Guantanamo Bay: “I Died Waiting for Justice”

We remember the 9/11 as if it was yesterday. We remember the fear in our parents eyes, for not knowing what could happen. The war had started, and it has not ended ever since. We might agree with those who say that this war against terrorism is a justified war. If you don’t want to live in fear, the best defense is to counter-attack. The United States have, since 2001, attacked every person that had the slightest possibility of being a “potential terrorist”. However, in the process, they have attacked countless innocent people.

The Guantanamo Bay detention camp, in Cuba, has, since 2002, been the stage of one of the biggest human rights violations in the world. Everyone knows it. Obama knows it, promised to shut it down during his first mandate, and re-promised during his second. It might not be for lack of trying on his part, but one thing is for sure, it remains open.

In 2002, Donald Rumsfeld, Bush’s Secretary of State, declared that “[…] let there be no doubt, the treatment of the detainees in Guantanamo Bay is proper, it’s humane, it’s appropriate, and it is fully consistent with international conventions. No detainee has been harmed, no detainee has been mistreated in any way.”. We now know that this is far from the truth (from torture to harassment for religious beliefs, the accounts are many).

From the 779 people that were detained in 2002 (many of them caught by bounty-hunters, in exchange of large cash prizes), 166 prisoners remain in Camp 5, Camp 6 and probably some unknown prisoners in Camp 7 (the camp for “high-value detainees”). Yes, some of them have real ties to terrorism, what might lead us to think that Guantanamo is not that useless. But where did it take us? Has terrorism stopped? Couldn’t they have been arrested in another prison, even in their home-states, with some international cooperation? Guantanamo is indeed perfect for the United States, because it is far away from any international jurisdiction.

What remains undoubtable is that many men were wrongfully imprisoned, and some have died waiting for justice. 86 of  those 166 remaining prisoners have definitely been cleared for transfer, without any charges being brought against them. Not only have they never received a fair trial, but most of them are still waiting for this transfer.  In the end of 2012, the US Senate voted against the possible return of the detainees into US soil. They are thus stuck in a limbo, between near freedom and the harsh reality of Guantanamo.

We leave you with this video made by The Guardian, that portraits the sufferings of the many detainees who decided to go on hunger strike, to protest against their wrongful arrest that has no end in sight (there have already been several hunger strikes since 2002, but the last one started in February 2013. Seven prisoners have been on hunger strike for many years now). It gives a lot to think about, in particular about what fear and hate combined can create. History will certainly judge what was done in Guantanamo.

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