11 Jan 2012

Gitmo 10 years on: So much for closure

The US's Guantanamo Bay is marking its 10th anniversary, despite Obama’s repeated promises to close the infamous prison. The president even signed a new law authorizing the indefinite detention of terror suspects. ­Human-rights groups are organizing events to mark the occasion and respond to the broken promises. Obama has been criticized for not having a plan on how to close the detention facility, or at least for what to do with terror suspects.


Many believe the prospect of closing Guantanamo Bay has now become much more difficult, thanks to the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act by Congress (NDAA), signed by President Obama on December 31. Within that bill lie provisions that allow for the military to jail indefinitely anyone it considers a terrorism suspect – without charge or trial.  With that increased leniency, increased space to hold those prisoners will no doubt be needed.

Suspect Murat Kurnaz, one of seven hundred suspects who have passed through during 10 years, was captured in Pakistan in 2001 while working for an NGO that helped young people quit drugs. He was sent to Guantanamo and tortured – for five years – like many others allegedly being abused, never getting a trial.


“I got waterboarded after I had seen a couple things. A couple of people got killed in front of me. Some of them, they got just kicked on the head until he died and the other one he was hanging on chain until he died,” former Guantanamo Bay detainee Kurnaz says. He was forced to confess he was a member of Al-Qaeda, though he told them again and again he was not. “It was freezing cold.  It was winter time and I had no clothes on, so I was hanging there for many days,” Kurnaz remembers. “When the interrogator came they pulled me back down and he asked me are you going to sign or not and every time I said no, he just made like this and pulled me back up.”

It is stories like this that draw fierce condemnation. (RT)

Gitmo Files: WikiLeaks Reveals Secret Files on All Guantánamo Prisoners