Shut down Guantanamo, and make sure never again

Christian Science Monitor
by Helena Cobban


Thursday marks the fifth anniversary of the day the US military flew the first of some 700 battlefield detainees from Afghanistan to Guantanamo. Some of those same men are among the 395 still held at Guantanamo today. None of the detainees has ever had anything approaching a fair trial. Only 10 have ever had formal charges laid against them. Many are reportedly held in near-total isolation, and over the years both camp staff and released detainees have reported highly abusive treatment at the camp. Guantanamo is a stain on America's honor. Like the episodes of abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, Guantanamo (rightly) affects the standing of the US around the world. Even President Bush recognizes the problem: He has expressed a desire eventually to shut Guantanamo down. He and Congress should work speedily together to achieve this goal...

Trapped at Guantanamo

Boston Globe
by Melissa Hoffer


When I last saw my client, Saber Lahmar, in his cell at Guantanamo Bay, he told me a story. He said that a soldier entered his cell one day and inadvertently left the door ajar a few inches. An iguana darted in and went behind the door. The soldier left, leaving the iguana inside. At first, Saber said, the iguana appeared relaxed. It tried to crawl through a hole under a partition, but it could not squeeze through. After realizing it was trapped, it panicked and flew to the narrow opaque window next to the door, banging its head against the glass. 'This,' Saber said, 'is an animal after five minutes. I have been here five years.' No matter how hard one wishes, the bars of a steel cage do not stop time. No one is more aware of this fact than Lakhdar Boumediene, Mohammed Nechla, Mustafa Ait Idir, Hadj Boudella, Belkacem Bensayah, and Saber Lahmar -- six Bosnian Algerian men imprisoned at Guantanamo whom my colleagues and I have represented since July 2004, in a habeas corpus case, Boumediene v. Bush, challenging their detention . Today marks the fifth anniversary of the date the United States first began to fly plane loads of prisoners to Guantanamo. Our clients arrived on Jan. 20, 2002...

This is a US torture camp

Guardian [UK]
by Vikram Dodd


Surrounded by a turquoise sea, palm trees and white sand, the US detention camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba was five years old yesterday. Tony Blair calls it an 'anomaly,' but the evidence is overwhelming. Camp Delta, which still houses 470 men never convicted of any crime, is a torture camp. That should be the starting point of any debate about what is acceptable in the west's fight with Islamist extremists. More than 750 men have passed through the camp, with nearly half being released. Many prisoners, past and present, have given consistent and repeated testimony of serious abuses and ill treatment. There is also significant evidence from US officials and government documents of widespread abuse at the camp...,,1988677,00.html

Informant: Thomas L. Knapp


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