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Why is Guantanamo Bay still open – twenty years later?

Jan 16, 2022

The prison has been one of the few things all Americans seem to agree on – it is bipartisan and is something that unifies people of every race – black and white. It seems as if the prisoners there have been demonized to such an extent that they have become the common enemy. It has been two decades of injustice and incredible harm that inmates have suffered in this facility. Moazzam Begg a former prisoner at this prison, and  the founder of Cage speaks to Radio Islam on the twentieth anniversary of the prison.

Guantanamo Bay is a military base and therefore can be shut down with an executive order from President Joe Biden – but because there isn’t any political will to do so it has not been prioritized.

The majority of prisoners have been released but there are still thirty-nine inmates there – a majority of whom have not been charged with a crime, and more than a third who have been cleared for release. This highlights the incredible injustice there.

There was a total of about 779 from about 45 different countries around the world. Most were not charged with a crime, or if charged with a crime -it was a crime that only existed in Guantanamo and was not regarded as a crime anywhere else in the world. Guantanamo highlights the arrogance and hypocrisy of America and is a country that flouts its own laws. They are committing serious war crimes which if done by any other country would be held to different measures.

A prisoner by the name of Abu Zubeida who is still in Guantanamo, is one of the forever prisoners and the torture program used in Guantanamo bay was developed for him. He was waterboarded over eighty-three times, he was kept naked in cells in Thailand, Poland and other countries. He was put in a coffin for days on end and nearly died. These torture techniques have been given the developed by psychologists and given the stamp of approval by attorney generals and the most powerful lawyers- yet he still hasn’t been charged with a crime.

Yet still not a single person has been persecuted, and amazingly enough three countries Poland, Romania and Lithuania have just recently paid Abu Zubeida hundreds of thousands in torture money as compensation. Those countries have been held to accountability -yet the country that has held him hostage is still left without accountability.

There are prisoners that are cleared for release, eighteen have been cleared but this does not mean that they will actually get to leave the prison. There are prisoners who have been cleared for over ten years already.  There are other prisoners who are classified as too dangerous to release and too innocent to charge – and they are called the forever prisoners. Then there are a smaller group of prisoners who are charged – and therefore they cannot shut down the prison. These people are regarded as the masterminds behind the 911 attacks. They have been tortured to such an extent that they cannot mentally be charged as other people would be. Because they had been tortured their testimony would be thrown out of a court.

So it because of the intense lack of adherence to the law that they keep Gunatanamo open.

 With all the torture and incredible persecutions, the stories of Iman from the Prison are incredible to hear. There are many soldiers’ males and females of every race in Guantanamo who have brought Shahadah and have been brought to tears by the strength of faith of the detainees even whilst on their knees.

Listen to the full podcast here

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