It’s been 22 years since the Guantánamo prison opened. Men are still held there

January 11, 2024
The Guardian

...Sharqawi Al Hajj is a man detained at the US military prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. I have been his lawyer for many years. This week marks 22 years since the prison was opened, and Sharqawi’s 20th year inside. He is one of 30 men still detained there, down from nearly 800 ever held...

In the time that Sharqawi has been held, his father passed, then his mother. He has gone through his 30s and most of his 40s. He was brutally treated before, which is lodged in him. That brutality, along with the deprivations that go with years of imprisonment, have been toxins for his body. He wonders what kind of future he has even if he is released.

I do not know what to tell him on this point, nor how to elevate his suffering to make it seen, in this time of many other extremes.

What seems most gratuitous here is that those closest to Guantánamo agree that it was a profound mistake, that most of those ever detained never should have been held at all, and that the majority of those still imprisoned after 22 years do not belong there now. In a sea of deep suffering, this is a place where there should be release...

Read the full piece here

Last modified 

January 11, 2024