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Ex-Guantanamo chief ignores France court summons to answer torture allegations

[JURIST] Former head of the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, US Army Major General Geoffrey Miller, failed to appear before a French court on Tuesday to answer a subpoena [text, PDF, in French] to appear for questioning on his involvement in the torture of two French detainees. French citizens Mourad Benchellali and Nizar Sassi brought the case, challenging their treatment during their detention from 2001-2004 and 2001-2005, respectively. A French court overturned their terrorism convictions [JURIST report] in 2009. While acknowledging that the general will most likely never appear before the French court, Benchelli and his lawyer agree that the issuance of the subpoena is a victory in itself [DW report].

Last week US President Barack Obama [official website] delivered his plan to Congress to close Guantanamo Bay [JURIST report]. Currently, 91 detainees remain at the facility, and 34 await resettlement in foreign countries. In November the US Senate passed [JURIST report] the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 (NDAA) [text, PDF], which prohibits Guantanamo detainees from being transferred into the US. Obama signed the bill into law, despite the fact that it could delay his plan to close the prison. The Department of Defense said [JURIST report] in October they were sending teams to review three Colorado prisons as part of Obama's efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay prison in October. The Guantanamo Review Task Force (GRTF) was created in response to a 2009 presidential executive order [text, PDF] to review the status of all detainees. There have been multiple detainees released from Guantanamo recently, following reports that 17 were scheduled for release last month [JURIST report].

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