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Guantanamo detainee cleared for release after 20 years of detention without trial

Guantanamo detainee Khalid Ahmed Qasim has been cleared for release from the US detention facility in Cuba after being held for 20 years without a trial, according to documents from the Department of Defense.

Qasim, a Yemeni national, was taken into custody in December 2001 and transferred to the Guantanamo prison in May 2002, according to Reprieve, a human rights organization that represents Qasim.

“We’re thrilled that after two decades imprisoned without charge or trial, Khalid has finally been cleared for release and can start to focus on his life after release,” Mark Maher, Qasim’s attorney, said in the press release.

According to a press release from Reprieve, Qasim was “severely tortured,” during his time in US custody, including “being forced to sleep standing up causing extreme sleep deprivation, subjected to freezing temperatures and being kept in a fenced area with his hands and feet shackled, leaving him unable to walk.”

Qasim is one of 20 detainees who have been cleared for release but remain at the prison. Four detainees have not been cleared for release and are being held in law-of-war detention, and 10 detainee still have ongoing cases in the US military commissions system. A total of 34 detainees remain at the prison.

During his time at Guantanamo, Qasim has started painting and has discovered “a talent for art,” according to Reprieve. He has completed several paintings during his time in prison, Maher said.

“Khalid was a young man when he was detained and has developed into a talented artist and writer. He has a lot to offer the world, and we look forward to the day when he is finally free,” Maher said in the release.

Read the full story in CNN.