This week marks the 13th anniversary of the arrival of the first post-9/11 prisoners to Guantanamo Bay, the most notorious prison on the planet. This grim anniversary, and the beginning of normalization of diplomatic relations between the U.S and Cuba, serves as a reminder that we need to permanently close the prison and return the land to its rightful owners, the Cuban people. It is time to put an end to this dark chapter of United States history.
Growing up in Tunisia during the '80s and early '90s, I sometimes gleaned information from adults around me who whispered that the opponents of the regime -- first the Communists and then the Islamists -- were tortured in secret chambers where the services of a doctor were used, sadly, in an evil way.
People at that time said that the role of the doctor was to make sure that during the torture session, the prisoners are harmed severely but not enough to be killed. In a nutshell, the doctors were there to make sure that the torturers didn't send the prisoners to the "other world." Ignoring all the details around these stories, I felt horrified.
As the world celebrates Nelson Mandela's 95th birthday, it is timely to reflect on his life, spent fighting for equality for people of colour who long suffered under South Africa's apartheid regime. Mandela was arrested in 1962, a year before Martin Luther King Jr. would give his "I Have a Dream" speech in Washington, D.C. After 27 years in prison, Mandela was released in 1990. Four years later, he would become the first democratically elected president of South Africa.
We should use Mandela's incredible life to shine a light on injustice in the United States, as George Zimmerman is acquitted of killing Trayvon Martin, and as a massive hunger strike envelops the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, where scores of men have been held without charge for more than a decade.
Prisoners on hunger strike in Guantanamo Bay are now being denied water among other abuses as prison guards attempt to force them off the strike, the prisoners' lawyers said Wednesday.
Several of the prisoners' lawyers have filed an emergency motion in a federal court in Washington saying guards are refusing to provide drinking water to the hunger strikers and have kept camp temperatures "extremely frigid" in an effort to "to thwart the protest."