My Client Has Spent More Than a Third of His Life Imprisoned in Guantánamo

January 12, 2018
The Nation

I represent one of the last remaining detainees in Guantánamo, Sharqawi Al Hajj, a 43-year-old man from Yemen whom the United States has been holding without charge for over 15 years and plans to keep in Guantánamo indefinitely. Recently he gave me a small arts-and-crafts tree that he made in Guantánamo. It’s a remarkable piece that should make me marvel at the perseverance of human beings. Instead, I see a man who thinks he may die in Guantánamo painstakingly sticking green plastic bristles into branches made of pipe cleaners to keep from going out of his mind, sitting alongside a handful of other trapped detainees making miniatures of real-life objects they may never again see. He’s shackled to a bolt in the floor in an art class in a mostly empty prison where detainees were brought to be broken—a prison that Guantánamo’s defenders call a “very fine place,” and that Donald Trump wants to fill up, or at least keep anyone from leaving. ...

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September 8, 2021