04 Jun

Guantanamo Prison Is America’s Hell

Join the battle against torture at Amnesty International

Two days ago, we got word that a detainee at Guantanamo Bay committed suicide. Mohammad Ahmad Abdallah Salih, also known as Al Hanashi, had been held there for over seven years, without any formal charges brought against him.

No formal charges. No legal process to determine whether or not he was a threat. A seemingly endless future in limbo. So he takes his life.

We will never know whether the allegations made against Mohammad were well-founded or not. That’s what happens when you resort to torture and illegal detention. What we do know however is the massive damage this one detention center and the policies behind it has had on our values, our reputation, and ultimately our ability to effectively counter terrorism.

Mohammad is the fifth inmate of the Guantanamo prison facility to take his own life.

And yet despite all this, the latest poll in USA Today shows that a majority of Americans oppose closing Guantanamo, by an almost 2-to-1 margin.1

And so the debate about what to do with Guantanamo and how to close it and whether or not to conduct an independent investigation into how we became a nation that tortures has now become the subject of petty partisan politics.

Even President Obama, who said we do not have to make a false choice between national security and our values, has chosen to defend illegal detention and counter-terrorism policies, and to cover up the abuse of detainees.

This is about much more than today’s politicians and their next elections. It’s about justice, the rule of law, and our very founding freedoms. It’s about ensuring that regardless of who is our next president, we never use torture again.

That’s why this June, for Torture Awareness Month, it’s time to go back to our roots, and do what the first Amnesty International groups did almost 50 years ago today–bring people together to write letters, demanding those in power respect human rights and the rule of law.

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