On January 11th, 2002 the first twenty five prisonners arrived at Guantanamo Bay. The detention centre, located on the southeastern edge of Cuba, was created during the Bush regime earlier that year to hold captives from the Afganistan (and later the Iraq) war. It contains three camps, Delta, Iguana and X-ray. Only camp X-ray has been closed, as it was a temporary holding area. Since the war in Afganistan began, more than 700 people have been detained at Guantanamo. The majority of prisoners have been held without charges being laid or the option of a criminal trial.


Human rights abuses

Incidents of sexual assault, beating, isolation and sleep deprivation have been reported by detainees, along with other forms of alleged torture. In 2008, a militery trial ruled that tortured had occured at Guantanamo. At least four prisioners have comitted suicide while detained. Hundreds more have attempted to end their lives.

Many detainees since 2005 have gone on hunger strikes as a last restort. Gaurds have reportedly force fed the protesters, a painful and dangerous procedure, rather than appease simple demands such as a reason for their imprisonment.

Despite overwhelming evidence of systemic abuses of power and human rights violations, Guantanamo is still open. In 2009, President Barak Obama resolved to shut it down. However, he has failed to do so. Obama’s Taskforce on Guantanamo reviewed the cases of 240 prisioners and reccomended release for roughly half. Distrurbingly, the Task Force still maintained indefinite detention as a viable option for 48 of the cases.


The legacy continues

The torture and trampling of human rights will not stop until Guanatanamo Bay is closed. On the National Day of Action, many protesters dress in orange jumpsuites which detainees are forced to wear or go on hunger strikes in solidarity. Action is more important than ever, in light of the recent National Defense Authorization Act passed in the United States. This Act allows the indefinite military detention of US citizens without a trial, making the atrocities at Guantanamo legal.

Three detainees were released on December 31, 2013 while it has been known for years that the majority of the detainees are either innocent or not a threat to American security.