approved for release from Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] in 2010 but have yet to be released. The ACLU said it is happy that the government has taken this step, as the government had previously rejected a FOIA request for the list of names on the grounds that it would impair its ability to transfer them peacefully back their home countries. The Guantanamo Bay Review Task Force determined [official report] in 2010 that these detainees should be released, but the 55 prisoners are still being held at Guantanamo Bay. The ACLU said it hopes the release of these names will be a "spur to action" toward release of the prisoners.
Guantanamo Bay has been the center of controversy [JURIST report] over treatment of prisoners and allegations of illegal detentions since the detention center was created in 2002 to help the US with its War on Terrorism [JURIST news archive]. The controversy was revitalized earlier this month when a detainee was found unconscious [JURIST report] in his cell and later died at a US Navy Base hospital. This detainee had been ordered to be released, but that decision was overturned [JURIST reports] by a federal appeals court last year. In overturning his release, the appeals court relied on the precedent of Boumedine v. Bush [opinion], saying that without an express finding that the detainee's "plausible alternative story," there was a presumption of regularity with regards to the government's evidence that had not been rebutted.