Guantánamo and Illegal Detention

The United States’ detention facilities at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, have become emblematic of the gross human rights abuses perpetrated by the U.S. government in the name of terrorism.

At Guantánamo, the U.S. government sought to hold detainees in a place neither U.S. nor international law applied.

But no one can be held outside of the law.

Guantánamo and Illegal Detention

The United States’ detention facilities at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, have become emblematic of the gross human rights abuses perpetrated by the U.S. government in the name of terrorism.

At Guantánamo, the U.S. government sought to hold detainees in a place neither U.S. nor international law applied.

But no one can be held outside of the law.

Approximately 116 inmates still remain in Guantánamo, some of whom have now been detained for over a decade. These men have been subjected to a wide range of interrogation tactics that constitute ill-treatment, including stress positions, sensory deprivation, prolonged isolation, the use of 20-hour interrogations, hooding during transportation and interrogation, stripping, forcible shaving, and "using detainees individual phobias (such as fear of dogs) to induce stress."

Incredibly, of those still being held approximately 56 individuals have actually been cleared for transfer but the United States has either failed to find a safe haven for them or refused to return them to their country of origin. The indefinite and arbitrary nature of the circumstances of their detention has led to a steep decline in the mental and physical health of many incarcerated at Guantánamo. There have been numerous suicide attempts and hunger strikes.

The detention facilities at Guantánamo Bay have also diminished the United States' reputation, providing a magnet for criticism from allies and enemies alike. In the years since Amnesty International has called for closure of the detention facilities, a growing number of high-ranking U.S. officials from both political parties, allied governments, and the United Nations have issued calls for the prison's closure.

Guantánamo must be closed the right way: detainees must either be promptly charged and given fair trials in U.S. federal courts, or be released.

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