Last week I attended an event in London marking the 10-year anniversary of the American gulag at Camp Delta, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, organised jointly by Cage Prisoners, Islamic Human Rights Commission and Reprieve.
It was also the launch of a project by Cage Prisoners called “Laa Tansa –(Never Forget)”, a campaign aimed so that people do not forget the 779 victims of Guantanamo Bay. 171 men remain under detention despite President Obama’s 2009 promise to close the camp. Of these 89 have already been cleared for release, 46 have been cleared for Stalin-style indefinate detention and 32 earmarked for ‘prosecution’ – most likely in closed, military courts.
The event did something powerful insofar as it humanised the men who were kidnapped, tortured, murdered (in some cases) and imprisoned after being arbitrarily labelled ‘terrorist suspects’ and ‘enemy combatants’. It reminded us they were fathers, husbands, and sons of other innocent victims who were their family members. It gave sobering testimony to the complexities after release and the guilt feelings about those left behind – like Shaker Aamer, the last British resident who remains in abominable conditions with 170 others.