Guantanamo; Prison Camp, or Hell with Bars?
By Samra Amir

August 2006
Just of the southeastern fringe of Cuba, with waters of the purest blue, and a lush view of emerald hills, Guantanamo Bay looks like paradise. But in the middle of the hills lies a stark irony. The United States had built Guantanamo Naval Base almost a century ago. For more than five years now, that naval base has contained a military prison –the Guantanamo Bay detainment camp- in which reside people accused of being part of the Afghani and Iraqi military. The real problem is however, that some of the people forced into this detainment camp, are completely innocent. These wrongly accused prisoners are subjected to horrible torture, and live through brutal conditions.

More than 770 suspects have been held in Guantanamo since January 11, 2001, as a part of the United State’s “war on terror”. They have been held there under the accusations that they have links to Al Qaeda and the Taliban. About 390 from those people still remain trapped in Guantanamo, counting the infinite days till their release. We have been told to believe that each on of the detainees in the prison camp is like a copy of Osama Bin Laden, and that they will do anything to bring down a plane.

Calls for the closure of Guantanamo have come from Britain, France, Germany, and the United Nations, but these pleads have had no affect whatsoever on the United State’s policy about Guantanomo. Others have commented on how while pursuing the “war on terror”, America has failed to recognize the basic human rights of these prisoners. Captives of this prison camp are regularly subjected to beatings and harsh treatment from the people working in Guantanamo, when they do not cooperate with the interrogators.

An atrocious example comes from an official that had worked in the prison camp; he says that when the prisoners did not cooperate, they were stripped down to their underwear, while sitting on a char, bolted hand and foot to the floor. This inhumane treatment does not end here however; as the helpless prisoners are forced to endure rap and rock music blasted by two closely set speakers. Yet again, the torture does not end; the guards put the air conditioners on maximum levels, as the powerless victims of abuse sit there enduring the humiliation and pain, for sometimes 14 hours without breaks. This is only one of the types of torment prisoners are forced to bear.

It’s hard to put the anger and pain felt by the prisoners into words. The wrongly accused detainees of Gunatanamo prison camp are counting the days till their release, and it’s up to the people on the other side of the wall to help them. Help to secure justice for those deprived of it, and make your voice heard.


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