20 years later, Biden should close Guantánamo only once | Ideas


At a recent protest outside the White House demanding the closure of a US military base at the Guantánamo Bay Navy on the Cuban island, a young man approached a friend to ask him what the protest was about. He told her he had never heard of a place of confinement.

It has been 20 years and four presidential regimes since Guantánamo opened, but for those born since then, its horror stories sound like the plot of a horror fiction movie. It is a shameful legacy that we will not pass on to future generations.

Opened in response to the September 11 attacks, Guantánamo detained about 780 Muslim men and boys. In Guantánamo, persecution was limited, only a minority was charged, and no one was acquitted. Kafkaesque military committees set up to delay have proved to be ineffective and unjust, rejecting indiscriminate charges and obtaining contradictory evidence. Meanwhile, the 9/11 victims’ families were waiting for justice in vain.

Amnesty International and many others around the world have been campaigning for the closure of the prison since its inception. President Joe Biden, like former President Barack Obama, has promised to shut down, but has so far failed to do so.

Biden officials relocated one prison in July but did not re-establish a special envoy at the state department that offered to close the prison. Instead, officials recently announced plans to build a new court in Guantánamo to continue working with the military committees – in stark contrast to the plan to close the facility.

It is not just about closing Guantánamo. It also involves accounting for the violations that have occurred within it. Last year, testimonies from a number of former inmates, including Majid Khan, Abu Zubayda, and Mohamedou Ould Slahi, reporting on their persecution of US-led “black areas” outside and in Guantanamo, were made public. Abu Zubaydah’s story was told in a PBS drama, The Forever Prisoner, about the torture of Slahi, who is now a writer and human rights defender, featured in the film, The Mauritanian, in which Khan told the judges about enduring stress. roles, beatings, forced feeding using hot tub tubes, and sodomy with a field pipe.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled in our favor in Italy, Lithuania, Macedonia, Poland, and Romania on the grounds of torture and forced evictions under US rendition and secret detention, but it has not been forthcoming. critical response in the United States. From those who admitted to torture in the highest levels of government to those who resorted to illegal “questioning methods”, no one was prosecuted for the crimes that took place. This should begin with the removal and complete release of the US Senate Select on Intelligence Report on CIA harassment.

Thirty-nine men remain in Guantánamo. Thirteen people are still in prison indefinitely, though they have been approved for deportation – more than a decade ago. Twelve people are being prosecuted in the military, while 14 others are living in poverty: they were not allowed to be deported, but were not charged. Their problems are the remnants of the main issues that have been going on in Guantánamo since its inception – violence and conflict.

The US government needs to take immediate action to rectify the situation. It must be committed to dealing with each prison inmate through the transfer and release without delay and in accordance with international law. Or if there is sufficient compelling evidence to prosecute world-renowned crimes, this must be done by a fair trial before a federal court which is consistently established without the death penalty.

Guantánamo is still the unchanging mark in US history, a topic that the US government should close and not repeat. President Biden has a responsibility to all of us – who have experienced or watched Guantánamo for awesome years, as well as new and future generations who are learning about this – to stop once.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Al Jazeera.





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