Releasing the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay will require US Government officials to do something it is not used to doing, and something it does not like to do — admit it was wrong. It is wrong to hold these men for more than a decade, wrong to torture them, and wrong to deny their release.
This is why I believe more than 80 prisoners at Guantanamo, who have not been charged with any crimes, who have not had a trial, and who have been cleared for release are still there, wasting away in solitary cells.
If the US Government does not act to release these prisoners, they will be forced with the reality that they are losing public confidence. It is up to each of us to tell government officials that they are wrong in continuing this inhumane injustice.
Please read the following letter by SAMIR NAJI al HASAN MOQBEL.
Here’s an excerpt:
ONE man here weighs just 77 pounds. Another, 98. Last thing I knew, I weighed 132, but that was a month ago.
I’ve been on a hunger strike since Feb. 10 and have lost well over 30 pounds. I will not eat until they restore my dignity.
I’ve been detained at Guantánamo for 11 years and three months. I have never been charged with any crime. I have never received a trial.
I could have been home years ago — no one seriously thinks I am a threat — but still I am here. Years ago the military said I was a “guard” for Osama bin Laden, but this was nonsense, like something out of the American movies I used to watch. They don’t even seem to believe it anymore. But they don’t seem to care how long I sit here, either.
When I was at home in Yemen, in 2000, a childhood friend told me that in Afghanistan I could do better than the $50 a month I earned in a factory, and support my family. I’d never really traveled, and knew nothing about Afghanistan, but I gave it a try.
I was wrong to trust him. There was no work. I wanted to leave, but had no money to fly home. After the American invasion in 2001, I fled to Pakistan like everyone else. The Pakistanis arrested me when I asked to see someone from the Yemeni Embassy. I was then sent to Kandahar, and put on the first plane to Gitmo.
Samir has been cleared for release. He’s being painfully force-fed by tubes being jammed into his nose, into his stomach. He’s being stripped of all dignity, all due process, and any shred of humanity.
We are doing this. If we don’t speak up, the deaths of these men, who have not been charged with any crimes, will be on our hands.