NORTH CAROLINA STOP TORTURE NOWPO Box 12707
Raleigh, NC 27605
(eveings and weekends, or messages during business hours)
Currently, 136 men remain in captivity at Guantánamo Bay. Sixty-eight detainees have been approved for release by the U.S. Government, which recognizes they present no danger to the U.S. or its allies.
The most recently released men, settled in Uruguay -- whose leader was incarecerated for 13 years, including two years of solitary confinement during his days as an opponent of an earlier, miliary dictatorship.
According to their attorney, Cori Crider, in reporting by The Guardian, their "harsh treatment lasted up to the moment the prisoners" arrived in Montevideo. "The men spent their entire nine-hour flight to freedeom in handcuffs, shackles, (and) blindfolds ... " But the Uruguayans "refused to let them walk off the plane in shackles, they insisted that they be allowed to take their first step on Uruguayan soil as free men."
On September 8, 2012, Adnan Latif of Yemen was found dead in his cell. Latif had spent 11 years in the prison despite having been cleared in 2004 by the Bush administration and in 2009 by a judge reviewing Latif's habeas petition.
Here is a poem Latif wrote in the prison. The poem was published in the book Poems from Guantánamo:
They are artists of torture,
Where is the world to save us from torture?
The youngest to have been held at the prison camp is Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen captured as a child soldier at the age of 15, denied medical treatment and tortured in custody. After initially boycotting a military commission proceeding, Khadr accepted a plea deal, which was roundly criticized by human rights organizations. He was repatriated to Canada in late September 2012.
The oldest is Saifullah Paracha, 64. Paracha was scheduled to fly to Thailand for a business meeting in July 2003, but when he arrived at the Bangkok airport, he was seized, hooded, and cuffed, thrown into the back of a vehicle and taken to an unknown location where he was held for a few days, blindfolded, with his ears covered and his hands and legs cuffed.
According to investigative reporting by Stephen Grey in his authoritative work, Ghost Plane, Paracha was flown from Bangkok to Bagram aboard a Gulfstream V aircraft, N379P, based at Smithfield, NC and operated by Aero Contractors, Ltd.
Glenn Greenwald reported that, in August, 2010, a military commission sentenced Sudanese detainee Ibrahim al Qosi -- convicted as part of a plea bargain of being an al Qaida foot soldier and sometime driver for Osama bin Laden -- to an undisclosed term. As Greenwald asks: "What kind of country has secret sentences?"
Al Qosi was released to his native Sudan in July 2012.
Please take a moment to write a letter of support to one or more of these men.
Offer a simple message of good will and solidarity. Anything that can be construed as political should be avoided, as it will almost certainly be intercepted and destroyed.
Recall that, in most cases, you will not be writing in the prisoners' first language.
Therefore, simple sentiments, PRINTED AS CLEARLY AS POSSIBLE will be best.
Good choices might be: 'Wishing you peace and happiness for the future,’ or ‘Thinking of you.’ You may choose to use this simple stationery, with text borrowed from Amnesty International USA. If you would like to learn more about this action, please see this background sheet.
Also, writing to prisoners notifies prison staff and the military censors who screen the letters that people care about the individuals in U.S. custody, and are concerned for their welfare.
As an example, one young woman offered this simple, but touching message:
"Dear Fahed Ghazi–
SEND MESSAGES TO:
If your letter is returned, please alert us.
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